Which video format is the best? Upright, transverse or square?

StoryBox Marketing
Last update

How do I choose the best orientation for my videos? Upright, transverse, or square?

We encounter videos everywhere today, mostly via the Internet on computer screens, Smart TVs, and, of course, the smartphone. In particular, videos are spread on social networks and one has already been published here A new era ushered in — the 9:16 portrait format — Instagram, Facebook, and other social media channels, such as TikTok, have let users get used to videos in portrait mode. Recently, a DFL Supercup game was even streamed in portrait mode for the first time, especially for mobile phone users. On the other hand, we encounter square videos and other formats mostly with a fairly short length on Twitter and also in the form of promotional videos on various channels. To make this even more complex, a wide variety of formats can still be uploaded to most channels and a TV recording or vacation video is then more likely to be in 16:9 widescreen Format shared, although a story (often a “selfie video”) is then more likely to be shared in portrait mode. You can already say “Anything goes, nothing has to”.

Nevertheless, it is highly recommended to think through the question of orientation before the video. Especially for professional use. The wrong image format can lead to a misperception by the consumer and this can have negative effects on performance, clicks, and likes. Choosing the right image format depends on which target groups we want to reach and which channels we use to do so.

So is upright the best orientation?

Not necessarily — even though far more than half of the world's video consumption takes place online, the classic TV and cinema format is enjoying “Widescreen” 16:9 continues to be widely accepted and popular. On YouTube The 16:9 landscape format dominates and, as the second most important search engine after Google, the platform has a high utility value, especially in marketing and eCommerce-relevant professions. Established streaming services such as Netflix are committed to this image format anyway, as TV and cinema productions are produced in widescreen format, with very few exceptions. In career-oriented networks, such as LinkedIn and XING, On the other hand, upright formats are more useful for a more direct approach, for example within video job offers. The goal of ads here is to get more applicants, attract new customers, or generate more attention for a product. This mostly direct and personal approach works better in portrait mode, as we are also used to video chats on mobile phones. 

Of course, it can now be argued that not every user sees this and that is a legitimate argument. That is why advertising professionals in particular like to use the most technically efficient form for the ads: Square videos. With videos in 1:1 format, because it makes it easier for the user to receive the advertising message — because the orientation of the smartphone doesn't have to be changed, regardless of whether we hold the smartphone upright or sideways, the flow of consumption is not interrupted and it also works flawlessly on the desktop PC or notebook. We already noticed that it is a complex issue.

Which image format is the best?

To answer the question from the title of our article: there is no definite answer to this because user behavior and the technical guidelines of the individual channels are simply too dynamic and changeable for that. We usually use the formats from our infographic, use the 1:1 format when in doubt, and especially for ads, but we also like to try out other formats to see what influence it has on performance and perception. 

Almost everything can, not must. However, there are already certain trends and channel-related user behavior, which allow recommendations for choosing the format.

What does the future bring?

There are trends and guidelines that we can follow, and it is good to follow them if we want to take a safe path — but not necessarily have to. Because trends change over time and it is allowed to experiment, to leave the usual paths — and not infrequently Is attention being created right now? Social apps such as TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram are now blurring the lines between social media, professional networks, and entertainment, leading to greater competition for consumers' time and attention. Older generations before Gen Z in particular are wondering why “young people” usually film upside down (upright) with their smartphones. Is there even a generational upheaval taking place here and we will soon be able to Experience blockbusters and movie theaters in portrait format? — the future will tell, it will certainly be exciting. What do you think of that? Is this consistent with your findings and impressions? Do you have any experience with different image formats? Feel free to comment here on the blog. 


More posts

Skalierbarer Video Content.
Schnell und kollaborativ erstellt

Erstelle Corporate Video Content in wenigen Minuten. CI- und DSGVO konform und ganz ohne Vorkenntnisse.
Jetzt Demo buchen