The Ascendance of Vertical Videos

Innovative apps like Instagram, TikTok, made vertical videos mainstream by prioritizing convenience over form, revolutionizing consumption.


July 19, 2023


Steve Berry

The Ascendance of Vertical Videos

There was a time when the golden decree for videography was, "Always shoot in landscape mode." Anyone bold enough to post a vertical video could expect to face the internet's mocking derision. In this era, video content was primarily consumed on computers and televisions, favoring a landscape format. Mobile phones, with their limited streaming capabilities, were on the sidelines, resulting in a broad preference for "traditional devices."

The Game-Changers

Then came the game-changers: Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. These were more than mere apps; they were revolutions smartly packaged within a user-friendly interface. They made the landscape versus portrait debate inconsequential, prioritizing content that was entertaining, enjoyable, and, above all, accessible. These platforms reached scales of distribution that were nothing short of astounding.

Their novelty lay in the convenience they provided: an infinite stream of easily browsable videos, readily available in your pocket at all times, radically transformed video consumption. Didn't care for the content playing at that instant? A swift finger flick would bring up new, potentially enjoyable content.

Breaking into the Market with Convenience

As noted by Kevin Maney in his book Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don't, a product needs to be either 10x higher in fidelity or 10x more convenient to make a splash in an established market. The concept of infinite, easily browsable video on your mobile device is undoubtedly 10x more convenient than hunting for video content on your computer or television.

So, what was the outcome? The form factor became a non-issue. If the content was engaging, it was welcomed, leading to a surge in portrait-oriented short-form video content.

Changing Paradigms and Consumer Behavior

It doesn't matter what the prevailing paradigm is. If your product is exceptional, the world will adjust to embrace it. The landscape of consumer behavior is a dynamic, constantly evolving entity that responds to the currents of innovation. Your product has struck gold if it can deliver something so compelling that it fundamentally shifts people's behavior.

Keep innovating, and remember: the world eagerly awaits your new product.

Steve Berry
Principal, Thought Merchants

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