YouTube Vertical Video Design Tips
The rise of YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram Reels has made the race to become vertical short form media king the hottest pursuit in recent years. Vertical videos on YouTube, called YouTube Shorts, hit an average of two billion monthly logged-in users as of July 2023 and the media giant has continued its push to entice new creators to publish content there1.
What does it take to stand out in such a competitive space? Today, we’re discussing YouTube vertical video design tips to make the most of each element of YouTube Shorts. From editing in the correct aspect ratio to strategic tools during the production process and more, keep reading to learn how to optimize performance for your vertical videos on YouTube.
Horizontal vs Vertical Videos on YouTube
Before you even begin shooting your YouTube vertical video posts, it’s vital as a content creator to understand the difference between using horizontal vs vertical videos on the platform. Far beyond the obvious visible difference, each has its own method and use for storytelling.
Horizontal YouTube Video Purposes
Reasons for publishing horizontal YouTube video posts include:
- Popular for long form content: Viewers frequently prefer to consume long form content on bigger devices that are optimized for horizontal media. If they do watch it on smaller devices like a smartphone, it’s very easy to turn the phone sideways and watch it the way it was meant to be viewed.
- Our bodies are designed for wider vision: Eyesight is naturally horizontal, giving us peripherals. This naturally lends itself to horizontal video, especially for longer content. The 16:9 video aspect ratio is considered the international standard format for television and film for optimal viewing experience..
- You can crop it for vertical video later: Many platform users have cropped long form horizontal content into YouTube vertical video meant for Shorts as a way to post teasers, push viewers towards their main channel, or get more usage from a single media piece across both aspect ratios.
YouTube Vertical Video Purposes
There are other times you’ll want to publish vertical videos on YouTube such as:
- It’s optimized for smartphones: Recent statistics show 63% of YouTube’s watch time comes from mobile devices2. YouTube vertical video posts are already optimized for this format.
- More creative storytelling: Many creators publish media in a style that should look like it was captured on a phone. Vertical videos on YouTube make it easy to get creative with your storytelling and video aesthetics.
- Available video effects: Across YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram Reels there are many engaging and unique ways to add video effects, stickers, and more to vertical video posts.
- Vertical video is more engaging: YouTube vertical video posted to Shorts is more engaging and keeps the viewer’s attention longer. A recent study showed that 90% of vertical videos have a higher watch completion rate compared to horizontal ones3.
YouTube Shorts Vertical Size Specs
Maximizing the performance of your vertical media means creating content with YouTube Shorts vertical size specs in mind. These size specifications ensure optimal display and engagement. YouTube vertical video for Shorts is designed for a seamless mobile experience so knowing the recommended dimensions results in a visually appealing presentation.
As of the latest information available, YouTube Shorts vertical size specs typically include:
- YouTube vertical video aspect ratio: Capture the full screen with an aspect ratio of 9:16. This ensures that your video is tailored for the vertical format, providing a more immersive experience for viewers on their mobile devices.
- Vertical video resolution: YouTube vertical video should have a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels. This ensures that your content remains crisp and clear even if it is viewed on larger screens.
- File format: Choosing the best video format for YouTube is important. Upload your YouTube vertical video in a widely supported format like MP4 and MOV for optimal compatibility with YouTube's platform.
It's important to note that YouTube may update its specifications periodically, so creators should always check the platform's official guidelines for the most current information. Creating with YouTube Shorts vertical size specs in mind ensures your media is not only visually appealing but also meets the technical requirements for optimal playback and maximum engagement.
YouTube Vertical Video Tips
Beyond size specs and knowing what kind of storytelling you’re looking to convey, there are numerous YouTube vertical video tips to follow for the best media performance.
- Keep your video short for optimal viewer retention
- Be aware of visual placements on your video
- Use AI video editing tools for faster post-production
- Add captions for better social media accessibility
- Connect with YouTube vertical video livestreams
- Strategically split the screen when appropriate
1. Keep Your YouTube Shorts Short
Creators have an extremely short amount of time to engage the viewer and keep their attention on your video. If you’re not keeping your YouTube vertical video posts short and to the point right away, you risk viewers scrolling past quickly and losing out on total view counts for YouTube Shorts monetization and other important performance metrics.
Keep your videos concise and to the point. Aim for a length (usually 21-34 seconds4) that maintains viewer interest without overwhelming them. Vertical videos on YouTube Shorts thrive on short, snappy content that users can quickly consume.
2. Be Aware of Visual Placements on Videos
The visual placement of elements on YouTube vertical video is important on multiple levels. The on-screen video description (caption) and other elements may otherwise cover up important parts of your media if you’re not careful.
Pay attention to framing when shooting your vertical videos. Ensure that the subject on screen is well-centered, and important visual elements are within the frame. Vertical videos provide an intimate and focused experience, so make the most of it by framing your shots with precision.
YouTube Shorts also gives creators the added ability to add stickers, filters, and video effects to your media. Whether you’re doing this on YouTube Studio or using an AI video editor app like PicPlayPost to add music, stickers, and other features for a unique video post, keep in mind how the final video will look so nothing is cut off from the screen or blocked from view.
3. Use AI Content Creation Tools to Streamline Production
Speaking of AI, not all YouTube vertical video design tips are about the final product itself. Creators should also be considering ways to integrate AI content creation tools to streamline production and allow them to post high-quality media more frequently.
Not only does this increase your bandwidth, but strategically using AI video editing tools can help with how to keep video production cost low in the long run.
Creator Tip: Check out our guide on how to edit YouTube videos faster with AI after this article.
4. Add Captions for Better Social Media Accessibility
You should already be creating media with a video accessibility checklist in mind, but one of the best ways to improve social media accessibility is by adding captions to your video. While the native editing tools for YouTube vertical video shorts have options for this, they’re basic as compared to other more powerful tools.
Instead of YouTube Studio, consider a third-party captions app like MixCaptions for customized control over how to add captions to YouTube videos. The app allows you to generate captions easily as well as format and style them for optimal viewing. This lets you tell your story in such a way that no one is left out. Additionally, it makes it easier for viewers who watch videos with the sound off to follow along and engage with your media.
5. Connect With Viewers on Livestreams
YouTube Shorts recently rolled out the ability for creators to go live via YouTube vertical video, similar to TikTok. This is an effective, direct way to connect with your viewers and establish a relationship. In addition to engaging with viewers directly, going live via YouTube vertical video streams increases your credibility and overall authenticity.
6. Strategically Split the Screen
Another YouTube vertical video design tip you may want to consider is splitting the screen. The YouTube Shorts vertical size specs give you a lot of visual space to work with. Instead of having dead space around you, this is an opportunity to create more visually dynamic and engaging media with the use of a third-party dual camera app like MixCam or the unique capabilities of the AI crossover video app MixOver.
In the crowded vertical short form media space, your content must stand out for the right reasons. Optimizing your YouTube vertical video design leads to more engaging media and better overall performance. Don’t miss out on simple ways to elevate your media and publish better vertical videos on YouTube Shorts.