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Is live streaming vertically the future?


In previous years, streaming in portrait mode (or vertical) would have attracted many disgruntled reactions for being ‘unprofessional’.  Despite this strong opinion however, there’s since been a drastic shift in the way we consume media. The abundance of time spent on mobile phones and social media channels has given rise to vertical video being considered the norm among many consumers.

Smartphone usage

Whilst traditional viewing methods such as TV, cinema, monitors etc. have all been in landscape mode, the use of smartphones to consume media, radically changed the way content is streamed. Studies have shown that 94% of the time, smartphones are held vertically, making it no surprise as to why viewing vertical content has become so prevalent and important to accommodate for.

Producing landscape only content can potentially be a hindrance for creators. By limiting your content to solely landscape and landscape supported platforms, you are ultimately missing out on a vast number of potential mobile viewers. Despite realistically not being an inconvenience, mobile users tend to prefer when content is seamlessly shown to them, whilst on their device, rather than adding in that extra step of forcing them to rotate their device just to see what content is pushed to them. Even whilst on video platforms, mobile users hold their phones vertically over 82% of the time (ScientiaMobile, 2019), showing just how crucial it is to support this. Allowing your live streaming content to seamlessly integrate into their usage has a much greater effect than you would initially think. A smartphone’s natural position is held vertically, so why complicate this?

Social Media

Undoubtedly the greatest cause of the shift to vertical video is the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. Aiding this is the fact that the majority of social media users access these via their mobile phones. Whilst Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all feature vertical videos, this is more due to them following with the times and moving from horizontal only. Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok are the true pioneers of vertical video, all of which only support live video in a vertical orientation. All three of these channels have an overwhelmingly- if not exclusively- vertical content focus. Of course, live streaming horizontally is possible, however very distracting black areas are added above and below your content – resulting in a poor-looking stream!

Arguably the most influential social media platform in recent years which has also had an enormous effect on encouraging vertical video is TikTok. In 2021, TikTok reached 1 billion active users and was the most downloaded app that same year. With such vast levels of user traffic on TikTok, it is arguably essential for users and brands alike to adopt the push to vertical video. In fact, when live streaming to TikTok, a vertical orientation is forced when using the TikTok app and web. The influential power that TikTok has is defining culture and consequently forcing vertical video into our day-to-day lives one way or another.


Vertical video content is proven to be more engaging for users to watch when compared to horizontal content. Vertical content offers a level of immersion by taking up the full screen of a mobile device and attracting the viewer’s full attention without any distractions.

Many of the largest devices and platforms for content consumption are moving to strictly vertical video live streaming. As mentioned, these platforms have billions of active users and are set to grow even more, becoming increasingly harder to ignore.

For these reasons, it is essential that we should all be considering live streaming vertically simultaneously to horizontally in 2023.

Nike’s SNKRS Live series streamed vertically on the SNKRS App


Quicklink’s Cre8 enables you to produce professional virtual, hybrid and in-person events, exactly how you imagine. Ready to share your production? Stream seamlessly in both horizontal and vertical to multiple social destinations such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok and more – completely simultaneously.

Whilst it may have been looked down on in the past, vertical video is undeniably important in today’s age with social media and smartphone usage being so prevalent. This shift opens up an array of opportunities for you to get creative and utilise vertical video to its fullest.

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