Explore Instagram, Social Video, Video Inspiration

6 ways to master vertical text videos for Instagram Stories

Aug 8, 2019


For any professional looking to reach their goals in today’s digital economy, a solid Instagram video strategy makes all the difference – and has become an essential element in every successful brand. That’s why we decided to start our Explore Instagram series, where we’ll take a deep dive into the various ways you can leverage Instagram to connect with all types of audiences, and benefit any kind of business. Keep your eye out for more posts in this series each month, and make sure to follow the Wibbitz Instagram page for daily inspiration from our team! 

No matter what vertical video you share, the text you choose and where you put it can have different effects on your audience. You just have to make sure its the one you’re going for! Because compared to image or carousel posts, vertical text videos earn the highest engagements according to 62% of social media marketers. Which means taking the time to invest in your vertical video strategy for Instagram is well worth the investment.

Along with these tips, the examples included below offer fantastic Instagram Stories templates you can use to inspire your own creations.

1. Choose smart fonts

Your video typography choices should be based on your audience goals. Are you trying to build trust? Be more relatable? Stand out from the crowd? Then there’s a font for that.

Each of the four main font families (listed below) offer their own unique tone, look, and assigned meaning. Which is why your vertical text video choices have to go beyond just what looks good. To make a real impact, it’s important that you align your font choices with your strategy. Here’s what each of the major font families symbolizes:

  • Serif – Classic and elegant, this font family is best for when you want the audience to believe in your expertise and value your brand as an authority in the space.
  • Sans-Serif – It’s minimalist in appearance and often used by brands that want to appear new, fresh and hip.
  • Script – Script is derived from a manuscript, which makes sense when you consider how much this computer-generated font looks like human handwriting.
  • Display – Want to make a lasting impression? Then use any of the fonts in the Display family. This style often uses interesting proportions, letter structures, and a variety of tones to impress viewers.

In this example by Billboard, the video depicts a single message paired with music and an image but in a truly memorable way. Notice how their choice of Sans-Serif text makes a big impact on this small video?

For more on the fonts and how the effects they can create, check out our guide to text on video – it also includes 14 fonts you can download and use for free!

2. Mix font families

You can use the same font for all the text in your vertical video but where’s the fun in that? Not only does mixing font families create more engaging imagery, but it also allows you to clearly communicate separate messages.

In this example from Setlist Live, we see both a Display font and a Sans-Serif font. The Display font tells the viewer what the video is about (with some bonus text animation to really grab our attention) while the Sans-Serif font gives us a simple detail (in this case their call to action). When these two are combined, viewers get pulled into what the video is about and, after they decide they want to know more, also have a direct next step they can take right at their fingertips.

3. Limit characters, not information

Leafly does a great job of showcasing all the relevant details of their new product in this vertical video for Instagram Stories. Although they had a lot of information to communicate, they stuck to a limited number of characters per section. To help cut down on the viewer’s reading time, they split paragraphs into sections, scrolling along with the photo while still giving the audience plenty of time to read it. They also used a chart as part of their imagery, which cleverly summarized the main selling points of the featured item without rushing through anything. Overall, this video serves to show that even though less is more on vertical videos, that doesn’t mean you have to completely restrict the amount of information you share.

4. Go mobile-friendly

Most people access Instagram through their mobile phones, a device where vertical video looks and functions its very best. So it’s no surprise that one of the key principles of making impactful vertical text videos for Instagram revolves around making sure your content is ready for portable devices of all shapes and screen sizes. One of the biggest mistakes we see in vertical videos on mobile? Small text.

Text should always be readable on even the smallest of mobile screens. In the example from Billboard, we see text that takes up the bottom half of the image. We can still see the videos underneath (thanks in part to a transparent background sandwiched between the two) but we can also easily understand the text. When in doubt, consider what someone who left their glasses halfway across the living room would need in order to get the message.

5. Direct focus

Animated text, chaotic videos, and pop out shapes all make for a more dynamic vertical video on Instagram. But too much of a good thing can distract from your main message. Which is why this piece (brought to us by Revolt) is a great example of using text to direct focus.

In general, text should be placed on the opposite side from the video or image focal point. But if what you’re trying to communicate is less about the video and more about the words themselves, then keep them front and center. Although this vertical text video cycles through a couple of photos and a video, the audience gets all the information needed to motivate them to take action from a single sentence strategically located in the center.

6. Balance images and text

Your text should always be opposite your video or image’s focal point. That way the viewer can read the text but still see what’s going on. As you can tell in this example from iHeartRadio, the text is exclusively featured on the bottom of this picture slideshow, drawing our eyes up to the faces at the top of the screen before returning back down to read the related information. This smart layout technique creates a well balanced (and practical) visual experience.

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