An Important Topic.

Digital comes, as we have mentioned before, with a plethora of opportunities. Being able to pinpoint target audiences with adaptive content that updates in real-time can take campaigns to amazing heights. At the same time, digital also brings new challenges and makes us to refresh our perceptions of advertising. We are forced to be innovative, creative and carefully consider what content we produce. What value has it to our audience? What is the optimum way to present it? What is the best way to measure the results?

Change, as the famous saying goes, does not come easy. Even in an industry as innovative and cutting edge as marketing, the online world is still not fully explored. While most have realised that there are certain axioms in Rich Media advertising, others fight a constant uphill battle trying to force traditional marketing onto a non-traditional market. Unfortunately, it leads to annoyed customers, ad-blocking movements and non-existent ROI.

When it comes to video, some still believe that the only way is horizontal. Again, the explanation lies in history more than anything else. When it comes to traditional video – television – vertical doesn’t even make the conversation. On desktop, it still barely does. On mobile, it might be one of the most important things to talk about.

 

A Go-to Mobile Format

Mobile has surpassed desktop as the device of the day, seeing more than twice the ad expenditure. It also seems a sure-shot device of tomorrow, as smart phone usage continues to climb globally. By 2020, an estimated 80% of the world’s population will have one. Mobile is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. Much like how smartphones changed the way in which we connect with one another, they have also changed the way in which we view and record video.

The default way to hold a mobile phone is in portrait mode (people hold their phones vertically about 94% of the time). As obvious as that sounds, the result of it is that they are reluctant to turn their phones around in order to properly view a horizontal video. This, in turn, means that many viewers will not engage fully when they encounter a horizontal video ad. In fact, unless your solutions provider really knows how to optimize your videos, they are likely to navigate away. If the video is vertical, viewers are more likely to keep watching. On Snapchat, a video first social media, vertical video ads have up to 9 times more completed views than horizontal video ads. Some brands are even seeing 90% completed views on vertical. On Facebook, LG has seen CPM rates that are 3 times more efficient for vertical video than square video.

The explanation? Vertical video takes up the entire screen of your mobile phone, using more of the available canvas. There’s simply more real estate to tell a richer visual story.

 

Complaints About Vertical.. ..and Why They’re Wrong 

People who criticize vertical video typically bring up two things. Firstly, that it leaves two black bars on either side of the video. While that is true for desktop, it is not true for mobile and vertical is, as we have established, a go-to mobile format more than anything. Secondly, naysayers point out that humans’ eyes aren’t optimized to see vertically. In other words, that our horizontal field of view is wider than our vertical. While this is true, it’s highly unlikely to affect comfort or safety of using a vertical video on a smartphone. At arm’s length, the entire screen is already in your view. All eye movements at that point are minimal.

Claims that video must be horizontal are, it seems, tied to how we have consumed video in the past. They key online advertising success is to take one’s previous experience and apply it within a new set of rules, rather than to take one’s old rules and try to force them onto an area in which one has less experience. Video is no exception to this.

Granted, there are challenges. One of them is that there is no consensus on the best way to produce vertical videos. Some production companies have decided to rotate their cameras and film vertically, while others have decided to shoot the traditional horizontal way and then adapt the footage to fit a vertical screen. Shot compositions and techniques have to be slightly altered. However, when it comes to traditional marketing channels such as Times Square billboards or bus stops, we’re already dealing with all kinds of different shapes and sizes. Vertical video isn’t different. All it takes is a different mindset.

 

So What Does it all Mean? 

Vertical video, no matter what you think of it, cannot be ignored. While it is highly unlikely to completely replace horizontal video overall, its importance grows every day. It provides a great way for advertisers to utilise the full canvas of a mobile phone and increase the time spent between consumer and brand. Vertical creates engagement. Engagement leads to better qualitative reach. Better qualitative reach creates higher ROI.

Vertical video, in other words, justifies its place as an essential tool in an increasingly mobile advertising world. And its place in the conversation.

 

Want to talk about what vertical video can do for you? Let’s chat! Simply contact us and we’ll get back to you in a flash.

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