Is Vertical the Future of Video?
Vertical Video: Just Embrace It.
While vertical form was new, many apps were already running with the idea that seemed to satisfy viewers and frustrate producers. A popular video was posted on YouTube, warning the public about Vertical Video Syndrome, the “addiction” that seems to afflict those who shoot vertical video that no one enjoys watching. A muppet-like puppet creature tells us, “Vertical Video Syndrome is dangerous. Motion pictures have always been horizontal. Televisions are horizontal. Computer screens are horizontal. People’s eyes are horizontal. We aren’t built to watch vertical video.”
But while it is true that the puppet’s devices aren’t optimal for watching vertical video, mobile devices are.
Smartphone users of the 21st century won’t settle for anything less than the utmost convenience when using their devices. So, predictably, as people have become accustomed to watching videos on their phones, they have gotten increasingly annoyed with having to turn their devices horizontally to watch most videos. In our article about the challenge of mobile video, we mentioned how vertical video has become a highly relevant topic as mobile use has exploded over the years.
So how are the video and advertising industries responding?
Several major social media apps like Vine already encourage users to shoot videos vertically, and some of them–are particularly starting to affect the marketing industry because they allow video advertisements. According to AdWeek, Snapchat has been trying to give companies advice for how to shoot ads vertically in order to customize their ads for the popular social media app.
While this request might seem limiting, since companies won’t be able to show those vertical ads on other sites, the restriction may be worth it: Snapchat claims that vertically shot ads were watched fully through nine times more often than horizontal ads, AdWeek says.
Snapchat and Vine were leaders in adopting vertical, but Facebook’s recent transition to vertical video may have just answered our question regarding the future of video. They will now use vertical form to advertise on their mobile site.
Facebook is following Snapchat’s lead in the acceptance of vertical video. This is a huge sign that vertical video isn’t just a dying trend. As this Mashable article points out, Facebook’s switch to vertical is significant compared to other media platforms because of how much more of a reach Facebook has – with 1.13 billion daily users.
The next question is, what does this mean for content creators and advertisers? It depends on how they adapt. But, what we do know that on the day of it’s introduction (September 2, 2016), data shows that cost per million (CPM) is three-times less expensive on vertical ads than square ones (Adweek). Clearly, the transition will be significant for all involved.
The marketing world is has paid attention
DailyMail, WPP and Snapchat teamed up to launch Truffle Pig, an ad agency whose specialties will include vertical video-ad development. According to The Seattle Times, “The aim is to get advertisers to recognize vertical as the preferred mobile-screen orientation among consumers, and subsequently make it easier for advertisers to create vertical ads by providing them with a suite of portrait-centric insights and tools.”
Perhaps the most telltale sign that vertical video is the next big thing is YouTube’s decision to optimize the Youtube app to play a vertical video full screen. Youtube gets more than half of it’s views from it’s mobile app, so it’s obvious this change is to make sure the viewer’s user experience is top notch. YouTube, where the “Vertical Video Syndrome” video has over 6 million views, will soon support and encourage vertical video. Oh, the irony.
Zoe Epstein is a marketing and communications intern at Green Buzz Agency. She develops and executes social media strategy and reports on industry trends.
Emily Stewart and Leah Eder contributed to this post.