Vertical Video – A New Perspective

Vertical video has invaded our screens. We can thank the rise of Snapchat and Instagram stories for this; but really, it’s that reflective screen attached to your hand that started this vertical tidal wave.

Our preference for mobile has led us to consume media vertically. Vertical video stretches out and takes up every inch of the screen. The format, once considered amateurish by creatives, is now the preferred perspective of top brands, publishers and influencers alike.

A personal viewpoint, a new opportunity

Previously, we have seen the traditional widescreen (16:9) format or even the square (1:1) pervade our social feeds; vertical video is built with only mobile in mind. Our eye needs to adapt just as much as the camera lens. Traditional widescreen TV commercials no longer translate into social; audiences want that narrow, tall view point. This is an opportunity to build the format into the filming process. How can this space best be used? What new perspective can we extract from this format?  Rather than seeing it as a hurdle to overcome, it is a new way to shape a message. Brands must begin to look at this as a new way to tell stories. The change in shape offers new challenges and perspectives to tell to the brand’s story. Vertical means a narrower field of vision, it lends itself to a personal view point and an almost restricted perspective. Knowing this, allows brands to play with the space in a clever and insightful way. 

No more spinning around

Social is forcing the hand with vertical video. The prevalence of Snapchat has caused Facebook and Instagram to adapt. All major social platforms now favour vertical video, but why is it so popular? The ease of the user experience: vertical video means users do not need to rotate their phone. Those jumpy few seconds caused by turning your phone sideways are no longer necessary. It seems so basic, but those few seconds might mean your audience sticks around and watches the video.

Make it easy for your audience: by reducing the actions needed to consume the content, it will increase the likelihood of people watching the video. Vertical video is more intuitive and encompassing of the mobile experience. But given its home is on social, it should also be short and offer consumers a reason to watch.

Increasing adoption

The sphere of social’s influence has extended to publishers. Early adopters such as Conde Nast, Mashable and now News UK have embraced this format. They are sharing not just video in vertical formats, but also using a mix of audio, text and graphics to create a format that tells stories. They are short in form, yet are a rich sensory experience. These are examples of what brands should be aiming to create for their social content.

News UK has launched a vertical video studio, which will help advertisers improve their mobile experience across the board. It will allow brands to repurpose existing assets into interactive vertical format including 360 experiences.

Similarly, Buzzfeed’s Tasty series will be making its way to vertical formats. The highly accessible tasty video series of recipes has inspired many imitations, now they take the bold step of moving this highly identifiable brand into a new space.

A mobile must for brands

For brands, it is worthwhile considering this shift to vertical. While it is aimed not to replace widescreen or the square formats – it should be considered for mobile-only targeting. It is a perspective underutilised and should be built into the creative process.

Quite literally watch this vertical space!