Vertical Video: Better Mobile Advertising

Happy man waving to a smart phone camera shooting vertical video isolated on a white background.

Vertical video is a rising trend cementing its place in video marketing.

You may not have heard of the term ‘vertical video’, but it is likely you have seen some examples of it. In fact, vertical video is one of the newest and hottest trends in video marketing. For some time now, smartphone users have been filming themselves for Snapchat and Instagram, and many of these videos are in vertical format.

Vertical video is video in portrait mode, as opposed to landscape mode, and is thus taller than it is wide. When video is recorded this way, there are generally black bars on both sides to pad the unused space.

The videos we’ve seen in the past were recorded in horizontal format, to accommodate widescreen television sets, enormous movie screens, and wide-screen computer monitors. However, that is not the format that smartphones and mobile devices typically record in.

It’s also not the easiest format to view on such devices, because most smartphone owners hold their phones in a vertical position. It has become second nature for most users to view Internet videos in vertical format.

Vertical gets the Attention of Marketers

This trend has not escaped the ever-watchful eyes of marketing gurus, whose job it is to stay abreast of consumer digital usage, and to incorporate those trends into marketing strategies. Since digital marketing is built on flexibility and an adaptability to changing consumer habits and interests, it was inevitable that the vertical video trend would be quickly snatched up and included as part of the current marketing and advertising arsenal.

This being the case, marketers everywhere are now deliberately creating their advertising messages in vertical format, representing a departure from traditional practices. Approximately 50 million people watch videos on their smartphones in this country, thus there is a huge audience waiting to consume whatever marketing messages are tailored to their viewing habits.

Why Vertical Video?

Regardless of which orientation you may think looks better, many more smartphone owners hold their phones in an upright position rather than sideways. That fact alone makes vertical video very appealing, because it fills the whole screen and provides a fuller picture.

Proceeding from that fundamental principle, there has now come to be an economic factor involved as well. The fact that vertical video usage has grown from a mere 5% of Internet videos in 2010 to more than 30% by 2016 should be indicative of its growing popularity, and whenever there is a trend in popularity, marketing and advertising specialists are bound to follow right behind, to capitalize on it.

Who’s on Board with Vertical Video?

Most of social media are already showing videos in vertical mode, because so many social media users are on their phones when using social media. Snapchat for instance, serves up more than 10 billion videos per day to its 100 million users, and these are in vertical format, so they can be accurately depicted on phones. Meerkat is another medium which has whole-heartedly adopted the vertical video format, in deference to its 2 million users who view videos in vertical mode.

Even social media giant Facebook has gotten on board, recently unveiling its new advertising direction as vertical video. With this kind of support, it seems all but certain that many other outlets will also adopt vertical video as the wave of the future, and incorporate it into their platforms. Since almost all of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising, it makes sense that its advertising should be presented in a way that is most beneficial and easiest to see and interpret among the user community.

In June of 2015, a content marketing agency called Truffle Pig was formed by three social media organizations: Snapchat, DMG Media, and WPP. Their intent was to create content exclusively for vertical screens, and it wasn’t long afterward that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter all jumped on the vertical video bandwagon as well.

Better Mobile Advertising

While it seems certain that vertical video will get more and more attention from creative video artists in the very near future, it is already clear that mobile advertising can be produced much better right now with vertical video. Since it’s a given that most smartphone owners will continue to hold their phones upright, and consume their videos in an upright manner, the best presentation achievable will be in vertical format.

It is likely that most commercial website owners will very soon become that part of having a responsive website design that accommodates mobile users, will be to serve them videos which are actually best suited for viewing on a smartphone, rather than the traditional widescreen videos which don’t adapt well to vertical viewing.

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