News & Views

Vertical video isn’t just for idiots

We’ve all had our enjoyment of a viral video spoiled by the fact that it was shot portrait-style on a smartphone. And while this was once seen as a flaw, now brands and marketers alike are starting to think vertical, thanks to mobile broadcasting platforms like Snapchat, Meerkat and Periscope.

“Publishers and marketers who once dismissed vertical video as an amateurish mistake are changing their perspective,” says Digiday’s Eric Blattberg. “That’s because vertical video delivers better results than standard video in environments where people tend to hold their devices upright”.

“Nearly eight years after the introduction of the iPhone, whose vertical height has gone from 4.5 inches in the first release to 6.22 inches in the 6 Plus, it’s surprising how little vertical video has been created,” says Jim Steinberg, CEO of Daily Mail USA, a media partner of Snapchat Discover. “And despite eight years of vertical mobile viewing, creators have been slow to create video specifically for phones… We need to move even more aggressively to develop vertical content.”


Brands as diverse as Macy’s, Burger King and Spike have embraced vertical advertising on Snapchat, while streaming newcomers Periscope and Meerkat both flew the vertical flag at the recent New York Auto Show. Periscope CEO Keyvon Beykpour hasn’t ruled out the possibility of introducing a horizontal mode to the app, but should that occur, he still expects users to favour vertical streaming. “This isn’t television,” he told the BBC in March. “It’s a different medium and people generally hold their phones with one hand.”

According to Snapchat, vertical videos achieve up to nine times more completed views on mobile devices than horizontal content, which certainly puts a dent in the “only morons film vertical videos” theory.

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