More videos are being consumed on mobile
Smartphones have changed the way we consume video and mobile consumption continues to grow. Last year, the equivalent of 3 full-length movies were added to mobile video traffic per smartphone and 46% of all video plays in the fourth quarter were on smartphones or tablets. With most videos now being viewed on mobiles first, brands should be optimising their videos and ads for vertical screens, as people don’t tend to rotate handheld devices. More than 50% of video views on Youtube come from mobile and over three-quarters of Facebook videos are watched on smartphones.
Vertical video is on the rise
‘Vertical’ is now more than just a buzzword. With more video being consumed on mobile phones, a logical step for brands is to create content that is easily consumable on hand-held devices. Research suggests that vertical video performs better than horizontal video on devices that are held upright and 92% of the time, mobile video consumers share videos with others. Time spent viewing content on vertical screens is also rising: last year this was up to almost 30% compared to 5% in 2010.
Source: KPCB, 2015 Internet Trends
Vertical videos were once seen as poor quality visual content (watch this parody ‘PSA’ from 2012), but apps like Snapchat and Periscope have put vertical video on the map, encouraging brands and publishers to rethink it as a viable marketing and advertising tool.
Vertical-friendly advertising platforms
Snapchat is at the core of vertical content and its vertical ads are a success, particularly for targeting the millennial and Generation Z demographics. In an interview with Adweek, Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel said that the app wanted ‘full-screen’ content and the vertical ratio was the best choice for achieving this on mobile.
Now, a variety of publishers and brands create daily vertical content and adverts for Snapchat Discover. Snapchat reported that vertical video ads on the app see up to 9x more completed views compared to horizontal ads.
Hearst Magazines is an avid Snapchat content publisher, creating stories for a few channels including Cosmo and Marie Claire. The company utilises Snapchat’s vertical content in a way that connects effortlessly with its millennial female audience.
Source: Cosmopolitan’s Snapchat Channel
Facebook launched vertical video ads in September this year. For about a year prior to the update, users could upload vertical videos to the platform but they would still play in a horizontal format in the News Feed unless viewers tapped to expand the post.
“We know that people enjoy more immersive experiences on Facebook, so we’re starting to display a larger portion of each vertical video in News Feed on mobile”, a Facebook spokesperson told Marketing Land.
Primarily a square ratio platform, Instagram began supporting vertical and horizontal images and videos in the middle of last year. “Square format has been and always will be part of who we are. That said, the visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments the way you want to”, Instagram wrote in its blog post announcing the new features.
Instagram’s new Stories component operates on a vertical-only basis and over 100 million people already use the feature every day.
The company also rolled out vertical ads two weeks ago, saying: “Since the beginning, we’ve been thoughtful about rolling out ads on Instagram to give businesses and consumers the best experience possible. And ad formats are no exception. Portrait has long been available on the platform for posts, and is a common format for consuming mobile content”.
How brands are using vertical video
Brands like Mulberry and LG were quick to take advantage of Instagram’s new vertical ad format, both opting for vertical videos to advertise on the app.
Source: Instagram, Vertical Ad Format Now Available on Instagram
Brands like Adidas and H&M are using vertical video ads on Snapchat to reach their audiences on mobile with 10-second clips that appear in between stories from publishers. The ads often feature calls to action such as ‘Shop Now’ and consumers can access the promoted product or content by simply swiping up.
Vertical video is 3x more efficient
An example of the results that vertical ads produce comes from Spotify. According to KPCB’s ‘2016 Internet Trends’ report, this 10-second Spotify ad which ran on Snapchat’s Live Stories and Discover channels received over 26 million views. The ad also saw a 30% increase in subscription intent and was 2x more effective than typical mobile channels.
Source: KPCB, 2016 Internet Trends
Laundry Service, a full-service social media agency based in the U.S and U.K, launched Facebook’s vertical ads for its clients such as LG and Hennessy and found that vertical video ads have 3x more efficient CPM (cost per thousand) rates than square video. “[That] means the CPM is three times less expensive on vertical video than square“, Laundry Service’s CEO Jason Stein told Adweek via email. “This signifies that the content has a higher view through, share/engagement rate”, he added.
This means that not only do more people engage with vertical video ads, but they’re less expensive too.
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