For many years, anybody taking a video on their camera or smartphone would be chastised if they weren't filming in landscape mode. Since it allows for widescreen viewing, landscape has been considered the standard for not only personal filming but for businesses too. However, we seem to be on the precipice of change; a new world where vertical videos are the standard. Why is this the case?
In such a short space of time, we've moved from radio cassettes to CDs, to MP3 players, to iPods, to iPhones and other smartphones. At the same time, the mobiles we have in our pockets have gone through a similar transformation. In December 2014, the MOVR Mobile Overview Report found that phones are held vertically around 94% of the time. Doesn't it make sense to make advertising videos this way then?
Whether talking to friends, calling, or scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, we tend to have our phones in vertical mode most of the time, and this now extends to watching videos. Some polls suggest that mobile users are getting frustrated at having to continually flip their mobile screen to be able to watch a video.
There's no doubt that the increase in mobile phone usage has led to this new trend; of all the video views before the vertical video rise, around 14% were from a mobile device. Therefore, landscape recording catered to the audience at the time. In 2018, approximately 58% of all video views came from a mobile device.
Big Brands are Following
For many small businesses, they look towards the industry leaders for advice and creative ideas. If we were to do this right now, we would see that vertical videos are leading the way. While Mercedes Benz received 2.6 million views on their recent vertical ad, Adidas has followed suit, and the marketers of the latest Mad Max movie even decided to release a vertical film trailer.
If brands that have millions and millions of dollars to spend on market research are persisting with vertical videos, we can be reasonably sure that this is what the consumers want. In 2019, we've already seen more large companies take part in the trend, and this fills us with confidence for the future.
Been waiting to see how long it would take for us to mention social media? In truth, it only takes one look at Snapchat to see how vertical video has risen to the next level in recent years. That being said, Twitter and Facebook deserve their share of the credit since they started their vertical ad creative strategy towards the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.
Around one year later, YouTube decided to make its entry with a dynamic video player. Rather than requiring users to flip their device, the aspect ratio now adjusts for vertical viewing. Even on Instagram, the launch of IGTV has brought vertical videos back into prominence.
If your brand is on social media, we believe your creative strategy needs to include vertical videos. Why do we create videos on social media? To generate awareness, get people talking, or perhaps even to teach an audience about a particular subject. Whatever your goals, the video still needs formatting for optimum social media usage…which is now vertical.
Finally, when new trends take over, the older ones are left behind. Sure, we had a good run with horizontal videos, but this is now coming to an end. Not only will you be missing out using only horizontal video formats, but you could also actually be doing your brand some harm. Why? Because it seems mobile users are now less willing to keep switching their phones between portrait and landscape mode. Therefore, if your marketing campaign centers around a horizontal video, you could be missing out on reaching a much larger audience.
Let's not forget: 58 % of all video views were from a mobile device at the start of 2018. Can you really afford to cut out 58% of your audience?
The Future of Video
With platforms like Snapchat only getting more popular, and many brands setting up their own ‘Stories' on the platform, the rise of vertical video is just starting. Most of us have a smartphone in our pockets and can begin recording a video within seconds whenever something noteworthy occurs.
While horizontal video still has a place thanks to movies, TV, and streaming, it's fair to say that vertical video is quickly taking over on the mobile space. If you want to make an impression in your creative strategy in 2019, vertical video seems to be the way to go!