Crunch Simply Digital | Why you should be using Vertical Video

Vertical Video – from No No No to Go Go Go

Vertical Video is arguably the media format that is gathering the most momentum across the board. So, we put this article together to cover:

  • What is vertical video
  • How did it come about?
  • Is it just another fad?
  • What do I need to consider?

Let’s get started.

Vertical Video Split Screen


What is vertical video?

The difference between standard and vertical format video is the same as it is between a landscape and a portrait photo. One is shorter and wider, the other is taller and narrower.

It’s a format of video more suited to a mobile device. Considering how they have been designed for being held upright. And mobile is the driver of this new format.

How did it come about?

How did it come about? It’s a good question, but a better one might be “where has it been until now?”. Vertical video has only recently come to the fore due to support for the format. Just think: most TVs and desktop computers are horizontal.

They’re not designed to go on their side and when we try to play vertical videos on a horizontal device, two-thirds of the screen is just blacked out. It meant that streamers and YouTubers had to go through painstaking lengths to place artwork either side of the video to make it look more professional. Just like all the Pokémon Go videos I didn’t watch…

Anyhow, vertical video has exploded over the past number of months because of the following:

  • YouTube’s complete overhaul in June made it vertical video compatible.
  • Snapchat’s self-service snap ads platform runs entirely using vertical video.
  • Instagram Story video format ads are vertical only.
  • Programmatic ad network numbers that support vertical video are constantly growing.
  • Live streaming is becoming increasingly popular and video is most commonly shot in the vertical video format.

Is it just another fad?

Keith Weed (CMO At Unilever) said, in his first email as guest editor of Think with Google, that this year was going to be the year of video. When we think about it, it’s been the year of mobile for about seven years now. And for good reason – as the world has become more and more optimised for our favourite handheld devices.

Vertical video is a true format for video on mobile. It feels more natural, and, so far, we’ve seen that it engages much better than standard format (horizontal) video on mobile devices.

Vertical Video 2

When we look at the user base of the places we spend the most time online – 95% of Facebook usage (in the UK) is mobile, on YouTube it’s 70% and then on Snapchat and Instagram it’s pretty much 100%. And those are just the social channels. What about your own website? It’s not often that a website’s traffic is less than 60% mobile (when internal traffic is filtered out).

Is vertical video just another fad? We’d say it’s a resounding no. It’s an essential part of the media mix when it comes to a social content or advertising strategy. Google have said that it can deliver click-through rates of up to 20% higher on mobile too.

What do I need to consider?

Here are our five top tips from the early days of vertical video.

1. Keep it short and sweet

Unless you’re live-streaming, shorter videos work better. For vertical video ads, keep them to 15- seconds or less (10-seconds or less if you’re running snap ads).

2. Video montages work just fine

Remember Vine? Much the same as Vine, we’ve seen video montages, shot on smartphones, delivering very respectable results.

3. Factor it into your video production

Are you already creating or commissioning video? If you are, chances are you’re telling a great story. Make sure you capture that story in the vertical video format. Rather than longer videos, chop it up into smaller, microcontent.

4. It’s not just for a ‘young’ audience

In the words of Gary Vaynerchuck “there are some 50-year-olds in the room who sent a poop emoji last night”. Vertical Video is not for a young audience. It’s for a mobile-first audience. If your audience’s primary device is mobile, then this is a crucial content or ad format for you.

5. Snapchat converts.

The most common video campaigns we have run in the past have been to drive as many quality video views as possible. The reason being that we build retargeting audiences of all people who view the video for retargeting and converting via different content formats. Video is not typically a huge traffic driver. This doesn’t ring true for Snapchat. People on Snapchat actually click the adverts and convert too.


What next?

Shooting vertical video has gone from bad practise to best practise. If you have any additional thoughts or questions about vertical video or need help with your vertical video advertising strategy, get in touch –