Let's start by looking at the history of screens. At first, film screens were locked to 4:3. Then when TV's entered our living rooms in the 1950's, movies had to lure us back to their ticketed seats with cinematic innovation. So they widened their screens; and after a lot of ratio haggling, the aspect ratio 16:9 settled. These two formats have coasted us through the decades quite happily, until recently.
Over the past five years, video has been making the slow and steady shift from horizontal to vertical. This trend has seen an explosion in 2017 and is here to stay. Vertical now accounts for 29 percent of all video watched, up from 5 percent just five years ago. Here's what you need to know about vertical video and how to make it work for your business, even if your video budget is tight.
Why Vertical Is Big
70 percent of mobile traffic is video, and 55 percent of all videos are on mobile but flipping your phone is a hassle. 94 percent of the time smartphones are held vertically, and the seemingly small act of flipping your phone is an inconvenience that breaks rhythm and flow. Simon Moss, CEO of BrandBrief, the Health and Wellness influencer platform that creates branded content for Instagram Stories explains, "You have 4 seconds to grab someone's attention on Instagram Stories before they swipe. Flipping a phone is a deterrent to consumers, especially Gen Z and Millennials. The minute you become an inconvenience, you're out." Snapchat, one of the video advertising titans, were the first to pick up on this and lead the charge into Vertical. Soon after, Instagram stories and Facebook followed suit, and with over 200m Monthly Active Users on Instagram Stories, it's time to take stock. So, here are the three things brands need to know about Vertical Video:
1. Vertical Video Converts
Videos are powerful selling instrument unto themselves. 64 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it, and on average video performs 4x higher than static content. The statistics for vertical are even more compelling.
According to Snapchat, ads displayed vertically are 9x more likely to be watched all the way through. Engagement is 3x higher, which means 3x less cost for advertisers (in other words, a CPM of $15 is now $5) - significant for smart marketers.
While many lament the switch to vertical and crush it for its original cinematographic qualities, vertical is a different medium, with different benefits. Moss says, "Influencers that create vertical video experiences for our brand clients create significantly higher engagement and sales. And for the most part, they're open to sharing more Stories than static posts because of the ephemeral nature of the content".
2. Vertical Provides Fewer Distractions
Video in a horizontal format allows content creators to add more background and contextual settings. While these can enhance mood, they can also distract from the core narrative. In a vertical video, the point of interest is more defined and focused and can create a greater sense of intimacy and engagement with the subject.
Building trust is particularly important for influencers who are creating sponsored content. As soon as they lose consumer's trust, their influence withers. 16:9 looks polished and professional, 4:3 seems standard, yet considered, but Vertical Video feels like an exclusive peek behind the curtain into real life, real people and real scenarios. It naturally creates a more intimate, personal and inviting connection, which further enhances rapport and trust. And it's not just effective for influencers, Conde Nast, BCC, and The Washington Post have all gone vertical too.
3. Vertical Is 'Video Selfie' Compatible
Just as selfie's clog up our Facebook and Instagram feeds, video selfie's are filling Snap and Instagram stories' stream. Vertical Video is a more natural aspect ratio for this trend and makes selfie videos easier to follow and more engaging - profound implications when working with influencers who do product reviews, or any direct-to-camera content. It no longer looks awkward; in fact, it works.
Rather than crop videos designed for 16:9, brands and influencers that create content for vertical reap the benefits of increased real estate. As you consider your video marketing strategy, make sure you account for these trends before getting left behind.