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Vertical video works best for apps

News, 28 April 2015

LOS ANGELES: The spread of digital video increasingly requires ads to be shot vertically in order to fit various apps, industry experts have advised.

Two that have generated much coverage in recent weeks – video streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope – both have a vertical perspective and now Snapchat, the photo-sharing app, and some publishers on that platform, are also encouraging marketers to consider adopting this technique.

"We're starting to meet with the top creatives at agencies and CMOs, and in terms of education, shooting vertical is in that conversation," a Snapchat spokesperson told AdWeek.

Shows and ads shot vertically perform significantly better, the company reported, as users tend to watch their devices in an upright position: vertical ads are viewed to the end nine times more frequently than horizontal ones.

That finding was echoed by Troy Young, president of publisher Hearst Digital. "Mobile phones are vertical devices," he said. "Turning it sideways is a lot of work." And, in terms of advertising, any disruption is a discouragement.

Rather than have the users turn their device sideways, Snapchat suggested the content producers simply turn their cameras on their side to frame shots as they will appear on phones.

Hearst already repurposes some landscape-formatted video for its own Snapchat content and is suggesting that brands follow suit, although that means higher costs for advertisers since landscape currently remains the norm for most digital video sites.

But, as more online video advertising moves to mobile, it seems likely that they will have to address the issue at some point, especially given the view-to-end figures cited above.

"Snapchat set the tone for this, but there's definitely a lot to be said for the fact that Meerkat and Periscope have prioritised the vertical video," said Nick Cicero, founder of digital talent agency Delmondo.

"It's a new medium. It's not TV and it's not YouTube, so I don't see why a new aesthetic for video can't also emerge."

Data sourced from AdWeek; additional content by Warc staff