Achieving Verticality Among Horizontal Relics

Today, the task at hand is adapting to a more vertical way of living. The amount of time per day that we spend on upright mobile screens now competes with the time we spend on the smart phone’s horizontal ancestor: the desktop. With vertical viewing now accounting for nearly 30% of the time we spend on connected devices, it’s clear that reaching current audiences means achieving verticality.  

As more apps emerge that are available exclusively on mobile devices - like Periscope, Snapchat, Meerkat, and yes, Pokemon Go - more companies are wising up to the idea that modifying ads to horizontal screens isn’t even necessary anymore. And, with more apps like these seeking ads that are built for their upright structure, marketers are left needing to adapt.

So, how do we do this?

One important answer, while relevant, is not at all a simple one: it relies on embracing the vertical video before all.

Of course, adopting a vertical video style is no easy task. Horizontal filming is a staple for a reason. It allows for landscape perspective and accommodates capturing a whole scene while vertical filming is useful for little more than zooming in on one subject. I mean, The Godfather was shot horizontally, so the thought of vertical video being a thing of the future might seem a bit uncomfortable.

But if Snapchat swears by something, we should know by now that it’s at least worth considering. Last year, the media platform shook up the filming world and raised some eyebrows by requesting that their ads all be filmed vertically. But this wasn’t just an inconsequential attention-grab. Snapchat claims that their vertical videos earn nine times the viewing completion rate of their horizontal counterparts.

No surprise, then, that brands like Virool are now investing in the vertical video, too. The programmatic video distribution company recently launched a vertical video ad unit called Vertical Reveal to accommodate our newfound love of upright media usage. Additionally, a new app called Vervid is staking its claim as becoming the “YouTube of vertical videos.”

Still, filming vertically has its downsides. Adapting to the different screen shape can be difficult for filmmakers and videographers to achieve, adding costs and an extra element of trial-and-error. But this is where our adaptability as marketers comes in handy, because vertical viewing won’t be losing appeal any time soon. 

Luckily, creatives like the folks at Barton F. Graf 9000 can help us find inspiration in the endeavor, with this clever video pointing out the amount of wasted space marketers are missing out on by NOT adapting their work to a vertical screen.

So, while The Godfather and other treasured horizontal relics will forever maintain their merit, it’s time, my friends, to begin thinking vertically.