The rise of vertical video

The rise of vertical video

Video filmed in portrait on a smartphone used to be the bain of watching videos – then two factors changed that, and another one will continue to drive it.

Vertical videos rise is being driven by mobile devices (smartphone adoption, larger screen size and the proliferation of 4G data subscriptions) and mobile orientated content platforms (Snapchat and other video centric apps).

Smartphone Adoption has expanded in Australia, with a 10% rise in the last year; almost 80% of Australian’s surveyed in the 2015 Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey own one.

Not only do more of us have Smartphones in our hands, the screens are getting larger. The average screen size grew from 3” to 4” over five years, yet only two more years to reach the current 5” average.

We are using these larger screens for entertainment; the NPD ground found that Wi-Fi & cell data consumption on screens larger than 4.5 inches was 44% greater than on smaller phones.

4G subscriptions have increased 52% since 2014 and Australians use 340,000 terabytes of data per month. In Deloittes’ 2015 Mobile Survey, as a result of getting a 4G subscription; 22% of respondents said they ‘watch video’ more frequently while 42% use ‘social media’ more.

Cisco discovered 55% of total mobile data traffic in 2015 was mobile video traffic. By 2020, Cisco expects an 8X increase in mobile data traffic, 75% of that data will be video.

The growth in use of mobile orientated social media platforms like Snapchat and Periscope have driven a familiarity with videos filmed outside of the more common landscape orientation.

Snapchat, founded in 2011, has 100 million Daily Active Users (DAU) who notch up two billion story views per day (Mary Meeker, 2015). It’s the app driving vertical video – full screen vertical ads on Snapchat have 9x higher completion rates than horizontal mobile video ads. Snapchat tripled its daily video views to six billion in the six months from May 2015 while Facebook doubled to eight billion video views from April 2015 – on desktop & mobile compared to mobile only for Snapchat.

In the first four months since Periscope, the live-streaming app’s, launch in March 2015, it reached ten million Monthly Active Users. By August, Periscope’s two million Daily Active Users were watching 40 years of video per day. While videos on Snapchat can be filmed in portrait and landscape, videos on Periscope can only be filmed in portrait.

Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends report found that 29% of American’s daily time spent on screens was on vertical screens i.e. Smartphones, 5 years ago this figure sat at 5%. YouTube recently updated their mobile app to allow videos to play vertically while Facebook has announced an upcoming vertical 3D video advertising product.


What does this mean? 

A proportion of your digital video strategy needs to become mobile friendly and platform specific.

We’ll see an increase in niche video campaigns.

Surging video momentum will foster greater experimentation. Brands will be enticed to try micro video campaigns to differentiate. They’ll be device & platform specific and will need to leverage existing targeting capabilities.


Portrait mobile website, landscape video – A disconnect?

On select mobile website videos, re-film in vertical layout. Collect the data and see what your users preferred.


Vertical video will continue to find its creative application

When YouTube ads appeared, we saw brands simply run their current TV spots on the platform. Users couldn’t wait for those five seconds to pass until we could skip it. A new platform and format welcomes new creative approaches. Let’s see what comes up.


Final thought – Hardware and software combined to drive vertical videos adoption; creative content will be responsible for continuing the momentum.


Icon credit: Smartphone by Snpr Cartman from the Noun Project