What Advertisers Should Know About Vertical Video

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More video consumption is shifting to mobile devices. A forecast from Zenith Media found that consumers will watch close to 29 minutes of mobile video on their smartphones and tablets each day in 2017, a 35% increase over last year. This shift toward mobile video is creating new opportunities for advertisers, one of which is the growing prominence of vertical video. This emerging format has grown in popularity thanks to platforms like Snapchat. But it’s not just consumers who are warming up to vertical video. Advertisers are taking notice and incorporating the new format into their mobile video campaigns. Here’s what you should know about this increasingly popular ad format.

Vertical video is moving into the mainstream
While vertical video ads may not be universally available just yet, they’re an increasingly popular option from some of the world’s top publishers. One recent report on vertical video ad availability found that more than 100 well-known media companies, ranging from Condé Nast to Hearst to NBC Universal now offer the ad format. That suggests it’s a good time for advertisers to start testing.

Vertical video ads tend to be shorter in length
Keeping with the mobile theme, most vertical video ads so far have focused on shorter spots to keep viewers interested. The majority of vertical video ads are 15 seconds, although Snapchat, one of the more popular vertical video ad platforms, caps its creative executions at 10 seconds.

Vertical video has the potential to be highly engaging
In these early days of vertical video, it looks as though the format has a lot of potential for advertisers. One recent study found that less than 30% of consumers were willing to turn their screen to watch video. Eliminating that screen turning is a simple way to remove friction between a marketer’s brand message and their target audience. Consumers, it seems, prefer to watch all video, both content and ads, in vertical. Another plus for advertisers is that vertical video provides 100% share of voice with no competing on-screen distractions and boosting ad engagement. Vertical video engagement has been found to generate 15 to 20% higher click-through rates than horizon ads.

Vertical video can scale (with the right preparation)
Given the relative novelty of vertical video, there’s likely to be some concern among advertisers about the scalability of creating campaigns. But there are creative solutions to this issue, some of which don’t require a wholesale redesign of existing ad creative. For example, some advertisers are incorporating on-screen graphics into their vertical video ads, allowing them to integrate existing horizontal video assets. While it’s not a perfect solve, it does open up opportunities for more experimentation.

The ubiquity of mobile devices has already changed the way advertisers design creative, as evidenced by the 5-second promos for movie trailers that several studios embraced last year. Vertical video is the latest example of an industry looking to reach consumers on whatever screen they choose to watch. Thanks to a variety of creative solutions, and promising performance numbers, much more attention may be focused on this new ad format in the months ahead.

Mary Vestewig

Senior Director, Account Management, Video
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