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The Evolution of Vertical Video

4 Min Read

It’s no secret that individuals are consuming information through mobile platforms more than ever before. According to an article published on The Telegraph, the end of 2016 marked the first time in history that more users accessed the web through mobile devices than through desktops. Mobile has changed the game, not only influencing how consumers use the internet, but affecting how businesses provide content to the user.

Vertical videos are on the rise and in today’s world, it seems to make sense.

Vertical videos are defined as a standard horizontal video (16:9) turned on its side so that the content is taller than it is wide (2:3).


Horizontal videos, the traditional viewing mode, are not completely in line with user habits regarding phone use. Robert John Davis, founder of the Advanced Video Practice at Ogilvy & Mather says that “ data trends have suggested that users can turn their phone horizontally to watch a view – yet the issue is, they don’t want to.”

Vertical videos make it easier for the viewer to watch video content, hence their rise in popularity. While turning the phone may not seem like a difficult task, content creators are one step ahead of the viewer, and have used vertical videos to make content consumption even easier, eliminating the need to change your phone’s orientation. In a way, horizontal videos no longer “fit” (literally) the needs of the viewer.

Snapchat led the charge for vertical video, stating in a 2015 report that vertical videos earn 9x the completion rate of horizontal videos. The rise in vertical video popularity paralleled Snapchat’s rise as one of the leading social media platforms in existence today. It is now almost imperative for advertisers to optimize their content to fit user behavior, and the relevancy of vertical videos was born from that need.

Here are our top three examples of successful vertical video campaigns:

1. BMW

When BMW wanted to market its sustainable energy vehicle to millennials, it turned to Snapchat ads. This video below was formatted vertically to appeal to a younger audience, and was translated to reach audiences all over the world. 

2. Sperry

When Cosmopolitan collaborated with shoe brand Sperry, the Sperry video ad fit perfectly into Cosmopoliton’s Snapchat channel, giving an organic feel to the ad and increasing viewership.

3. Taco Bell

Taco Bell has seen frequent success with Snapchat ads. They have used vertical videos to introduce and promote new food creations, including the ad below for their spicy Diablo sauce.

Snapchat is not the only social media platform that is changing the game when it comes to vertical video. Laundry Service launched a vertical video Facebook ad campaign for Hennessy and on day one, Jason Stein, the agency’s CEO, told Adweek via email that the CPM rates were three times “more efficient for vertical video than square video so far.” 

It seems that the numbers speak for themselves – vertical videos have disrupted the status quo and will only continue to grow as one of the most influential mediums of our time.

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