13 Oct 2016

Keep up! Video has gone Vertical…

Over the past year, we’ve been hearing all about “the rise of” vertical video as Snapchat leads the charge in a switch to videos that are…you guessed it…vertical. Despite Snapchat’s social takeover, it is only with Facebook’s recent vertical update that the upright orientation will no doubt be a firm feature in our feeds.

It is unsurprising that vertical is ‘on the rise’ (ha!) as millions of photos, videos and selfies are taken vertically every day.  Already, apps such as Snapchat, Periscope, and Pinterest have embraced this behavior and adapted to facilitate it. Snapchat has well over 100 million daily active users, proving that for users, rotating their phone is far too much effort to exert. Therefore, we are more willing to capture content and also consume video vertically; no tiring rotation required! The growth of Snapchat and it’s introduction of ads between stories signaled a shift in consumer appetite for vertical storytelling. Previously Facebook users and advertisers were encouraged to post videos in either the traditional widescreen (16:9) or square (1:1) formats. So Facebook’s adoption of vertical suggests that brands will need to shift too.

There is compelling data to support transforming from the traditional and flip that format! According to the MOVR Mobile Overview Report, Smartphone users hold their phones vertically around 94% of the time. Snapchat tells us that vertical video ads are watched all the way through 9x more than horizontal video ads on Snapchat and an excess of  7 billion video clips are viewed daily on Snapchat, the majority which are vertically filmed. The growth is backed up by data from Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends which reports that vertical viewing now accounts for 29% of view time, compared to 5% just five years ago. 

This is where the need to develop videos with social feeds in mind is essential. In order to prevent awkward cropping and ensure videos are the best they could be with the space provided, creators must shoot in vertical video. With 54% of Facebook users solely on their mobile device, it’s essential that creators begin to produce video specifically for smartphones.


Recently we’ve been thinking ‘vertically’ here at Don’t Panic. Last year we created ‘How to’ videos for Just Eat using vertical video and more recently adopted vertical to develop Snapchat stories for Childline. This was to make the content more accessible for mobile viewing. In addition, to further feed proof our content, ‘Could you forget everything you ever learnt?’ which we made for One.org was formatted in 1:1 and captioned with burnt in subs for users to digest while scrolling through their feed.

An exciting development for the future of vertical video was recently announced with Snapchat’s rebrand as Snap Inc. delivering the news that they will be launching a pair of tech-heavy sunglasses called Spectacles that will let anyone change how they film and post Snapchat clips. The glasses include a built-in camera lens that syncs with the app to let users create instant vertical video in an exciting way that will change how users spend time with the app.

Here at Don’t Panic we have already delved into the vertical world and while we understand that vertical won’t completely replace horizontal video, it is key to being heard in an increasingly relevant manner to find meaningful connection in an increasingly mobile world.