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Full screen ahead! Why more advertisers are getting on-board with vertical video

Vertical video is on the rise.

It’s been a hard pill for traditional film directors and creatives to swallow, but it’s here to stay. From music videos to original shows, there’s no denying portrait video has become verti-cool.

There’s even a film festival dedicated to the medium now.

Yes, it doesn’t conform to classical ‘rule of thirds’ guidelines for composition – but hey, rules are meant to be broken.

And it makes perfect sense.

On average, we browse 15 or so apps and websites daily whilst holding our phones in a portrait orientation 92% of the time. By creating vertical video, advertising messages are fitting seamlessly into the natural consumption of content on mobile.

We also own bigger phones than ever, so why not take up the whole screen when you’re paying for the privilege of serving an ad? Brands, it seems, are starting to take notice.

51% of digital marketing investment is on smartphone and growing.

Vertical content has become hugely popularised through social media; with all the major players now offering the format in some shape or form to advertisers. It’s the way we naturally create videos to share with friends and family anyway.

Take Stories for example.

Originally commercialised by Snapchat in 2014, it is now Facebook-owned properties that have been driving its explosive growth in recent years, shifting users away from feed-based consumption to a more ephemeral phase of platform engagement.

There’s a real charm to imperfect, fast-paced sharing and it’s capturing people’s attention.

Vertical video is also turning traditional television on its head with Snapchat Shows and IGTV commissioning original and exclusive content in bite-sized, made-for-mobile episodes.

Think Netflix, but for the attention economy. This in turn is creating more inventory options for comms planners, from pre-roll to in-stream placements.

People are also getting used to seeing portrait video in the real world too, with outdoor advertising group Global offering a collection of ‘full-motion portrait screens’ for brands to use in retail, underground and National Rail environments.

But is vertical an effective method of communication?

Social platforms certainly think so.

Snapchat claims portrait video has up to 9x more completed views than horizontal video whilst Facebook sees ad recall increase by 3-9% using the format.

So, vertical video can be engaging, memorable and effective.


It’s an exciting space, with a range of creative and placement opportunities that are perfectly suited to a mobile-first environment.

The format has elevated itself from an after-thought asset to a leading, and increasingly, necessary way for brands to visualise themselves both on and offline.

With more and more advertisers getting on-board, it’s full-screen ahead for vertical video.