Snapchat vs. Vervid: Who Will Reign King of Vertical Video?

Don’t believe Vertical Video is the future of mobile? Just ask Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel, who announced on Tuesday the company’s new “3V” branded content agency, Truffle Pig.

Periscope Meerkat Vervid Snapchat Vertical Video App 2x

Over the past few weeks, Spiegel has been pushing the Vertical Video agenda hard. Jon Steinberg’s Medium article stating that vertical video ads have up to 9x the engagement of traditional horizontal video ads seems to have triggered Mr. Spiegel’s very vocal quest to convince Snapchat’s ad partners to make the switch to portrait-shot media. (Welcome to the discussion Evan.)

His message, interestingly enough, has taken on a very consumer-facing twist of late, with Spiegel focusing on the fact that more and more of us are shooting video the way we naturally hold our phones — vertically. Though Snapchat boasts impressive numbers in terms of daily active users (roughly 100 million) and quantity of portrait-shot content shared daily (roughly 700 million), only a small percentage of its users are shooting video — and there are a few reasons for that.

Users have pictures to fall back on as a crutch.
Snapchat is, afterall, a peer-to-peer messaging platform, and pictures are much quicker to snap and send.

You can’t edit Snapchats.
In order to stitch together moments into a story, users must capture one clip at a time, click to add it to “My Story,” tap the Camera button again, capture another clip, and so on. It’s cumbersome to say the least. And once a story’s been added to, you can’t edit it.

All Snapchat user-generated content has an expiration date.
Since all content is disposable, there’s no reason for users to spend the time crafting quality, immersive content.

It’s natural to compare Vervid to Snapchat because we’re both on a campaign to usher in the era of vertical video. But to make this comparison would be to miss the bigger picture.

Unlike Snapchat, all of Vervid’s content is publicly discoverable (though we will be adding private channels in a future update.) And rather than thinking about Vervid as a “Snapchat that Sticks Around,” it’s really much more of a “YouTube for the Selfie Generation.”

Vervid is the self-broadcasting platform for the mobile era, with an audience that rarely — if ever — rotates their phones. It’s the platform that lowers the bar to video editing by providing tools that are easy enough to use one-handed and on the go, yet robust enough to create compelling, immersive content. Our goal is to become the biggest media company in the world, starting with the screens we carry in our pockets.

We’re not only mobile-first; we’re video-first. Unlike Instagram or Snapchat, we do not allow photos of any kind. (There are plenty of apps for that.) And unlike YouTube or Vimeo, we do not allow horizontal video (though you can import horizontal video and crop it to vertical.)

We’re providing a place for users to continue shooting video the way that feels most natural, despite cinematic tradition. We’re enabling self-publishing that goes against the grain of the “television” era. Nowadays, what’s shot on mobile generally stays on mobile. Rather than correct for vertical video, we’re providing tools to make it better.

The perception is that Snapchat is doing the same. However, unless they completely overhaul the experience that defines their platform, Snapchat will remain a private, peer-to-peer messaging platform that treats vertical video as disposable content. And some users will continue to enjoy that.

We’re here to establish a sense of permanence for vertical video in a way that’s never been done before. Fortunately, Snapchat is helping pave the way for advertisers and agencies to start creating ad content in portrait mode, which is helping us out in the long run.

So we welcome this discussion. We welcome Evan’s new-found rhetoric on vertical video, an oft-misunderstood format that needs advocates. We welcome it because we’re on the same mission, and we have a bulldozer ahead of us helping to clear the way and make room for a platform that’s speaking a similar language, but targeting a more permanent (and potentially much more diverse) audience.

Vervid launches in the App Store on July 15th. For more information or to request a demo, hit us up here.

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