Snapchat: “Vertical Video Crushes Horizontal by 9x”

Periscope Meerkat Vervid Snapchat Vertical Video App

Jon Steinberg, CEO at Daily Mail, North America just blew our minds with a statistic we ourselves here at Vervid have had trouble finding. According to Snapchat (cited in Steinberg’s article on Medium from March 31, 2015) “…vertical video ads have up to 9x more completed views than horizontal video ads.” That’s astronomical. And it totally makes sense.

We hold our phones vertically 90% of the time. Thanks to Snapchat and now Meerkat and Periscope, this behavior is becoming even more normalized as more and more content is being shot natively in portrait mode. So rather than having to constantly switch between how we naturally hold our phones (vertically) to the way most media has traditionally been formatted (horizontally), users are now able to enjoy content the way they’ve secretly always wanted to — upright, up close and personal. Steinberg goes on to state that, “The whole notion of turning your phone on its side to watch a video is awkward and a bit of a hassle.” (See, we’re not the only ones.)

“…vertical video ads have up to 9x more completed views than horizontal video ads.”

The issue of vertical video has been a heated once since PSA’s started popping up from groups eager to dismiss Vertical Video as a valid medium. We’re constantly in Twitter riffs with video purists (mostly professional, desktop-driven, cinema-focused videographers) who are having a hard time recognizing this shift toward mobile-first, vertical video experiences never intended to make the jump to the big screen. Granted, Snapchat‘s probably a little young for this particular demographic, and the emergence of Meerkat and Periscope are still relatively new, but sooner or later even the video pro’s will have to admit that vertical video is indeed a valid medium that deserves a space of its own. (We’re proud to say we’ve even been able to convert a naysayer or two.)

If you think about it, we’re in the infancy of mobile. These screens, 3.5″, phablet or otherwise, have only been in our pockets a short eight years. Every possible claim has been staked in horizontal and square, but there’s still so much to be explored in the vertical video domain. Meerkat and Periscope are eating up live-streaming vertical video (though, to be fair, both accommodate horizontal as well), Mindie has tackled vertical short-form music videos, and Snapchat owns disappearing vertical content. (Fun fact: 700 million vertical photos and videos are shared on Snapchat per day according to Business Insider.) Vervid is staking its claim on the space by creating a permanent, curated platform for all of the vertical video content that’s being shot out there (most of which, it turns out, is being shot using native camera apps since that’s proven to be the most quick-trigger way of capturing moments.)

The Vertical Video format is so new, however, that impactful statistics like Steinberg shared last Tuesday are almost entirely unavailable. You simply can’t Google how many vertical videos there are on YouTube, because it’s not yet considered a thing. Luckily Steinberg was able to share this profound tidbit of data from Snapchat, and we’re compelled to say the least. As the first to create a YouTube-style space for Vertical Video content, we’re glad we saw this coming nearly a year ago and followed our instincts. There’s still a hefty debate to be had and a ton of people to be won over that are sticking by their desktop-first experiences. There’s a time and a place for both, but one thing’s for certain: Vertical Video is here to stay.

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