Why aren’t vertical videos taking off?

Chitra Narayanan | | | Updated on: Nov 28, 2021
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As ad consumption grows on mobiles, vertical video campaigns take off

More than 75 per cent of video viewing world over happens on the mobile, according to eMarketer. Now think about the way you hold your cell phone — mostly vertical, right? If a video is shot vertically, chances of you watching it completely on your phone is higher than a horizontal format video.

And yet, most ad campaigns continue to be shot wide angle. “Art directors are just not wrapping their heads around the idea that you and I are going to watch stuff on vertical formats,” bemoans Sandeep Goyal, Managing Director, Rediffusion.

He says that the mobile may be the most used screen now, but art directors are still copying the same proportions from big screens to television to laptop to cell phones. Whereas it’s time to think 9:16, he says.

Standing tall

Of course, globally, progressive brands are showing the vertical format great love. Take Adidas Originals which has blazed a trail with some immersive vertical ad content, clearly thinking differently for the different format.

Mercedes Benz, Apple, Netflix, have all broken the mould too with their vertical commercials.

Studies have now come out that show vertical ads command more reach and the cost per click is less expensive than square or horizontal formats.

Yet, why are Indian brands still hesitant?

Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer at boutique ad agency Bang in the Middle, says right now the horizontally shot films are cropped and edited into the vertical format — but he admits this can be challenging. “If we have to make a vertical film, we have to plan the shoot carefully when filming it in the wide angle format.

The subject/action needs to be within the vertical area, otherwise it does not work,” he says.

Bang in the Middle’s #ParippuVada films for PhonePe were delivered on the vertical format as well as landscape.

However, Suthan admits that very few ads are being conceived specifically for the vertical format. When you are shooting for that format, he says, the content idea itself may need to change.

Thinking native

Indeed, if you look at the Addidas vertical ads, they play with typography, split screens, using the format very creatively to come up with content that looks born to the space.

Instagram Stories now has 500 million users every day and ad spend on Instagram is growing in leaps and bounds, dwarfing what brands spend on Facebook.

Reports say Instagram generated an estimated $24 billion revenue in 2020.

If brands are spending more on Instagram, and other born on phone apps, all the more reason for them to go upwardly mobile — and vertical!

Published on November 28, 2021

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