Over the past year, vertical video has gained widespread popularity and is currently one of the most talked-about media formats in digital advertising. Any brand looking to captivate the attention of mobile users must seriously consider incorporating vertical video into their creative strategy or risk being ignored.

But what exactly is vertical video? The format refers to mobile video experienced in portrait orientation - or an aspect ratio of 9:16, instead of the traditional landscape format standardized by television, cinema, and desktop screens. In other words, vertical video is tall, upright, and skinny, instead of short, wide, and sideways. This means when a phone is held upright the video takes over the entire screen, eliminating the wasted black space that normally exists with horizontal videos. If done right, vertical video can be a beautiful and mesmerizing experience for consumers and an effective way for brands to convey stories.


Here are some more compelling reasons why you should pay attention to vertical video:

1. Mobile phones are becoming the primary screen for video-viewing

Smartphone and tablets are the fastest growing devices in the U.S. having grown 2x and 15x respectively over the past 4-5 years. With all the recent technical advancements made to mobile devices like high definition displays, improved sound quality, larger screen sizes and longer battery life, mobile video consumption is poised to surpass desktop video consumption in 2016. Mobile video is especially popular among Millennials. According to a 2015 Pew Internet study, 75 percent of smartphone owners between 18-29 use their mobile devices to consume video content.

2. Phones are held vertically 94% of the time

Our hands are naturally suited to hold phones vertically. Unsurprisingly, a global study on mobile usage confirmed that phones are held upright 94 percent of the time. Contrary to popular belief, research findings also show that mobile users rarely flip their phones to view horizontal videos fullscreen. This means that horizontal videos are not being experienced in the way they were intended and are likely overlooked.

3. Vertical videos achieve 9X greater completion rate

Vertical videos are immersive by nature and can almost instantly help brands attain 100% ‘share of screen’. And despite being a newly-accepted format there are already impressive statistics proving its effectiveness. In a conversation with the Daily Mail, Snapchat - whose users watch 10 billion videos daily, confirmed that vertical videos have up to 9x more completed views than horizontal ads.

4. Publishers are making room for vertical spaces

While many attribute the increased popularity of vertical video to social channels like Snapchat, Periscope, and Meerkat - the format has also recently been adopted by major video publishers like Facebook, YouTube, Flipboard, and even the Washington Post.

With the increased engagement via mobile devices, publishers have a fast growing supply of vertical video ad inventory to fill. Brands will therefore need to develop compelling vertical video ads using tools like Velocity, Flite’s new vertical video ad builder, to take advantage of the surplus of vertical ad space.