US magazine Bloomberg Business Week reported that Snapchat users are up to nine times more likely to watch vertical videos than those shot in legacy landscape formats. In fact, the social messaging and content platform – which hosts 2 billion daily video views – strongly recommends that its advertisers provide vertical video.
Snapchat is not alone in betting on vertical for mobile. Mobile live-streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope shoot only in vertical format for ease of use. Meanwhile, a July 2015 update to YouTube's Android and iOS apps also introduced the ability to watch vertical video in full screen, making full integration of this option into YouTube's platform in the near future seem very likely.
Landscape video became standard not because it is creatively superior, but out of necessity: cinemas were the original video viewing location, and to maximise viewership, screens grew in size. As the human field of vision is wider than it is tall, screens big enough to command our field of vision are oriented in landscape.
By contrast, the majority of digital media is now consumed on mobile devices (Comscore, 2014) – which calls for vertical video formats. Even the biggest phablets don't fill users' entire field of vision, making one-handed consumer habits and vertical smartphone interfaces the more relevant concern when planning video content for mobile.
Mobile marketers need to explore how they can maximise the potential of vertical video, or they will be left behind the curve. American telecoms giant AT&T caught on to this trend early with Snapperhero, a Snapchat-native vertically shot scripted video series released in January 2015. It was rewarded with multiple nominations at this year's Streamy Awards recognising the best in online video.
You can find more on the latest developments in mobile in State of Mobile: Summer 2015.