Vertical is the new horizontal in video advertising

by: Amy Blasco and Megan Condict

For more than a century—since the invention of the motion-picture film—people have watched live-action recordings on big, rectangular projection screens. Then, with the advent of television, that screen shrank to a smaller square shape, but maintained the traditional horizontal axis. Then with hand-held motion cameras came video, and the world changed.

Now video is being flipped on its head. Well, technically on its side, to a vertical axis—at least in the advertising world. Why? The short answer: cell phones.

Here’s the long answer: Cell phones have become arguably the most-used tool of modern society. People of all ages, all over the world, pull out their phones every day to keep in touch with friends and family via social media, watch videos and follow the news.

They clutch their smartphones in their fingers, “hot dog” style, scrolling through posts and stories from friends and family members that were recorded vertically from their phones. Imagine Cousin Karen’s video from the top of the Empire State Building or your BFF’s selfie with Santa. Occasionally, people will turn their phones “hamburger” style, but only to stream their favorite movies and TV shows on Netflix or rack up points playing Candy Crush.

The fact is, the way people view video has changed. To keep up with this trend, Verdin has started experimenting with vertical video ads.

“It’s totally different. It goes against the time-honored norms of videography and photography, and it changes the composition of the ad,” Art Director Megan Condict said. “Our design team is finding ways to reorganize copy and text to fit on that axis.”

This includes showing fewer words on the screen at a time to enlarge the text used in the ad and making it more readable from top to bottom, as opposed to the traditional left to right. Condict points to the creation of stories on Facebook and Instagram, as well as popular social media platforms SnapChat and TikTok, as major conduits for this change.

At Verdin, we believe effective marketing meets audiences where they’re at, even if that means shifting the way we look at design and messaging. How has technology changed the way you view marketing and advertising? Let us know on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love to hear from you!


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