IAB To Brands: Here's How To Embrace Vertical Video

The Interactive Advertising Bureau wants marketers to embrace vertical video, and it is ready to show them the best way to do so.

At the IAB Video Symposium, which kicks off today in New York, the organization will formally unveil its best practices report for vertical video.

The organization exclusively previewed its report to Digital News Daily.

According to research from IAB, 90% of smartphone screen time is in the vertical (also called portrait) orientation.

A number of apps, notably Snapchat, musical.ly, Facebook and Instagram, have embraced the portrait orientation. As many of these apps bulk up their video content, the amount of vertical video advertising is expected to rise accordingly.

“For brands, vertical video represents the container for which they need to understand how to tell effective stories, in less time, down to 10 seconds or even five- or six-second ads,” Eric John, deputy director of the IAB Video Center of Excellence, told Digital News Daily. “All this points to a need for best practices for user experience and how to tell the best stories in that format.”

One key finding is that vertical video takes up 100% of a phone’s screen when playing, compared to about 25% of the screen when a regular horizontal video is being played vertically. Users may rotate their phone to landscape mode for content they want to watch, but are less likely to do so for an ad.

IAB recommends that brands think about shooting ads specifically in a vertical format, or at least shooting with a vertical format in mind, by keeping the talent or action in the center of the frame.

In addition, the shorter the ad the better, as some of the most ones s are six seconds long.

“There are certainly costs to shooting the format in vertical, and also costs in editing and reformatting,” John said. “Our suggestion is that brands should be testing different lengths and assessing how these different platforms and app experiences impact them.”

The traditional video ad won’t be going away, particularly when it comes to longer-form content viewed in landscape mode. However, as users embrace vertical apps and video, the ad experience needs to be on top of that trend.

“The reality is that most creative you see in mobile apps, they are still classic 30- and 15-second TV commercials being delivered on mobile, so that is actually the bigger issue," John said. “It is not only these two formats existing side by side, it is actually understanding that device and context and platform-specific creative is the big message, that is actually how people need to orient their thinking.

“It requires cost, it requires strategic thinking, but consumers expect that, especially users of these vertically designed apps,” he added. “When you see an ad that has been repurposed and not well-edited, it is not a feather in the cap for a brand that is doing that. There is great upside in creative, really immersive ads in this full-screen way.”

You can read the full best practices report here.

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