Vertical Video

Daily Mail, along with 10 other major media companies like Vice and ESPN, operate media networks on Snapchat that we populate with fresh content and 10 second video ads. Currently, these channels see hundreds of thousands if not millions of viewers each day.

When watching one of these networks, “Snapchatters” hold their phones vertically in their hands — the way that they typically use their phones. The whole notion of turning your phone on its side to watch a video is awkward and a bit of a hassle.

In fact, nearly 8 years after the introduction of the iPhone, whose vertical height has gone from 4.5 inches in the first release to 6.22 inches in the 6-Plus, it’s surprising how little vertical video has been created. (5.44 inch height on the regular iPhone 6). Most users have been stuck turning their phones sideways or watching video the size of two postage stamps floating in the middle of the screen.

This is largely a consequence of television and movie screens displaying horizontal video. And despite 8 years of vertical mobile viewing, creators have been slow to create video specifically for phones. Half of Youtube views, for example, are already mobile, and we can extrapolate that this is the case for most video viewing. That’s a lot of phone rotating.

On Snapchat Discover, the default content formatting is vertical. Here’s an example of what one of the Daily Mail article cover pages is formatted like in vertical mode on Snapchat Discover:

Article Cover Page on Daily Mail Snapchat Discover Channel

During this transitional period where publishers are getting comfortable making vertical video, some of the videos published in Discover have remained horizontal, including some of the advertisements that were repurposed from television. It has been an interesting opportunity to study the difference in engagement between horizontal and vertical video.

Unsurprising, Snapchat has told us that vertical video ads have up to 9x more completed views than horizontal video ads.

Here are some screen grabs from full screen vertical Burger King video ads that ran on the Daily Mail Snapchat Discover Channel over the past weekend:

Full Screen Burger King video ad on Daily Mail Snapchat Discover Channel
Full Screen Burger King video ad on Daily Mail Snapchat Discover Channel

Our findings have convinced us that we need to move even more aggressively to develop vertical content, especially on our Snapchat Discover channel, and that our industry must develop creative content for this mobile format.

We at Daily Mail, for one, commit that if you as a brand or agency want us to create a video for you as part of your buy on our Snapchat Discover channel, we will do it vertical and free of charge with a reasonable media buy.