The vertical video trend buzz began in 2015 after the launch of Snapchat Discover. Two years later, Snapchat Discover has become a primary focal point in premium publishers’ video strategies – and vertical video has evolved into a standard format embraced by multiple platforms with mobile on the mind. And now, with the launch of our new set of vertical video creation tools, the Wibbitz Control Room platform now supports the production of vertically formatted videos, complete with text overlay, transitions, and effects, in under 6.8 minutes. By enabling publishers to take any story and create a video for it in multiple styles and formats, our platform has become a turnkey solution for multiplatform video distribution – which, regardless of approach, should be the number one priority for publishers in 2017 and beyond.
According to Mediashift, 76% of viewers between the ages of 18-29 are already watching video on their smartphones. This number will only go up as Gen Z comes of age – video is expected to account for 75% of all global mobile traffic by 2020. Publishers are already hiring teams of up to 10 people to create video content tailored to mobile platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. However, the team-per-platform model isn’t very cost effective, and will be less so as more and more platforms are introduced to the market. In order to make the most out of existing resources, publishers should be proactively exploring how to develop content that works equally as well on their mobile site and social media channels. Here's why vertical video will be the key piece to making that possible as publishers work to develop an efficient and effective multiplatform strategy...
Engagement on Social
It’s no surprise that more social video platforms are jumping on board with vertical video since the success of Snapchat Discover (we’re looking at you Instagram). For publishers looking to reach millennials, Snapchat has become a gold mine – and those lucky 23 that have been granted a coveted Discover channel are reaping in the benefits. Cosmopolitan’s channel has generated 19 million monthly views on average, which is only 1 million less than their website’s monthly unique visitors. Facebook’s mobile news feed and Snapchat-inspired Instagram Stories are newcomers to the mobile-friendly video format, but are already noticing results. Mashable’s first Instagram Story generated more than double the unique visitors than an average video posted to Instagram, and more brands are expected to follow suit this year. While the numbers of viewers don’t quite stack up to Snapchat so far, videos published to Instagram Stories require less curation and production, and can actually drive traffic back to a publisher’s site.
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Driving Traffic from Social
After years of forcing publishers to implement “link in bio” workarounds, Instagram has finally added a linking feature to their vertical-shaped Stories – perhaps to atone for their parent company’s algorithmic traffic jam last year. Instagram Stories that have implemented the links have already generated a 15-25% swipe-through rate, and this rate increases when used on a video rather than an image due to time on-screen. This unique opportunity for publishers comes at a time when mobile accounts for a third of all website traffic – which is expected to increase tenfold as mobile user experience improves (and vertical video becomes the norm).
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User Experience on Mobile Sites
As social video platforms like Snapchat continue to push preferences towards vertical video, publishers like Hearst and Washington Post are looking into how they can create a similar video experience on their mobile sites. These publishers have spent most of their focus on vertical video ads thus far – and with 90% completion rates and 3 times better CPMs, who could blame them. However, publishers need to place just as much emphasis on using vertical video for editorial purposes, to improve the user experience on their mobile sites. By incorporating vertical videos into their mobile site articles, publishers will undoubtedly see increased time-on-site from audiences coming from those platforms in the first place.