Vertical Video Takeover

Vertical Video Takeover

Instagram and Snapchat changed the way we consume content on mobile, and now they’re doing it all over again with the launch of Instagram TV and Snapchat Originals.

Blurring the lines between YouTube, Netflix and their own native ‘story’ functionality, the two platforms aim to increase user retention with rich long-form video content ranging from 3 to 8 minutes in length. As with all prior content, these videos retain a portrait orientation for a streamlined user journey between app sections.

Snapchat’s approach with Originals is particularly unique however, as AR-integration is at the forefront of their strategy with ‘Show Portals’ – allowing users to swipe into and explore a 3D scene with interactive content.

It is important to note that as of writing, there are no in-app advertisements within Instagram TV whereas Snapchat is making bold strides to cycle in ads between all in-app content; a hotly contested move in the Snap community.

Despite users and brands alike demonstrating preference to traditional 16:9 video formats online for the past decade, the square – and now vertical – video movement has swiftly changed the landscape of dynamic content. Even Facebook, which crossed the 8 billion video views daily threshold earlier this year, has recently adopted native support for square and vertical video for both uploads and live feeds.

The numbers can’t be denied; 600 million active daily users between Instagram stories and Snapchat prove vertical video is here to stay.

Intriguingly a month on from the launch of Instagram TV, BBC, FC Barcelona and McLaren Racing have proven to be some of the more active brands within the space, front-loading longer videos with ‘rotate your device’ prompts to maintain a 16:9 experience.

Instagram doesn’t appear to be averse to this approach whereas Snapchat dedicating significant resources to original vertical content would suggest, much like with in-app ads, they’re taking strides in the opposite direction. We love a bit of healthy competition!

As we look forward to 2019, the next few months present a great opportunity to analyse Instagram TV and Snapchat Originals’ launch success – and how reactive these platforms can be as they continue to one-up the competition.

Time will tell how this will affect YouTube, but we’re very happy to grab our popcorn and tune in…