Snapchat announced this week that the Discover feature, a series of curated daily stories from publishers such as Sky Sports, Cosmopolitan and Mail Online would move to the main Stories section of the app where it will co exist with stories from friends and other Snapchat users.
Vertical video on Snapchat – a growing value
The backlash from Snapchatters on social media has been swift and not unexpected but it points to a shift in the business and highlights the growing value of premium video and advertising for the platform.
The Discover updates are short, snackable pieces of content that combine text, photos and images into articles that can be consumed in just a few minutes each day. The content, or at least some of it, is curated specifically for Snapchat and targeted at the millennial demographic that use Snapchat (13-34 yr olds).
Giving Discover more visibility in the app will drive up daily consumption, which in turn drives revenue for Snapchat based on the video ads served within the Discover stories, but there is one thing missing – Vertical Video.
Vertical video on Snapchat – the mobile format
Evan Spiegel went on stage at Cannes Lions in June to talk about the 3V strategy for Snapchat – vertical video views. Vertical video on Snapchat drives higher engagement and is a perfect, mobile optimised video format. When was the last time you instinctively held your phone in landscape (horizontal) mode without “really” wanting to watch a video or get a better view of a photo?
Instagram and Vine recognised this years ago, restricting images and videos to a square format which can be viewed in Newsfeed view whilst scrolling ‘vertically’ through the app. Square photos were not a gimmick, they were a UX imperative based on user behaviour on mobile.
Vertical video is the natural extension of this. Most people, unprompted, will choose to shoot videos and photos on their phone in vertical mode and Snapchat sets this by default. As such, user generated Snapchat photos and videos are vertical and generate higher engagement.
Discover is different. Most of the content providers add a short video teaser in vertical mode which expands to show a standard 16:9 horizontal video with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Users have to watch with the black bars (not a good user experience) or turn their phone horizontally to view in full-screen (not a natural one).
It’s clear that if publishers want to get the best out of Discover they need to create bespoke, vertical videos for their daily stories that will drive higher engagement and more video views.
The same is true for brands that advertise on Snapchat. If you want the best engagement, and therefore the best ROI, you need to go vertical.
Vertical video on other social media
The trend for vertical video creation and engagement is not limited to Snapchat. Live streaming apps such as Periscope and Meerkat are vertical and Facebook supports full screen vertical video viewing – because so many of its users post vertical videos to their newsfeed created on mobile.
At Grabyo we are seeing accelerating demand for vertical video based on the success of Snapchat and Periscope and the massive growth in mobile video consumption – it’s an exciting challenge for the business and something we expect to become an integral part of the social video ecosystem.