Vertical videos have been dubbed the future of digital advertising but the same may not be the case in the UK. On the surface it may appear like vertical videos have taken off with big brands like News UK, Hearst and the BBC not to mention social edit platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat adopting this format. However the reality on the ground is majority of UK publishers are yet to get on the vertical video band wagon or are slow to create vertical campaigns according to UK agencies and publishers. As of now, nonsocial vertical video inventory is mostly bought directly from publishers, on private marketplaces or self-serve through various platforms.
“It’s a chicken-and-egg situation,” said Chris Mumford, trading director at M&C Saatchi Mobile. “Smaller publishers will need to see ad dollars pushing into vertical video formats to justify making the technical changes on their side, and advertisers are always looking for scale. More content is needed to give advertisers space and scale to play. Low scale obviously drives up the cost of finite inventory. It’s a self-perpetuating mess.”
“I believe we’ll get to a place where we just call it ‘video’ and ‘horizontal video’ in the next few months,” said Fariya Faiyaz, account director at Dentsu Aegis mobile agency Fetch, adding that the number of vertical videos brands see in social platforms will drive this.
However like many other campaigns, vertical video presents a challenge which is how publishers and agencies can prove that vertical video ads bring in more revenue that other ad formats.
“I haven’t seen specific case studies, apart from in the film entertainment sector, that validates vertical video drives X amount of sales or this much brand uplift versus horizontal video,” she added.
The lack of clear campaign success has pushed brands to only test out vertical videos in order to see if there is a boost in their brand success.
“The intentions are there,” said Holden. “From a video-delivery point of view, nonvertical is good enough. It’s not ticking the box for investment versus impact yet.”