Andrew Buckman, managing director EMEA at Sublime Skinz talks to M&M Global about the importance of vertical video and why clients needs to know more about it.
With the modern consumer owning on average three connected devices, users are now experiencing ads across multiple mediums from TV to tablets. And with this screen diversification has come a significant change in how ads are viewed.
In recent years apps such as Snapchat and Instagram have gained sizeable influence over consumers and their behaviour; especially those aged under 25, who spend at least 30 minutes per day using both apps.
As a result young consumers are so used to viewing ads and content vertically they automatically do the same elsewhere – with recent studies suggesting 72% of 20-36 year-olds don’t rotate smartphones to watch horizontal video.
So what does all this mean for advertisers?
In short they can no longer afford to build ads in one size anymore. The longer answer is that advertisers should be paying attention to growing trends such as cross-device content consumption and vertical video and adjusting ad creative accordingly.
It’s time for advertisers to address growing consumer trends exploring and meeting the demands of the key cohort behind this shift: millennials.
Meeting millennial expectations
As the generation that witnessed the dawn of the web millennials are the forerunners of our digitally focused world, so from the start they have played a major role in making many innovations integral to modern life, particularly mobile. Not only have they pioneered smartphone dependency — nearly half check devices more than 50 times per day, compared to 15 times for baby boomers — but millennials have also driven usage evolution. Research shows US consumers kick-started the growth of viewing video on smartphones and more recently 85% have stated a preference for watching video via apps rather than browsers. Plus there’s the aforementioned partiality for vertical viewing.
Consequently millennials now expect marketers to follow their lead; monitoring shifts in the way they consume content, and adapting campaigns to match. So, if marketers want ads to effectively engage millennials they must develop versatile creative that can instantly adjust to popular formats, such as vertical video, to ensure they fit numerous screens.
Building for mobile
The first step towards delivering the flexible ads millennials want is recognising the days of repurposing across channels are gone. Ads made for traditional media, such as TV, don’t translate well to the environments millennials favour — including video-centric social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat — simply because they are the wrong size. For instance most TV and digital video content is shot in a 16:9 aspect ratio, while the ratio for vertical video is 2:3. So in cropping existing ads to suit vertical preferences, there is a strong chance brands will lose crucial elements of text, imagery and messaging; thereby providing a poor quality experience for viewers that diminishes returns, and positive brand perception.
Marketers need to stop treating mobile as an afterthought by scaling down ads designed for much larger screens into smaller dimensions. Instead, they should start constructing creative that is tailored for the unique specifications of every screen including mobile. In this way they can ensure ads are contextually appropriate and offer engaging experiences, whichever direction millennial viewing inclinations take.
Though an age-old advertising staple, storytelling, has become rather a lost art of late — and nowhere more so than in the digital sphere. All too often audiences are showered with generic and intrusive ads that have no linking thread and with research finding millennials crave authenticity this lack of consistent narrative is a significant issue.
For marketers seeking to capture interest it’s essential to generate ads that not only suit their environment, but also form part of a story audiences want to engage with. And key to achieving this is creating a gripping visual story — such as the eighties’ TV ad romance of Nescafé Gold Blend drinkers Tony and Sharon, which kept viewers hooked for 12 years — and ensuring seamless cross-device flow.
As they switch devices users don’t want to repeatedly see the same messages or video clips. So to tell compelling stories that keep moving forward marketers must leverage tools that bring deep insight and connected stories together such as programmatic creative. By enabling campaign sequencing programmatic helps marketers protect campaigns from messaging overlaps; utilising consumer data to plot a chart for when and where instalments of video stories should be served to make sure stories maintain momentum across devices.
While reconfiguring advertising approaches to suit millennials — and their appetite for social video content — might seem daunting the rewards are more than worthwhile. According to the latest Facebook report formats such as vertical video are already three times more efficient compared to standard square video (1:1) when it comes to CPM rates. And it’s important to remember where millennials tread their successors are not far behind. So in meeting the demands of the current demographic marketers will also be winning the hearts of minds of the next: generation Z.
Learn about programmatic, video, millennials and gen z at this year Festival of Media Global event in Rome.