Are Brands Bold Enough to Make Their Content Go Vertical?

Nov 20, 2019


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Article ImageThe world has gone vertical. This is not just a cliche, but a true fact of life. Look around you: the Story format, which has become the fastest-growing media experience, is now everywhere. It’s become the default choice of today’s visual generation for creating and consuming a piece of content.

With platforms like Instagram and Snapchat more popular than ever with global users and new interactive platforms like Tik Tok emerging to take the world by storm, it’s clear that social content is dominating user attention spans and shows no signs of slowing down. 

According to Facebook, a billion Stories are shared every day across its platforms Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp. 56% of users told Facebook they use Stories on three or more platforms at least once a week, and a majority of them report feeling a “part of larger community” as a consequence. 

The Story format was born in social networks -- it was first introduced by Snapchat in 2013 -- later adopted by Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and recently by LinkedIn. However, the format quickly spread across other technology platforms outside the walls of the dominant social network players Google AMP, YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify. TikTok and Spotify both have facilitated a vertical video watching experience popularized by artists such as Selina Gomez and Billie Eilish, and Adobe recently launched a new feature to Premiere Pro that allows users to easily and seamlessly create vertical videos 

As the social space has evolved, so too has advertiser interest grown in becoming a part of these platforms, sponsoring slides that swipe up to their sites, and vertical videos. The latter has become today’s fastest-growing and most profitable video advertising format, and as vertical video matures, their influx into Stories creates the growth that platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat see in their earnings.  

Facebook decided to research it and came up with data that has proved that the Story is one of the most effective advertising formats available. According to social network, 50% of users surveyed say they have visited a website—and 31% have gone to a store—to buy a product or a service as a result of having seen it appear in Stories. 

Zooming out to vertical formats in general, 82.5% of visitors to video-centric websites are holding their phones in portrait mode, according to Facebook, so addressing them with vertical content is well worth the effort. In addition, the vertical format has proved to be very efficient in terms of ROI: it has a 90% higher completion rate compared to horizontal, according to MediaBrix, sees a 33% percent lift in brand awareness, and a nearly 12% lift in consideration over their horizontal counterparts.

However, vertical experiences are still within the confines of social networks. When brands spend a fortune on Stories, which stays inside their social accounts, it means high costs and Stories that disappear after 24 hours (unless placed in the Highlights bar). It is time to take the Story format outside, set it free, and make it an available tool for multiple uses.

After proving to be an effective and highly efficient advertising channel, Stories should become a bigger part of the marketer’s playbook. Looking into the pattern of content consumption today - 73% of Snapchat Gen Z audience consume content via Stories, compared with 70% of Instagram’s, according to VibMod -- it is now a must-have strategy. 

Brands should capitalize on including Stories in their channels to address the needs of today’s visually-oriented generation, which will help create 1:1 communications that are scalable, and easily shared across all their marketing channels. 

For more than a decade, social networks have been innovating mainstream media experiences. From the presentation of the ‘like’ and social share buttons, through the launch feed stream to the Story and the Story Highlights of our times, it’s Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and a few more that carve experiences for the rest of us -- including establishments such as publishers or brands. 

Stories have proven to be not only the fastest growing media experience but also the most powerful marketing machine around. This versatile storytelling format can tell a single narrative, or jump between narratives, and address each stage of the marketing funnel: top, mid or bottom funnels. It can educate on a topic, showcase a product while mixing in videos, text, and branded features. And it can create a strong call to action: read more, go-to destination site or go to a shopping cart. It’s already mobile-friendly, vertical, colorful, interactive, and video-oriented. It’s perfect to generate data, derive new leads, and attract new audiences. 

Stories are here to stay -- even though they tend to disappear after 24 hours. 


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