Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel says vertical videos are better

Snapchat evan spiegel shane smith
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – OCTOBER 08: (L-R) Filmmaker George Lucas, VICE Co-Founder and CEO Shane Smith and Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel attend the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 8, 2014 in San Francisco, California. Michael Kovac/Getty Images

If you automatically turn your phone sideways to shoot video, then you’ve been doing it wrong, according to Snapchat founder and CEO Evan Spiegel.

Snapchat has been on a mission to encourage advertisers and content makers to “think vertically,” according to Adweek.

The idea is that when video is shot in landscape/horizontal and then viewed on a mobile phone, it only takes up a small space in the center of the screen. That’s not ideal, especially when mobile screens aren’t all that big in the first place. Yes, you can rotate your phone so the video you are viewing takes up the entire screen, but most people don’t bother.

In an interview published Sunday in Adweek, Spiegel said: “A lot of folks in the transition to mobile — which is still ongoing — were taking video that was formatted for livestream desktop and TV, and they were jamming that creative into a mobile feed. That makes sense in the evolution from desktop to mobile, but since we started on mobile, it’s a blank canvas … Our baseline was [we want] full screen. And in order to get full screen, you’ve got to do vertical video.”

Vertical videos don’t just look better, they perform better. Adweek says advertisers (it doesn’t mention which ones or how many) trialing marketing on Snapchat reported nine times more engagement when their ads were filmed in the vertical format.

The vertical format is so important to Snapchat that it has even inserted the word into its pitch to advertisers. Snapchat calls it the “3V” approach: Vertical, video, and views.

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