Facebook Jumps on the Rise of Vertical Video

April 4, 2017 | Share this article

Facebook Jumps on the Rise of Vertical Video – Caity Parker, Mediabrands Society.

Video has long been one of Facebook’s big bets for the future of the platform. Mark Zuckerberg himself has said he sees the network being mostly video within the next five years, and there’s even been an update to the all-powerful algorithm to push Facebook Live more in users’ feeds.

Throughout all this, the creative guidance for Facebook video remained relatively unchanged: design for sound off, make the first three seconds as impactful as you can, and get the brand message in there early. Tests wait for no man, however, and Facebook have been busy dipping their toe in the water with all kinds of things: sound on, pre-roll ads against premium content, and now, vertical video.

Playing sound automatically, unless your phone’s on silent, and displaying a larger video format that takes up the full screen are two amendments that have passed Facebook’s litmus test. Their own internal tests have shown that the new aspect ratio was received well by users, and ad recall increased as a result. People enjoy the more immersive experience that vertical provides, so it’s only natural that brands would look to capitalise on this.

It makes sense for Facebook to play sound by default if users have indicated that they would be happy to hear it at that moment in time, but there will still be a lot of users who have their phones on silent. With this in mind, designing for sound-off is still the best way to go for anyone working on a video for Facebook. But now that we have a whole new aspect ratio to play with, creating the perfect piece of content is about more than adding subtitles and reordering the frames to show the product first. That doesn’t mean that you can’t adapt long-form video content into a compelling Facebook video anymore, but it does mean that doing so requires a bit of planning to make sure key moments are filmed in such a way so that everything valuable remains in shot once the aspect ratio is changed. Indeed, the similarity with Snapchat’s Snap Ads format might help advertisers do both a little better.

For more information about vertical video, check out the Facebook blog.