Like most people, I have dropped my phone on my face while looking at it in bed. Chances are I was trying to watch a piece of content on my Facebook timeline which was in the wrong format. This lead to a lot of squinting, some shuffling, some dropping, and then the embarrassing pain as my phone struck my nose. If I were an expert in predicting how new technology may effect user in the future, I may have seen this coming. Unfortunately, even though I do keep my ear to the ground, I am not.
The use of incorrect formatting started 10 years ago on the 29th of June 2007. This was the day Apple launched the first iPhone. Yes, there were other multimedia phones on the market, all boasting high quality screens and fine capabilities when it came to showing media, but at the end of the day they were all phones that did a little extra. The iPhone flipped this. It was a mini computer that happened to make phone calls. I know you are all shouting about how there were devices like this pre iPhone but nothing broke through to the non-tech user like this product. The problem was that due to the shape of the human face it had to have a speaker at one end and a microphone at the other, meaning the screen had to be vertical.
As the years passed we saw this style of device consume the world. Even my 89 year old grandmother now has a smartphone. This means all the people who regularly consume content now have another screen on which to do so. You would think as intelligent advertising folk we would use our years of research and insight to track where our content is being consumed. Luckily we are intelligent advertising folk so we do track where our content is being viewed and it turns out that in 2017 85% of the content we produce is now being watched on those vertical screens. Unfortunately the majority of us haven’t managed the next step which is creating content specifically for those screens. We see a decent budget and immediately see our names in bright lights. We want that cinema release of our next ad, oooh imagine this film with anamorphic bars on it. Don’t imagine that. Imagine stopping any given millennial or Gen Z mid scroll to watch a piece of content you have produced. You have broken through, you stood out, you are getting your message across. You, have, just, advertised.
The change is simple, but the effects are remarkable. Just shoot for the screen where people will be watching your content. This article is vertical, and yes, it will look great on a phone.