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Why brands should flip mobile content on its head to stand out

D&AD partners with Instagram to strengthen storytelling across the creative industry. For D&AD Festival 2018, Instagram's Kay Hsu shared how to embrace storytelling on mobile channels. She also discussed storytelling with Seb Edwards, one of the UK's leading commercial directors on The Adobe Stage.

For more creative inspiration and the opportunity to get up close and personal with the world’s best design and advertising, get your tickets to D&AD Festival.

Since the dawn of cinema in 1895, we've been watching horizontal screens - at home, at work and in theatres. But with the rise of mobile - vertical has become the new way to view video, people hold their phones vertically almost 98% of the time (Mobile Marketer). And it's opening up creative new ways for brands to engage their consumers. 

Last year, it was estimated that people spent an average of 29 minutes a day watching video on a mobile, compared to just 19 minutes a day on a fixed device (Zenith Media, 2017). Think about how you use a phone - portrait is the default orientation. This means that brands need to think vertical to reflect the ways that consumers are naturally consuming their content. 

Brands that caught on to the vertical video trend early are already seeing results. For example, Mercedes Benz was one of the first to experiment with ads in Instagram Stories. Making the most of the vertical frame, Mercedes Benz used stacking and split screen techniques to show off its C-Class Cabriolet to full effect. Not only was the effect visually stunning, it led to a nine point increase in ad recall, and a three point lift in message association with its Stories-exclusive tagline.

The Mercedes Benz example shows us that vertical video presents an incredible opportunity for creative experimentation. The full-screen format offers an immersive, engaging experience, building stronger audience connections. 

But this is a rapidly growing space, with over half of advertisers purchasing vertical video ads last year (IAB Ad Spend Report) - a figure we expect to rise in 2018 - brands will need to approach creative content from new angles to compete for consumer attention.

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