Instagram just launched a vertical video option that shows the format continues to take over the mobile viewing experience.
Facebook’s photo-sharing app announced today that videos can now be seen in what’s known as portrait mode, and there is a new widescreen option, as well, which will take the platform away from its square roots. The new formats also apply to photos.
The display styles open a range of creative possibilities for brands and agencies that already are active on the platform. Instagram said wide-screen and vertical imagery have access to all the same filters.
“The square format has been and always will be part of who we are. That said, the visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to,” Instagram wrote today in its blog post announcing the new options.
The company touted the landscape format even more than the potential for vertical video, saying it would enable users to share more cinematic-style clips. Videos are limited to 15 seconds on Instagram, and they have become a popular advertising option.
“We’re especially excited about what this update means for video on Instagram, which in widescreen can be more cinematic than ever,” Instagram wrote in the post.
Vertical video does have its detractors, especially among film purists, but it is more prevalent with more viewing being done on phones. Snapchat is among the early advocates of the style, because the app claims it leads to higher engagement with more users sticking around to the end for videos that don’t require tilting the phone on its side.
Nick Cicero, CEO of digital marketing agency Delmondo, thinks that advertisers will adopt vertical and widescreen for paid posts on Instagram. His firm specializes in marketing on the photo-sharing app and Snapchat.
“This is a clear signal that video on Instagram is a key part of Facebook’s overall video strategy,” Cicero said. “I believe we will start seeing vertical videos as ad buys on Instagram, and also landscape ads, landscape focusing especially around the entertainment business.”
Not everyone believes portrait viewing is the messiah of mobile ads, however. “Sure advertisers will use it, but the whole vertical video is overhyped,” said one agency executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Still, today, brands were quick to post wide and vertical images, experimenting with the new format freedom. Taco brand Ortega, tequila maker Don Julio, Mountain Dew and Ruby Tuesday were just some of the Instagram marketers trying it out.