Study: Vertical Mobile Ads Outperform Horizontal in Brand Receptivity



As advertisers increasingly pour money into mobile display, a new study explores how screen orientation affects consumer engagement and users’ rush to find the “X” button.

In a mobile-first world, what’s appears on a tiny hand-held screen – and how that content is oriented – can make a big difference when it comes to branding impact.

A new study by MediaBrix reveals that vertical ads outperform horizontal ads on mobile across key brand receptivity metrics, and that ads embedded within the app experience led to greater consumer engagement. These findings suggest a somewhat obvious conclusion – that advertisers should favor seamless ad experiences in which users aren’t required to pivot their phone or exit an app to view content.

The research, fielded in conjunction with neuromarketing experts, measured the efficacy of two popular mobile video ad solutions: full page interstitial ads – those pesky ads that occupy the entire screen within a website – and embedded/opt-in ads, which appear within stages of an app experience and offer app-related rewards in exchange for engagement.

When it comes to these ad formats, the study found that a vast majority of consumers do not re-orient their phones to view horizontal ads. Conversely, the completion rate for vertical ads is 90 percent. Given these statistics, it’s not surprising that more than 90 percent of the most popular iOS apps by users have a fixed vertical orientation.

Horizontal ads are more likely to be ignored, and they are also more likely to have people rushing to find the “X” button and return to their web browsing or app experience. Despite these trends, MediaBrix reports that the vast majority of mobile ads are delivered horizontally, indicating a broader tension between creativity and efficiency in digital display.

Despite concerns around so-called “banner blindness” and the rise of ad-blockers among Millennials, marketers have continued to increase investment in digital display. Per eMarketer, a vast majority (70 percent) of mobile display in the U.S. is purchased programmatically.

While brand messages will always be important, advertisers have learned that targeting and delivery format are critical to consumer engagement in mobile. Reaching the right person at the right time – and in the most receptive format – can be as important to the process as what’s in the ad itself.

Want to learn more about the future of vertical videos in advertising? Watch “Vertical, Live, Virtual: Forecasting the Future of Content” from Social Media Week in Los Angeles by subscribing to SMW Insider.

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