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Q&A: Cheetah Mobile on Why Marketers Should Take Vertical Video Seriously

Q&A: Cheetah Mobile on Why Marketers Should Take Vertical Video Seriously

Cheetah Mobile's general manager of ad sales, Morden Chen, shares his insights into why marketers should make vertical video part of their strategies.

Portrait mode seems to be dominating the online video space with video-sharing giant YouTube championing the practice. As consumers' habits change, however, so do trends in technology. Vertical videos have become increasingly popular across mobile users as social media platforms like Snapchat and Twitter-owned Periscope picked it as their offering of choice.

PerformanceIN caught up with Morden Chen, general manager of ad sales at Cheetah Mobile, to ask how marketers can successfully ride vertical's wave of success and use it efficiently to make the most of it for their campaigns.aigns. 

Vertical video really is having its 15 minutes of fame. Publishers and marketers who once dismissed it seem to be changing their minds. Why do you think it has become so popular?

MC: Vertical video’s allure is in meeting users where they are; providing them with an experience where they don’t have to rotate their phones. Data shows that most users won’t rotate to watch a horizontal ad anyway.

Some apps, like games, do use the horizontal position. However, if you look at how most users hold their phones, it tends to be vertical.

Brands need to rethink their creatives because we’re used to the horizontal screen (e.g. film, television, desktop web). Cheetah Ads is working to solve that by providing its own editing and creative services to help brands transition their campaigns to vertical.

What, in your opinion, are the biggest opportunities it brings to performance marketing?

MC: What we’re seeing with our partners is that some want to run both performance and branding campaigns, so we’re rethinking our approach. We’re billing Cheetah Ads as ‘vertical video for all mobile moments’ because our inventory offers the whole range of user scenarios. We can engage with a customer when she/he is using our AppLock feature to unlock a popular social app like Facebook or Snapchat, then we can connect with the customer through our own social app Live.me and our partner musical.ly. We have inventory from the News Republic and our utility apps as well.

We understand that brands have their metrics they need to hit. What we want to do is to take a more holistic approach so that we can build campaigns that have performance aspects built in for the right format, but also take advantage of some of our branding units that can increase the effectiveness of the campaign.

Why do you think marketers should implement vertical video into their strategy?

MC: Marketers should implement vertical video because it’s the most engaging medium out there to reach a user right now.

Younger people are on their phones all the time and they’re connecting with the world through vertical video on their phones, so it’s on us as marketers to meet them there. We’ve found that customers' response to vertical videos is extremely positive, so that’s why we’re doubling down on it.

And are there any challenges they will face to make it work?

MC: One major challenge is the creative aspect. A lot of campaigns are already tooled for horizontal, so that’s why it isn’t easy for brands to just jump right into vertical. As I mentioned, that’s why we’re trying to soften the landing by providing editing services to make sure that vertical video is done well. This challenge isn’t going to resolve itself overnight. We have to step back and start thinking how to design creatives from scratch to take advantage of the vertical space.

Viewability has been an issue with video ads in the past, so that’s something we’re addressing. We’re building our vertical video formats to provide 100% guaranteed viewability. We’ve put a lot of work into finding the right time to show these full-screen video ads so that they’re consumer-friendly while also providing the maximum value for advertisers.

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Monika Komar

Monika Komar

A News and Features Reporter at PerformanceIN, Monika covers stories and developments in the fast-evolving world of performance marketing.

Monika studied Modern Languages at the University of Southampton and worked in marketing and communications before making her way over to PerformanceIN.   

Read more from Monika

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