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Idealog® is a monthly “hot take” on the topics of branding, business and culture. Eidos® is a monthly deep-dive into persistent brand challenges and solutions.

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Viewing Vertically

Staying ahead of media trends means being ready for anything to changeeven the aspect ratio in which your visual content is delivered.

As we all brace for the inevitable and, as yet, unknowable revolution in content delivery driven by the emergence of virtual reality and 3D forms such as offered by Oculus, it’s intriguing to look at how disruptive even a small shift in viewer habits can be. You probably weren’t tracking shifting trends in aspect ratios. But they dictate the delivery of content and provide new opportunities for branding.

Instagram just announced it will finally allow users to post pictures in classic “portrait” and “landscape” forms, instead of the 1:1 square it has insisted on so far—a mighty change. Elsewhere, smartphone users are bored with turning their devices on their sides, so the “vertical” image form is becoming king. Trendsetters Snapchat, Meerkat, and Twitter owned Periscope are persuading advertisers to shoot ads for this “vertical” format, saying these ads are viewed to the end 9x more frequently than horizontal ones. While Twitter sticks to its horizontal image ratio, and others see the vertical format as undesirable, annoying, or something to be fixed, vertical is catching on fast. Even the venerable New York Times shot the latest Justin Bieber video to fit both horizontal and vertical screens.

Creatives will struggle to keep up, rethinking content up, down, and all around especially for VR and 3D. How are you managing content to make the most of a world that refuses to lie down? 

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