Social Chain launches 'industry's first' vertical video division

Nine:Sixteen: site is only viewable on mobile; Fisher
Nine:Sixteen: site is only viewable on mobile; Fisher

Move was inspired by Facebook's insights about changing user behaviour on mobile.

Social marketing agency Social Chain has launched what it claims is the industry’s first vertical video studio aimed at mobile-first content.

Nine:Sixteen will produce content exclusively in the 9:16 format that is used when people view videos on their smartphones vertically. Traditional video, as seen on TV, is shot in 16:9 aspect ratio.

The eight-person division is led by Jason Fisher, Social Chain’s group director of video, who said Facebook had inspired the agency to launch Nine:Sixteen. 

Fisher said: "When Chris Cox, chief product officer at Facebook, stated in 2018 that the stories format was on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends, we were driven to put an even greater focus on how we build our content around vertical platforms."

As well as becoming more adept at using the 9:16 dimensions, Social Chain says having a specialist team also allows the agency to focus on the psychology behind why audiences prefer to consume data this way.

Social Chain is now formally launching the division after working with Sky Bet to produce content that is only viewable through the brand’s Instagram stories. The agency said Sky Bet’s followers increased by 900% in the first five months of running the Instagram content.

Nigel Hockin, media manager at Sky Betting and Gaming, said: "We knew there was a massively untapped audience on Instagram with our following making up a fraction of our weekly users, so with the help of Social Chain we created 'Six of the Best', a weekly Instagram Story.

"Due to the engagement Instagram Stories gets, we can reach a much higher percentage of our followers organically than we can on other social channels, creating an efficient way to message existing customers. Users are also becoming much more receptive to swiping up through stories, enabling us to also drive traffic directly to site."

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