Netflix app update to bring vertical video previews on smartphones. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Netflix has announced that it will be bringing previews for its shows and movies to its mobile app. The Netflix app update will arrive in April and will include 30-second video previews that are played vertically on smartphones.

Netflix’s vice president of product Todd Yellin confirmed the new app update during a press event on Wednesday in Los Gatos, California, as first reported by Variety. The new vertical video previews will be present in the Netflix app’s home screen as circular icons that look very similar to Instagram Stories.

The icons will show the title and an image for the show or movie, and when users press on the icons, it will play a 30-second clip as a vertical preview. Users can also swipe through the circular icons to explore more titles. Likewise, users can also swipe on the video previews itself to watch the previews for the other titles.

This type of feature has been part of Netflix’s TV app interface for some time now, but this is the first time that the company has ever attempted to bring it to its mobile app. Although the new feature will roll out to everyone next month, some users might already be seeing it right now if they’re part of the “Test Participation” feature on their Netflix account settings, according to MacRumors.

Netflix says that it will be presenting up to 75 of these previews at launch, which will include the streaming service’s original shows and other licensed titles. Yellin says that previews will be available for hundreds of titles. Apparently, the company’s editing team in Los Angeles is the one creating these custom-made 30-second vertical video previews.

Netflix says that it’s looking for ways to become more innovative with its mobile app since a considerable amount of its subscribers are watching on their smartphones. The company says that around 20 percent of all Netflix views happens on mobile, while 50 percent of all of its members use mobile to access Netflix on a monthly basis.

Yellin said that Netflix has invested a lot in mobile and cited the launch of mobile downloads as one of the major improvements. The executive also pointed out that the company enabled higher-resolution streaming for download speeds as slow as 200kbps through codec optimization.

Netflix is experimenting and testing a lot of other features for its mobile app, but not all of them will see the light of day. Yellin even admitted that they even tried adding social features to the Netflix app for years, but it didn’t pass the company’s test. Netflix also tried making its own social network, but only 2 percent of its users participated in the test. After that, the company experimented with letting its users share their viewing behavior on Facebook, but that also didn’t work.