360° Video: The Future Of Content Marketing

REWIND.co's Sol Rogers talks about 360 degrees and how it's already changing the marketing game.

The landscape of content marketing has changed significantly over the years. In today’s fast-paced world, video provides the flexibility and relevance that on-the-go consumers want; 360° video has taken this to a whole new level.

360° video has the potential to relay much more powerful advertising messages than linear communication which uses text, still images, and traditional video. With 360° content, consumers take the messages to heart in deeper and more long lasting ways.

“Access to VR experiences is surging. It’s getting easier to try it out, driven in large part by both VR180 and 360 formats. It’s a gateway to larger experiences.” Explained to Abigail Posner, Head of Strategy for The Zoo at Google. “People try this flavor, dive into new worlds, pique their senses, and then want to try more and more complex kinds of immersive experiences. So brands need to start playing around with the unique VR story framework, blaze new trails and truly show what they’re about to their users. It’s a new way to make a deep impression about what the brand stand for.”

Brands have a revolutionary new format to use, but does it actually drive more engagement than standard video advertising? Or is it just a passing fad that will soon make its way into the technology graveyard?

360° Advertising Is More Effective

 With most people encountering a barrage of advertising on a daily basis, it’s getting harder and harder for brands to cut through the noise. Initial experiments with 360° video have demonstrated that this format might be exactly what brands need to push through. Hong Kong Airlines found its 360° ad was 35 times more effective than the equivalent traditional ad. James Hill, a commercial director at video advert marketplace Teads, found click through rates for 360° commercials were double what they were for standard video. The adding layer of interactivity that 360° video provides is engaging and for some, there is still a novelty factor in play.

A 360° trailer for the movie Fifty Shades Darker performed ten times better than a static control advert, with viewers staying in the virtual ballroom experience for an average of two minutes. Broadway musical School of Rock launched a 360° video to promote ticket sales during the Christmas season, and it was viewed 1 million times in just three days. Thanks to this, traffic to the show’s ticketing website increased by an impressive 160%, while traffic to the show’s website increased by 550%.

Google recently conducted an in-depth study into the differences between 360° advertising and its standard video counterpart. They found that 360° advertising didn’t manage to increase an advert’s viewership, but that those who did watch were more likely to click through to see a longer version of the video. They were also more likely to share it, subscribe to the channel and view other videos by the brand. This increased level of engagement can be traced back to interactivity – viewers know a 360° video will be a better experience for them, so they stick around for longer, as they enjoy being able to control what they see. It’s no surprise that these factors lead to tangible results.

360° Advertising Can Be More Practical

In September, John Lewis became the first UK brand to advertise a homeware collection in 360 degrees on Facebook. The advert gave viewers the chance to view goods from all angles, attempting to recreating the shopping experience at home. Hilton achieved similar results when they created a 360° advertisement for a Barbados holiday, taking users closer to the destination than any brochure ever could.

The implications for 360° advertising in the travel sector are clear, particularly given its ability to transport users to locations before they actually visit it. However, there’s another even more important reason brands are making use of 360° advertising for their businesses.

John Lewis Busters Garden_1360° Advertising Positions Brands As Industry Leaders

While 360° video technology is still relatively new in the advertising space, it is important for brands with one eye on the future to get involved. Marriott was hailed as a “forward-looking and relevant brand within the travel market” after its 360° advertising campaign was launched. It is essential for any brand that wants to be seen as creative and innovative to appear as such in its advertising, as well as its products.

360° advertising can also help companies outdo their competitors in revenue. With digital ad revenue outpacing traditional ad revenue, 360° advertising will become more commonplace soon and its value will become stronger, for viewers and brands alike.

With numerous examples of how 360° video can help drive engagement, increase shareability, and position brands as industry leaders, I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon. In fact, this is just the beginning.

You can read Sol’s previous piece for VRFocus about AR’s position versus VR in 2017 here.

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