November 30, 2016
Truth is, when you ask marketers what 360 degree or VR advertising is, you will get a motley of responses:
360 Advertising is too futuristic of an approach to make business sense today
360 & VR marketing are meant to be relegated to event based installations such as at Comic Con or at gaming arcades. You’ve been on the VR roller coaster ride too, haven’t you? (pun intended)
360 marketing is going to completely take over how businesses brand themselves and become an all-encompassing approach to both marketing and advertising
360 marketing is the same as 360 advertising and essentially comprises the videos you now see on Facebook and Youtube
Let’s delve into why these statements are not entirely valid.
A massive advantage that 360 degree advertising offers is the opportunity to create content that will completely immerse your audience. With 360 degree content, you are offering your prospects and buyers the ability to look up, down, left, right, behind, around – essentially, anywhere they want and be surrounded by content on every side. Virtual reality, as an additional step, requires a VR headset to experience the same or an even more intensified 360 degree content inside a VR headset.
This dependency on head mounted displays (HMDs) stumps marketers immensely, because VR headsets have not reached critical mass yet.
If this is the reason you are holding back, then you will be happy to know that a headset is not required to experience 360 content!
Immersive 360 content can be enjoyed on just about any device – smartphone, tablet or desktops without a VR headset. Infact, millions of people around the world are already consuming 360 content on Facebook, Youtube and other channels.
360 degree and virtual reality are brimming with potential, and assuming that this opportunity can only be harnessed in the future, is erroneous and misleading. The current marketing environment is in fact, a great time for advertisers and publishers to grab the first-mover advantage, by diving headlong into adopting 360 and VR. Already, initial studies are showing that brands that have chosen to be tech forward with the usage of 360 & VR are seeing great results with their consumers.
In face, starting early can also prove to be an advantage for forward-thinking brands, giving them better consumer and PR reception. When the technology starts to become more mainstream, the world may just become too inundated with 360 degree content, thereby making it hard for the brand to stand out.
By now, most users have gotten their first taste of 360 and VR ads via social media platforms such as Facebook and Youtube. True, both companies have invested billions of dollars in 360 and VR technologies, and are in fact, leading the way in transforming 360 and VR into consumable content.
But, truth be told, 360 videos found on these platforms do not even remotely do justice to the level of engagement they can achieve within a 360 and/or VR advertising experience using 360 images and interactive hotspots.
What we currently see on Facebook are user generated 360 videos from technology forward Facebook users who are quick to show 360. A few brands have been posting their videos as well, but again, like we said earlier, these barely manage to leverage the level of interactivity that 360 videos can offer.
And finally, despite how big Facebook and Youtube are, these platforms claim only a small part of ad dollars. Advertisers are looking to distribute their content across various other channels, in order to maximize their ROI and also make their expenditure more cost-effective.
And lastly, Facebook and Youtube present their own constraints such as, requiring specific gear in order to view the videos. If you want to enjoy a 360 video on Facebook, then you will require a Samsung Gear or Oculus Headset. Facebook 360 videos are currently not compatible with Google Cardboard, nor can they be viewed on mobile. Youtube has similar drawbacks as well.
Most people experience 360 and VR at high-powered events such as ComicCon, Cannes, or the Sundance Film Festival. Typically, these experiences are crafted with the intention of creating full blown effects, and make use of special hardware such as motion chairs, wind machines, vibrating floors and so on, to deliver incredible impact. These events showcase high-end experiential 360 and VR movies that are meant to be truly immersive and are created for a high-end computing and VR system, such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
While these full-fledged 360 and VR experiences are extremely entertaining in an almost shocking way, it is not economically feasible for brands to replicate them for marketing purposes.
As immersive 360 and VR start to gain popularity, we expect rapid innovation to happen. Marketers now have an formidable weapon in their arsenal to attract, engage, convert and delight both prospective buyers and existing customers.
Brands now have the power to employ 360 degree content to create highly personalized engagement with their consumers. It goes without saying that both 360 content and VR is here to stay.
Download your free eBook: An Introduction to 360 Degree Videos