Are 360 Videos Worth Their While?

Of course, any proud member of the global marketing tribe understands and extols the value of video content. Actually, how about we turn that into a fancy statistic?

Alright, over half of the world’s marketing leaders believe video generates the best ROI versus other marketing tools. What’s more, backing up that is a myriad of other stats showing how much today’s customers love video content. Consequently, brands have been in a war of experimentation to determine the most unique and engaging forms of video.

In brief, 360 videos are those which free viewers to watch from all angles. Surprisingly, the idea of 360 videos isn’t as recent as you might think. In fact, it goes back to the 1950s. Back then, Disney created Circle-Vision 360; a Disneyland attraction that uses 9 screens and 9 cameras to display movies. Fast forward to 2015, better technologies became available and both Facebook and Youtube announced support for 360 videos. Shortly after, 360 hit its popularity peak and caught the eyes of marketers everywhere.

Today, enough time has passed since the world was properly introduced to 360 videos. That is, we have enough data to gauge the efficiency of 360 in marketing. Indeed, that’s exactly what we’re about to do now. To simplify the process, let’s look at the pros and cons of using 360 videos.

Pros

1- Immersive Nature

From the name alone, you can already tell that 360 videos offer exceptional immersion. Essentially, they put viewers in the driver’s seat. As such, viewers get to live the experience they’re observing as if they were there. In other words, they don’t watch through a camera’s lens, but through a director’s eyes. Hence, they get a significant degree of freedom.

As marketers, we can look at that as a gateway to personalized content. According to research, personalized marketing can increase sales by up to 20%.  Traditionally, brands use emails for personalized content. But, using 360 videos is way more appealing and can pay off hugely.

2- Novel Way to Engage

At Augmania, we frequently discuss novelty as a key factor to drive engagement. In general, the excitement we feel when we experience new things contributes to that. Plus, customers feel special and appreciated when brands use novel ways just to communicate with them. Thus, not only do customers enjoy the videos, but also become eager for new experiences with said brands. Applying that on 360 videos, research has shown that they increase consumers’ belief that brands have a “unique story to tell” by 12%. Coherently, they boost sales by 7%.

3- Ready for VR & AR Support

Mainly, VR experiences fall under two branches: 3D and real-time experiences. The former refers mostly to animated or gamified content while the latter are primarily forms of 360 videos. While less freeing than 3D VR, 360 VR is still handy, especially in filmmaking and live coverage.

Other than VR, marketers have also adopted AR as a medium for 360 videos. Far less tedious than VR, they use a simple yet slick AR trick. Particularly, they create AR portals! Basically, experiences get to walk through doors that transport them from their locations to the 360 videos. Massive brands like NBA and Netflix have deployed AR portals to great success.

Cons

1- Costly in Terms of Money, Effort, & Time

An omnidirectional camera and cool stitching software. Quick research might tell you that these are all you need to create 360 videos. To an extent, that’s true. However, there’s more to uncover here. First off, 360 cameras range from $100 (consumer level) to $10000. For some businesses, that could be a big investment.

Then, we move on to production. Alas, beginners have to devote time to learning techniques for shooting professional 360 videos. Accordingly, lots of Youtubing will be involved. Ditto, with editing. Overall, shooting 360 videos isn’t as easy to DIY as one would hope and it’s not cheap either.

2- Already Declining in Popularity?

Quite surprisingly, some evidence suggests the ship has already sailed on 360 videos. For instance, take a look at this chart from Google Trends:

Credit: Google Trends


Ever since the high peak in December 2016, Google searches for 360 videos have declined. While that sounds like bad news, it doesn’t have to be. As most brands shift their focus from 360 videos, one opportunist could use that to his/her utmost advantage. In this case, investing in a 360 video can help this brand stand out and score. For that same reason, print marketing is making a strong comeback today.

The Verdict

Truthfully, we wouldn’t ever want to tell you not to use a specific marketing tool. To us, that’s a violation of the marketing code. If there was such a marketing authority, then social media marketing and influencer marketing among others wouldn’t have existed. That’s why we believe that no tools, platforms, or strategies should be forbidden in marketing. Ever! Instead, what matters in marketing are ideas. And, what matter most about ideas is their originality and their alignment with marketing objectives.

So if you have that killer idea and think a 360 video is the right way to execute it, we say go for it! Yet what if you’re interested in 360 videos, but possess no ideas at the moment?  Well, we still have a gift for you. The following are our favorite creative examples of marketing using 360 videos:

Journey to the Edge of Space

Unfortunately for our generation, not all of us are going to try space travel. It’s not that accessible yet. However, we can experience this stunning 360 journey which starts on Earth and ends 90,000 feet into space.

Deadpool: 24/7, 360º a Year

For some, they have to own epic ideas and complement that with epic production to create viral 360 videos. For others, all you need is just the world’s favorite anti-hero goofing around in a wrecked bar. Certainly, that was the case for Marvel as they promoted the first Deadpool movie. Check it out here.

George at Asda’s Awesome Contest

Speaking of Deadpool, easter eggs are among fans’ favorite parts about superhero movies. Furniture retailer George at Asda Took notice of that and acted on it in an awesome 360 video. The video was a part of a contest which challenged the customer to find easter eggs amidst furniture items. The first customer to find them all won a voucher from the store.

Oreo’s Twist on Behind the Scenes

Don’t we all love when our favorite brands let us behind the scenes? Well, Oreo created this fantasy behind the scenes look of how Filled Cupcake Oreos are made. And it’s absolutely joyful!

A ‘Unique’ Perspective Courtesy of Colgate

Now, that’s one idea that wouldn’t be possible without 360 videos. As viewers, we watch from the perspective of oral bacteria as a dentist uses Colgate to clean the mess. Honestly, it’s an interesting watch. I assure you. And it has over 30 million views. Wonders of the internet.

Sold yet on 360 videos? Then, you should know one thing. AR can add tons more intrigue and fun to your videos! Sign up now to Augmania’s Web AR platform and feel free to use 360 videos, images, 3D models, audio, and much more in thrilling AR experiences!