If you wear eyeglasses, you must have been involved in this scenario several times before. You’re trying to play with a toddler and immediately the toddler goes for your glasses. Depending on the toddler in play, what follows could be benign or absolutely catastrophic. Regardless, this ever-occurring situation makes one thing crystal clear. Humans, even at a very young age, love interacting with all their surroundings. I believe this is exactly why humans have been fond of everything 3D since the inception of stereoscopes. And that’s truer than ever with the rise of 3D content in marketing.
3D knocks down boundaries and unlocks new layers of depth for us to inspect. It blurs the lines between real and imaginary. Ultimately, this makes whatever content 3D is acting as a vessel for more familiar to our human brains. When that happens, we can understand the content better and are more inclined to interact with it. For instance, a pharmaceutical company could increase sales of a new drug by using 3D to show its effects.
No matter what products you sell, 3D makes it easier for consumers to grasp how your products benefit them. Many brands are well aware of that and how 3D enhances their content’s chances of success. In addition, 3D ads have been showing stunning statistics. According to Sketchfab, 3D ads increase return on ad spend (ROAS) as well as websites bounce rate.
Last but not least, 3D content is simply epic for storytelling. Think about how some of Hollywood’s most heartwarming stories like Toy Story and the Lion King are 3D. It’s the same in the marketing world. For example, Airbnb’s Wall and Chain is an iconic ad with a storytelling base using 3D.
With all that said, 3D content has become a significant part of each of us’ daily marketing dose. Are you interested in joining the 3D content club too?
Alright then, let’s take a look at what goes into creating 3D content.
First off, you should know the different 3D file formats. That will help you choose the right ones for your 3D content. A universal format is OBJ. It’s mainly used for 3D design. Despite its popularity, it has a few disadvantages, including not allowing animation. Its competitor, FBX, is one of 3D developers’ most notable choices for animation. Also, FBX is regularly used in the movie industry.
The most advanced file format, however, could be glTF. Known as the JPEG for 3D, it’s packed with modern features as allowing multiple animations on a single file. Developers in Google, Microsoft, and Adobe among others use glTF for 3D content. These are just a handful of formats since there are actually hundreds of 3D formats. Other popular ones include JSON, COLLADA, STL, 3DS, and IGES.
Now, let’s get to the platforms which you can publish your 3D content on!
Sketchfab is the most 3D artists’ go-to platform to share their 3D content. It’s an immensely famous heaven where you can find and interact with 3D work of all kinds. If you’re not interested in creating your own 3D models, Sketchfab is the place to buy epic 3D models.
So you have your 3D models and you’ve created your 3D content. What about where to share it? Well, the choices are endless. Obviously, social media and Youtube would be great platforms. But we won’t really discuss those here.
That’s because if you use them, people would engage the same way they would with any other content. It wouldn’t be anything special. Sure, your 3D content could still be amusing, but the interactive edge that it offers would be gone. Therefore, people could easily miss it on their crowded timelines.
Though, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there’s one exception among these platforms. One platform noticed that issue and acted on it. Take a moment to guess which one did that. If you guessed Facebook, then my hat’s off to you.
Last year, the social medium renowned for its pioneering initiatives launched Facebook’s 3D posts. The posts provide a brand new way for users to interact with 3D content. Instead of merely observing, users can touch 3D subjects, move them around, and do whatever they wish to them.
Duly, it didn’t take brands long to hop on the Facebook 3D posts bandwagon. Not only does it allow them to captivate their audiences in a novel way, the feature is Facebook-made.
In other words, Facebook, with its thought leadership, basically commanded brands to create 3D content to get impressive reach.
The larger-than-life brand beloved by people of all ages, LEGO, was one of the first to answer Facebook’s call. Back in February 2018, LEGO introduced a new character using 3D content on Facebook. The character, an adorable parrot, was a major hit with fans and the post blew up rather quickly. More interestingly, in the comments section, many users were asking about how to use Facebook’s 3D content themselves.
Furthermore, furniture retail company Wayfair was one of the big brands ushering in the era of 3D on Facebook. The company posted 3D models of many of its items for people to play with before buying. The campaign was another benchmark for success using Facebook for 3D content.
Other than Facebook, you can also publish 3D content on your website. If prospects go as far as visit your website, you should reward them with something special as 3D content. September 1st is a special day in the Harry Potter universe, for it marks the day of the epilogue. To celebrate the occasion in 2017, Pottermore launched the Welcome to Hogwarts website. The website is a fully interactive 3D experience that allows visitors to explore over 100 locations in legendary Hogwarts.
All of the above 3D content examples are solid. Yet, they do have one drawback. All of them dissociate users from their reality, taking them to a virtual one. That kind of beats the original purpose of 3D content. There must be some way to augment people’s reality using 3D content rather than detach them. Hmmm….augment….augmented…..Augmented Reality. That’s it!
AR is the perfect technology for 3D content!
Using AR for 3D content will bring your content to life right in the environments of your audience. So no dissociation whatsoever. Moreover, you can adjust your 3D content’s proportions to make it fit within your audience’s surroundings. Your content will be more real than ever. Marquee brands have already starting making incredible impressions using AR 3D content.
Fashion mogul Michael Kors was so lucky as to be the first brand to try AR ads on Facebook. The campaign was in the form of a post with a picture that says “tap on me to try”. Tapping allowed users to try on different models of glasses which were overlaid seamlessly over users’ eyes. At the end of the experience, users had the option to buy glasses right through the Facebook app. It may have been the first ever Facebook AR ad, but it was a brilliant one nonetheless.
Over on the website side of things, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse created an outstanding AR experience to celebrate release. The Academy Award winner launched a campaign that brings Spidey to people’s living rooms. They can take photos with him and have all sorts of fun with the all-time great superhero.