Kick it like Neymar? 360° videos make it possible!
We all want to create ads and campaigns that excite and captivate our audiences. We’re all looking to go where no one has ever gone before. 360° online videos are currently just the tool to do this. YouTube announced the format for its video platform back in March 2015 and Facebook jumped on the bandwagon by the end of the year. The first 360° content worth watching has since appeared on both platforms in the form of so – called virtual reality videos where the perspective changes as viewers move their smartphones or click and move their mouse.
International brands such as Nike and Coca Cola were some of the first to venture here and have garnered a considerable number of clicks. But the potential has not yet been exhausted. If you can put together the right ingredients this year, you can use 360° advertising videos to create brand experiences that will be seen and strengthen brand interaction.
Three reasons how and why 360° is the top trend in 2016:
1. New technology = new way to catch eyes
It’s obvious that new technologies are often only relevant and get seen because they’re new. That’s one reason why the first virtual reality (VR) videos on YouTube are focused more on sporting action, such as in this video of the World Surf League:
Another example is the very first VR video on Facebook, published exclusively as part of the online campaign for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”:
Both videos actually offer very little added value for the viewers other than the technology and the pure spectacle value. So the first question viewers ask: what’s so special about this video that I can only experience it in 360°? Nevertheless, both videos received an huge amount of hits. But the more familiar users become with the new technology, the less its novelty will be sufficient for success.
2. Creating added value with a proper 360° story
“Why do I have to tell this commercial in 360°? What am I offering viewers that they couldn’t experience in a conventional film?” These are the questions we need to ask ourselves before we decide whether to do future campaigns in 360°. Because technology for technology’s sake will not exploit this format’s full potential over the long term.
What you need are stories that can draw in users to the brand experience only when shown in 360°. For example, Nike’s video offers a real 360° experience because you can virtually step into Brazilian football star Neymar’s shoes:
Taking this a step further, the added value for a good 360° video doesn’t have to be exclusively entertainment or emotion as is the case here with Nike. Practical or informative added value is also possible. For example, an online shop could make it possible to experience or even walk through products before making a purchase. This would only be possible with 360°.
The first part of the following Lufthansa video for Premium Economy Class gives some impression of the potential added value that a 360° format could offer:
In the second part of the video, this very specific product approach disappears and you wonder why you’ve suddenly landed at a Christmas market in Heidelberg.
3. Mobile first
And finally: VR videos are successful if geared to an audience using mobile devices. Its use on mobile devices is intuitive. By simply moving the smartphone, the viewing angle in the scene could shift. Holding down a mouse button as you would do on a desktop is more complicated, which is certainly one reason why Facebook and YouTube are embracing the new format. It’s going to be used mostly on mobile devices anyway. And virtual reality glasses like the Oculus Rift will probably not be mass market devices any time soon, so 360° commercials are still in their infancy stages. They don’t work on all devices and browsers (as some of you have probably discovered while reading this article). Creators, advertisers and marketing teams are going to have to learn to tell stories and think about campaigns in 360°. And also realise that not every subject or message is going to require a VR video. But if you’re ready to take 360° beyond mere spectacle in 2016 and provide it with a story designed for the format that also creates added value for viewers, you just might have a hit on your hands. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!