Virtual reality and 360 videos have been around for a number of years but it is only in the last couple of years that brands have started using this new technology to market themselves and reach a larger audience. A decade ago if you imagined that you’d be able to go shopping without leaving your sofa and still be able to see the product in front of you, you’d think it wasn’t possible. A company in China called ‘Alibaba’ have released a device called the ‘Buy+’ which allows customers to enter a virtual reality to shop and pay for products they like without having to take the headset off.

The ‘Buy+’ allows shoppers to shop anywhere, this user is based in China but is shopping at ‘Macy’s’ in Times Square, New York.

With nearly everyone digesting their news or social media through smartphones, it is inevitable that the best marketing strategy would be based around these devices. Brands can potentially reach an audience of around 2 billion smartphone users who can enjoy 360 degree videos in the comfort of their own homes.

Well known brands have increasingly started to incorporate virtual reality into their marketing strategy. Virgin Holidays have been using this technology in some of their stores for over a year and have found it to be quite successful.

They created a virtual reality tour that waiting customers could watch of Virgin Holidays destinations as a ‘try before you buy’ method. A special 360 degree rig and GoPro cameras were used to capture the footage of a popular Virgin Holidays destination, Riviera Maya in Mexico. They noticed an increase in bookings to Riviera Maya after introducing the virtual reality tour.

All the footage used in the virtual tours was recorded in a first person perspective, so everything that was captured would be what the customer would experience themselves. 

Why do Brands love 360 video so much? 

360 degree videos allow brands to put viewers and users actually inside of an experience. Makers of 360 video want audiences to remember that it’s not a gimmick, it’s made through creative filming. Brands need to make sure that even if you are using a 360 degree video to promote your business, you need to still focus on a core message and know your target audience, and don’t forget that what you’re saying and that the content is also very important.

There are clear benefits of using a 360 degree video when including it into your marketing strategy. 70% of marketers who have used 360 degree videos say it has increased engagement for them. It was first picked up by Google Street view and then it started being used in industries like security, whilst UK film studios began to investigate the potential of live 360 film for events.

A good example of a marketing campaign using 360 virtual reality was by Jaguar last year when they promoted their position as the ‘official car of The Wimbledon Championships’.

The video creates a VR experience for tennis fans to “fly” into Centre Court and experience what it feels like to be Andy Murray. 

A recent study by ‘Think With Google‘ researched whether 360 degree videos are worth it. They partnered with columbia sportswear and two US olympic athletes to test how successful a standard campaign would be compared to a 360 campaign.  The results from the 360 campaign were surprising, the view-through rates (how many people watched to the end) were low compared to the standard campaign. However, the actual click-through rate was much higher than the standard campaign, this is good news for brands as those viewers who watched till the end are more engaged with the product.

The low view-through rates suggest that viewers may not feel like interacting with 360 campaigns all the time, this means that campaign managers need to carefully decide key factors and what the campaign conditions are going to be.

It is important to perfectly blend together three technical layers when creating an engaging  360 degree video, Panoramic View, Movement, and Motion.

 360 degree videos allow the viewer freedom and entertainment to view anywhere they want, some brands may not be ready to adopt this new technology but the research above has shown that the engagement in products received was a lot higher than standard campaigns.

You can now use video production companies like ourselves to create your own 360 degree videos for Facebook, YouTube or upload onto your website, studies show viewers will watch for 44% longer than traditional web video. Having a voice-over for your 360 degree video seems to allow people to look around more than having a presenter/reporter talking to you. Including a virtual reality 360 degree video on your website could increase click to purchase rates by as much as 14 times. We believe that the unique value of 360 degree films is to take people to places they cannot otherwise go.

We will be starting 360 degree virtual reality projects soon, if you’re interested in getting a project started and using this excellent marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to contact us, details are available on the website.

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