Your brand narrative remains one of the most important components in a marketing strategy, where delivering a message using visuals remains the most effective approach. According to Cisco Visual Networking Index, 79% of global internet traffic will be video content by 2018. Despite audiences increasingly demanding such content, their attention span is becoming shorter, and marketers can't afford to stick with the same video content strategy for too long. Moving away from gifs, memes and YouTube, video content has evolved, and now it offers a new feature: 360° video.
One of the pioneers of the use of 360° videos in their content strategy was unsurprisingly Facebook. Whether it's a desktop or a mobile device, users now have an opportunity to tap, click and drag a video to change the viewing angle, and view action happening in full 360° degrees. It works by either using a special set of cameras to capture a scene in full 360° degrees or, multiple compact cameras like GoPros can be clustered to capture a 360° view.
So how can marketers use this innovation? Marriott and Hilton are two prime examples and have built large-scale campaigns showing their properties, destinations and experiences globally. EE, a UK telecommunications network provider, worked with the Undercurrent marketing agency to come up with a video campaign for Glastonbury music festival. The 360-degree footage provided an insight to the festival's tent camp and music stages, creating one overview, where viewers could look around and experience the atmosphere.
Even though 360° videos have proven popular in content marketing, but how long will it last? The tool has limitations, offering a pretty much non-evolving video experience which decreases its chances of survival, especially with rival technologies like VR and AR. Thus, in order to deliver a good narrative, 360° videos shouldn't be used in isolation, but as a part of a larger campaign. Another challenge marketers are yet to solve is that despite 360° videos having a sense of novelty, entertainment, and engagement, it is extremely hard to get viewers to focus on the main point of the campaign: The product. Viewers may simply click away when exploring an area in the video, and miss the most important message.
360° videos also encourage audiences to learn more about Virtual Reality technology, promoting it unintentionally, by seemingly having similar features, but in fact, having very little in common. Thus, it may be the case that 360° videos will remain popular only until VR products become widely accessible and affordable. For large brands, investing in 360° videos and embedding it into their main video content strategy can be advantageous. However, despite the attractive appearance, marketers need to stay aware of the technical limitations and challenges the format represents.