Over the past year and change, 360 video has become one of the hottest trends in digital marketing. For brands and publishers, this format provides an opportunity to give viewers an immersive experience similar to virtual reality—without limiting the audience to the relatively small number of people who presently own a VR headset.
With expanded VR adoption on the horizon, 360 video is also giving content producers a chance to develop best practices for what is sure to be an extremely popular medium in the years to come. It's early days yet, but we decided to take a look at a few successful activations to get a sense of what's working for brands and publishers.
Here are three tips for getting 360 video right:
1. Take the Viewer Somewhere Only You Can Take Them
The biggest benefit of 360 video is that it allows you to transport the viewer to another time and place. As such, brands and publishers can maximize the value of their content by using the format to take people to places they wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to visit.
For publishers, this can mean allowing the viewer to experience the news by bringing them to potentially dangerous locations they can't get to themselves, as was the case when the German publisher Bild used 360 video to report from the front lines of the fight against ISIS in Iraq.
Certainly, brands will want to associate themselves with more pleasant locales. GoPro's video of surfing in Tahiti is a remarkable sensory experience that allows the viewer to bask in the island's sunshine and natural beauty.
2. Make Sure You Have a Story
For all its technical capabilities, 360 video is like any other kind of content in that you need to have some kind of a story to keep people's attention.
A good example of this is an ad for the film “50 Shades Darker" that recently ran on Snapchat. The 360 video takes viewers inside a masquerade ball scene from the movie. While the viewer can swivel the screen to take in fancy lighting and elaborate gowns, the video presents a central narrative of the film's main characters rekindling their romance over the course of the evening.
3. Use Text, Graphics, And Audio To Guide Your Viewer
One of the biggest challenges of 360 video is making sure the viewer doesn't get overwhelmed by all the different things they can look at in your content.
That's why it's a great idea to use text, graphics, and audio to give your viewer context about what they're watching and point them in the direction of what you most want them to see. In a recent video of crowded street festivals around the world, the New York Times used a text overlay to focus the viewer's attention and to provide valuable information that decoded the cultural moments they were looking at. USA Today went one step further by having a Navy captain narrate a video of training drills performed by the famed Blue Angels.
Tremor Video is always looking to push the boundaries of what brands and publishers are capable of doing with digital video. Click here to learn how we're using innovative technology to help movie studios drive consumers to the theater.