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Interest in 360° video and virtual reality is on the rise among brands who want to create an immersive storytelling experience. Marketers aren’t alone; consumers are just as intrigued.

According to eMarketer, 53% of consumers find 360° video a positive and memorable experience, and more than ⅓ say they would be more likely to engage with a 360° video versus a traditional video ad. With Twitter’s launch of 360° streaming support for Periscope, Facebook’s 360° video support, and the popularity of products like GoPro, awareness for this content type is likely to rise and the format will become more mainstream.

In this post, we explore how brands should use 360° video for their customer journeys:


1. Use a Multi-Phased Targeting Approach

360° video seems great. But is it right for every customer?

Use a multi-phased approach to find the right audience for your campaigns. During Phase 1 of the campaign, distribute the video to a control audience. Collect audience insights on the most engaged viewers according to your campaign’s KPI’s. Then, during Phase 2, target viewers with similar attributes.

2) Craft Your Content Plan With Data

Trying a new type of creative doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark.

Place Sentiment Surveys at the end of your videos. Use these end screens to ask questions about purchase intent, brand affinity, or product preference. This insight reveals viewers’ feelings about your brand and their likelihood to purchase as a result of their engagement with your ad.

This is how you can use media to spark a two-way conversation with consumers and use learnings from that dialogue to inform future campaigns.

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 3) Use 360° Video to Drive Awareness

Because of its multi-dimensional qualities, 360° video works especially well for feature-rich content (car tours, hotel tours) that appeals to viewers who are lower in the purchase funnel. However, 360° video can be used for even more than that.

For instance, look at the Cherry Marketing Institute’s recent campaign. It turns out that cherry juice is an effective sleep aid. The Cherry Marketing Institute’s video created awareness for cherry juice with a 360° bedroom tour. Throughout the video, the viewer gets tips on how to set up the ideal sleeping environment. Drinking a glass of cherry juice before bedtime is one of the tips they feature in the video.

4) Drive Deeper Engagement

A recent study by Google revealed that 360° video ads don’t necessarily outperform standard video ads on traditional metrics like completion rate. However, 360° video can drive better interaction with viewers in other ways.

For a retail brand, Google tested a 360° video against a traditional video. The 360° video drove 41% more earned actions than the traditional video, including social shares. This led to better cost-per-view in the long run.

Both ads had CTAs that drove to an extended version of the content. Although the 360° video had a lower completion rate, it had a better click-through rate. In other words, viewers didn’t need to see the entire ad to know they wanted to learn more from the brand.

To take advantage of this effect 360° video has on consumers, try using a Video Explorer Engagement Card. These custom end screens feature additional ads in a video carousel at the end of each video, helping drive additional views for your video.

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 5) Connect Content to Purchase Points

360° video puts users in the driver’s seat and allows them to manage their experience. When viewers can interact directly with videos, it gives the ads context and helps drive purchase intent.

Many brands are finding ways to connect participatory content to purchase points. Last summer, Lowes launched a series of instructional DIY 360° videos. Rather than shooting the content on a 360° camera, the brand stitched together individual frames for each step of a project. This way, viewers could go back and review a step if they wanted. Each video featured a home improvement product. To drive purchases, Lowes offered viewers the option to click through to a landing page where the products could be bought.

With a unique 360° video experience and eCommerce tie-in, Lowes closed the loop between participatory content and sales. Another way to do this is through a Rich Media Engagement Card using the ViralGains platform, which you can customize to feature an eCommerce landing page that matches your campaign.

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When it comes to video advertising, it can feel like there is always pressure to jump on a new trend. But 360° video stands out. Its multi-dimensional attributes deepen a user’s level of product knowledge immediately. Plus, 360° video gives viewers control over the video so they can decide what they learn from each content touchpoint.

Although we are still somewhat early in the 360° video game, some best practices have emerged for marketers who want to give it a try:

  • Map your 360° video to the customer journey to maximize ROI.
  • Test and target your audience with a multi-phased approach to see who responds most positively to the ad.
  • Use your video to drive a specific action, like landing page click-throughs or leads.
  • Use videos — 360° and traditional — to start a two-way conversation with viewers that enables you to collect additional targeting and creative data through surveys.

Over to you. How is your brand using 360° video as part of your customer journey? Let us know in the comments.