360-Degree Video for Digital Marketing

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Scrolling through Facebook looks a lot different today than it did just a year ago. This isn’t only due to the ever-evolving main social feed, but also what features are quickly being adopted by marketers, influencers, and individuals alike. The most dramatic inclusion of late is the use of 360-degree video and photos.

Normally in social media, what was once new and shiny quickly becomes ordinary and passe. However, the rising trend of 360 video is shaping up to be a pivotal and driving force for digital marketing as consumers demand a more immersive experience. Bonfire recently purchased its first 360-degree camera. See how we landed on which device to use, and learn a few benefits of including 360 videos in your own content marketing strategy.

Creating immersive experiences.

Digital marketing is all about capturing consumer attention. As we’ve moved from traditional print to television to the internet, the competition to capture audience attention has become both more specified and more difficult. Immersion has been the biggest keyword for many future forecasters of media and gaming.

It only makes sense that immersive experiences find their way into marketing. And right now, the fire is hot. In fact, when content with fixed frame video is compared with identical content in 360 form, 360 content was favored by nearly 30 percent.

Other benefits of 360 video in marketing include:

  • Upwards of 50 percent more complete video views.
  • Nearly 5 percent boost in click-through rate (CTR).
  • Around 40 percent reduction in cost per impression (CPI).
  • Opportunities to showcase new products, promote destinations, and share adventures.

These are just a few of the perks of including 360 video right now. But looking to the future, we must also consider virtual reality (VR), since it’s well within the capabilities of 360-degree cameras. It’s widely recognized that VR is not common in our everyday lives because the required headgear has not been widely adopted, even with the availability of Google Cardboard. But it’s a fun feature for the select audiences with the gear.

The beauty of 360 video is that it doesn’t require the headgear in order for it to work effectively with mobile devices and Chrome, Opera, and Firefox browsers on computers. But if we ever reach a point of headgear proliferation, the capability to implement VR will instantly be in place.

How is 360-degree video made?

In order to implement 360 video in your marketing, you’ll need a special 360-degree camera. Below is a quick look at what a 360 video looks like.

(Note: To view with 360 capabilities on mobile, you must use the YouTube app. Safari does not yet support this feature.)

(View on mobile)

Essentially, it’s a camera that takes video in a sphere so that the viewer sees (almost) all angles from where the camera is placed. This isn’t to be confused with a panoramic shot, where multiple shots are stitched together into one long photo.

The difference here is that all angles are being filmed at once, and the viewer can interact with the photo or video via a browser. The view is similar to what we’d see if experiencing the moment in real life.

Comparing 360-degree cameras.

Prices of cameras vary from just $100 into the thousands. However, as technology has progressed and become less expensive, so too have the capabilities and prices of lower-market cameras. The 360fly starts off at the lower end of the budget, but has the capabilities of capturing HD video at 30 frames per second. On the higher end, the Nokia Ozo costs roughly $45,000 and is about five times the size of the 360fly. It has eight 360-degree cameras (compared to one with the 360fly) working in sync to capture 2K x 2K footage at 30 frames per second.

What’s the downside of the Ozo? The high price tag comes with a natural fear of putting it in situations where it might be broken or lost. The 360fly is much more consumer and adventure friendly.

We experiment with 360 video.

Our first experience with the 360 camera came with a bit of a learning curve. We used the 360fly, which links to a smartphone to preview the interface. It’s compact and removes the need for a built-in camera viewfinder — another creative solution that enhances portability. We knew that we wanted to go further than just a video; we wanted it to be fairly interactive.

Our challenge: How do we animate a character inside of a 360 video? Our animation software (After Effects) only traditionally works with flat images. Luckily, Mettle’s SkyBox Studio plug-in (and a few tutorials) helped incorporate our character into the space naturally. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we animated a little heart character for you to find in each scene:

(Note: To view with 360 capabilities on mobile, you must use the YouTube app. Safari does not yet support this feature.)

(View on mobile)

Here is an example of what our 360 video would look like if not in 360 view:

Here is an example of what our 360 video would look like if not in 360 view.

The viral nature of 360 video is a result, if not a stepping stone, to the public’s interest in complete immersion on the internet. Actually taking a step into the internet is as close as ever. Getting in front of the trend is imperative, and 360-degree video is your opportunity to improve your brand experience within a reasonable budget.

 

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By | 2017-05-15T07:32:25+00:00 February 14th, 2017|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

About the Author:

Brody Lowe
Brody Lowe’s BFA in graphic design from OSU transitioned smoothly into running his own design firm with a friend for five years. A fascination in film production lead to a three-year venture as an art director and designer for nationally recognized film production studios before happily coming aboard Bonfire Marketing as a graphic designer.

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