Marketing executives, before you jump on the 360° video tidal wave – STOP!

With over 500,000 360° videos available on YouTube, Facebook and through the Oculus and Steam platforms, ensuring your video gets the traction, views and engagement is becoming more and more difficult.

So, how can you ensure engagement with your target audience?  Below are 4 points which will ensure your content is viewed, shared and ultimately engages with your customers - tick at least one of these boxes.

1. Align the content to your brand / product / message

360° videos can feel like the perfect solution to your engagement objectives, thanks mostly to the immersive quality of 360°. Transporting your audience to the top of Snowdon or the driver’s seat of a Formula One car can be thrilling, but does it align to your message. Understanding your audience is key and delivering a 360° experience that fits with your brand will increase engagement with the right audience.

Some brands lend themselves more naturally to this medium. Take BMW as an example: they recently ran a marketing campaign with BMW branded cardboard viewers which allow potential consumers to “take an immersive journey through the ages in some rare and awe-inspiring BMW M models”. But even if your industry or brand does not seem a natural fit for 360° – think again. 360° content is immersive, tells the story and can be utilised in a myriad of ways.

2. Ensure your consumer is a participant and not just a spectator

If you offer the viewer an active experience they will remain willingly engaged in your 360° content. Simply overlaying text into 360° video or ensuring there is always something to hold their attention will help, pop ups, text overlays and voice-overs add more to the experience and keep the viewer engaged. Click here to view one of our early pieces for ZSL London Zoo

The best experiences are where your viewers have an active role, allowing them to navigate through the video with decision making rights. This can make the piece even more compelling. Add Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality into the mix and you will have a truly immersive piece that will be viewed, shared and compete with the half a million other videos out there. Be warned, deep pockets may be required!

3. Give your viewers the unattainable dream


Transport your customers somewhere they have never been, experienced or see something they would never see. There are plenty of experiences through 360° filming to transport your viewers and gasp in awe as they skydive from 10,000 feet, view the world from the top of Everest or get up close and personal with  a Siberian tiger. By giving people access to a view previously unattainable due to location, cost or fear, you can heighten the engagement levels and are more likely to have the video viewed and shared.

 

4. Teach

360° videos do not need to have huge budgets to engage. Content that provides a new perspective or educates are just as compelling. Give people a change to their point of view and allow them to uncover the “what ifs”. Use this medium to teach, uncover what is possible or to uncover what has previously been hidden all in 360°. The Nature Conservancy has created a virtual reality experience designed to educate the tech community about the dangers to wildlife from tuna fishing practices. By teaching people something new, engagement is almost guaranteed as long as the content is relevant for the audience.

Overall try and include all of the above in your created content but, at the very least, ensure just one of the points is covered. My last point was raised by Lea Kozin ('Marketers dipping their toes into VR') is to consult with a 360° filming and VR specialist.

We know what works, what is engaging and how best to use the medium.

We are the experts.

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