The term, “virtual reality,” has been a trending buzzword in the world of technology recently. We’ve been experimenting with virtual reality (VR) since as early as the nineteenth century, but the rise of computing technologies and 3D graphics have really accelerated our ability to create and capture images in 360°. The development of VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, and the Samsung Gear VR have made VR a more affordable and desirable reality. The growing popularity and number of VR headset users are pushing for more content to be created for their devices–this is where 360° video fits into the picture.
In March 2015, YouTube unveiled the ability for users to upload and watch 360° videos on their website and mobile app. Soon after, Facebook launched 360° video and photos in September 2015. The rise of 360° photos and videos have completely change how we view images online. It allows us to literally “see the full picture” and adds a new element of depth and dimension. Now that we’ve had a year to experiment with VR features on YouTube and Facebook, we have a better understanding of what VR is and how it fits into our lives. Marketers are taking advantage of VR technologies to reach out to their audiences through new methods. Here are four ways how video marketing is evolving with virtual reality:
*NOTE: To get the full 360° experience of the videos below, they must be viewed on Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer browsers (not compatible with Safari).
1. Opportunity for Companies to Showcase Products
360° video gives companies the opportunity to be transparent to their customers and showcase their products at the same time. In the example below, NESCAFÉ takes their viewers on a virtual ride through a farm where they source their coffee beans from. Through the 360° video, viewers develop a connection with NESCAFÉ’s coffee because they are learning about the coffee’s source and interacting with the product.
2. Promoting Destinations
The travel and hospitality industries are also taking advantage of VR technologies to attract tourists to destinations around the world. 360° videos allow people see the scenery and attractions of a destination as if they were actually there. Hilton created a 360° video to advertise their hotels and resorts as family-friendly and relaxing destinations with the video below:
3. Enhancing Personal Brands
As VR technology becomes more affordable, an increasing number of vloggers are posting 360° videos to YouTube. 360° vlogs allow vloggers to enhance their personal brands by giving their viewers a full view into their lives and developing a sense of personal connection. Viewers can watch vlogs from a different perspective each time and focus on the areas of a vlog that interest them the most. Below is an example of a 360° vlog:
4. Audience Engagement
Finally, brands are using 360° videos to create advertisements that engage audiences. These sponsored videos are fun, entertaining, and don’t feel like ads. Dos Equis created this murder-mystery themed video below to attract customers to their brand:
Now that you’ve learned more about marketing through VR and 360° videos, do you think is it just a buzzing trend or a lasting innovation? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!