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Understanding the 360 Video Opportunity

Emerging technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality have been getting a lot of attention, along with the value they could bring for advertisers. But while these two hot innovations have lots of potential in the future, they’re not yet ready to transform the advertising sector. That’s why more and more advertisers are increasingly exploring “360 video,” an intermediate (but quite immersive) media format with big potential for advertisers. Here are a few reasons to give this up-and-coming ad format a closer look.

360 video is widely available right now
Unlike virtual reality or augmented reality, which require special software or hardware to use, 360 video is basically video that viewers can spin and rotate in all directions with a mouse or touchscreen, making it immediately compatible with many of the world’s biggest digital media platforms and video ad units. YouTube, the largest of the world’s video ad platforms, started offering 360 video ads back in 2015. Meanwhile, other ad tech companies are working to quickly increase the availability of 360 video units across other ad networks. And of course, there’s Facebook, which has also made it possible for consumers and brands to use 360 video to “boost” the visibility of their social media content, even if there’s no official ad unit just yet.

360 video has shown strong results with consumers
360 video is already demonstrating its considerable impact with consumers. One recent 360 video campaign run by Hong Kong Airlines was able to generate results that were 35 times more effective than a similar campaign the brand ran with a traditional ad. Additional research from Google also found that 360 video ads had higher click-through rates than other video ads, while also helping their campaigns earn more shares, views and channel subscriptions on YouTube.

360 video is a great complement to the mobile experience
It’s well known that consumer use of mobile, and with it, mobile ad spend, is growing by leaps and bounds. The increasing embrace of all things mobile is also giving a lift to 360 video, which is perfectly positioned to capitalize on marketers’ interest in mobile ad formats and time spent with mobile video. “What’s pretty clear to me is that in a world that is increasingly mobile…360 is a great step into really immersive, really interesting ad experiences,” said Eric Franchi, co-founder of Digital ad company Undertone, in an interview with Adweek. 360 video is able to do this by increasing the interactivity of mobile ad formats, allowing advertisers to weave together new capabilities like touch, vibration and motion sensors into a seamless package.

360 video may not have the same name recognition as newer technologies like virtual and augmented reality. But as a growing range of examples have demonstrated, the format has the rapidly growing scale, engagement and immersive capabilities to make it a new secret weapon for advertisers. Is it time for your brand or agency to take this unique ad format for a spin?