WHY USE VR MEDIA?
360 photos are the perfect way to capture moments that you want others to re-experience as if they are truly there themselves. Compared to traditional photography, 360 photography builds immersion and engagement by taking viewers into the heart of the scene and giving them control over where they choose to focus on. They are also much more efficient at conveying a greater amount of information in a single photo due to capturing the location from all directions. Additionally, they are perfect for marketing purposes, generally generating more interest in your content as people are more interested in consuming media in to virtual reality formats such as 360 photos, especially younger generations. (1) Another use case is constructing a Virtual Tour of your establishment by having multiple 360 photos linked up to show off your facilities. 360 photography can be used in a massive range of businesses, with almost any company being able to benefit from it in some way – even if it’s just a 360 photo on their Google Maps listing.
For any business that has a physical store, 360 photography can boost the amount of interest you generate online and subsequently the amount of customers you bring in. A study analysing 1000 respondents was conducted by Ipsos MediaCT & Google (2) to determine the impact of search listings for local businesses and they found that the internet and more specifically wbesites/apps like GoogleMaps are used frequently by consumers. The information from GoogleMaps is important in prompting an in person visit to the business. Google is by far the most popular search engine with a ~78% market share (3) and GoogleMaps listing are ranked highly in their searches. Therefore it is critically important to make sure you stand out, as 84% of consumers can recall photos from GoogleMaps business listings. Using a 360 photo rather than a normal photo in your GoogleMaps listing means you have a much better chance at grabbing a potential customers attention and enticing them into your store and/or creating a memorable impression upon them.
Another benefit of 360 photos is their ability to give customers the option to “try before they buy”. Allowing customers to get a preview of a product/service you offer builds consumer trust and ultimately they are more likely to go through with a purchase. Instead of showing your potential customers your product, take them there with an 360 photo.
There are distinct benefits to using 360 photos over regular photos, especially when it comes to marketing. An analysis (4) of over 1000+ ad campaigns compared them to normal photos:
+300% CTR (Click through rate)
+410% ROI (Return on investment)
USING 360 VIDEO
360 videos have use cases in a diverse range of contexts and industries due to it being an excellent medium for telling a compelling story. As a result of placing viewers in the heart of the experience and allowing them to interact with the video, viewers are immersed into the scene like never before. It offers a truly unique format of media that facilitates greater engagement with viewers, with 53% of people saying that 360 videos can help create engaging experiences. (5) It has also been demonstrated to be particularly effective in evoking emotional responses in comparison to traditional 2D videos. (6)
In a world more saturated than ever before with advertising, a 360 video can make your product stand out from the competition. There are many benefits over regular video ad. For example, a study done by Google compared a regular video ad with a 360 version of the ad. They found the 360 video had: 46% more views, a higher amount of shares, it led to more subscribes on the companies YouTube channel and most critically generated a 41% increase in earned actions leading to a sale. (7) Additionally, the interactive nature of the 360 video led to a much higher engagement rate from the viewers.
Furthermore, a study by YuMe found that among those who had tried 360 videos: 51% said they would be more likely to engage with an ad if it was in 360 format, 58% said they would like to see more 360 video content online and 54% said they pay more attention to videos in 360 degrees. (8) An analysis of over 1000+ ad campaigns using VR found a +46% VCR (Video completion rate) and a +14% ROI (Return On Investment) for 360 videos compared to normal videos. (9)
A case study by MagniFyre & StoryUp (10) compared a 360 video to a standard video and found it was highly effective:
CPM (Cost-per-impression) was lower for the 360 video ($4.20 vs $1.74)
CTR (Click-through-rate) was higher for the 360 video (4.51% vs 0.56%)
APW(Average % watched) was 33% longer for the 360 video (37.1% vs 27.8%)
USING 360 LIVE STREAMS
360 live streaming combines the immersive 360 video experience with the wide reaching power of live streaming to deliver an engaging event experience to a wide audience. 360 videos are excellent at making you feel like you are really there, making it perfect for live streaming as you can feel like you are actually attending the event.
360 live streams vastly increase the number of people who can ‘attend’ your event. By live streaming your event you will be tapping into a global audience and attracting viewers who would be physically unable to visit, or are generally inclined to not attend events in person. Using a 360 live stream can significantly increase your ticket sales by either by selling ‘virtual tickets’ alongside your regular tickets, or by selling live stream tickets after you have already sold out. Alternatively, offering a 360 live stream is a great way to market your event and build awareness for future events. While 360 live streams can make you feel like you are there, nothing really beats being there in that atmosphere in person and it has been found that among those who watched a live stream of yearly event, 30% went on to attending in person the following year. (11)
Another great feature of a 360 live stream is its ability to give viewers the chance to see your event from an angle they would never be able to get in person. Music festivals like Coachella lets viewers experience the event from the stage. Formula One recently completed a 360 live stream with an angle from the paddock – an area normally restricted to the public. The NBA regularly live streams their content in VR and unique camera angles such as from court-side.
360 live streaming offers many benefits to forward thinking event planners. As VR and 360 content continue to grow and become more integrated into our everyday lives, events that are wanting to push the boundary of their event experience will be looking to utilise this exciting new technology.
As discussed previously, 360 live streams offer events several exciting ways to deliver their experience to a large audience. 360 live streams also offer businesses several exciting new ways to connect with their audience, market their products or services and to reduce expenses.
It is expected that roughly 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video by 2019 (12) and 78% of online audiences are already watching live streams on Facebook, (13) who is aggressively pushing live streamed content. It is clear that as time goes live streaming will become more important to companies and for good reason. Build a community of passionate fans is the pinnacle of a business’s marketing strategy and 360 live streams offer an excellent way to accomplish this due to the ability to interact in real time with viewers. Live streams are great at interacting with your fans and Facebook has revealed that users spend x3 more time watching live content and comment x10 more. (14) ‘Behind the scenes’ or Q&A live streams are an effective way for companies to connect with their fans and to deliver content that feels authentic.
There are also benefits to hosting a 360 live stream for your organisations private event, presentation, training session or meeting. A live stream is an effective means of reaching a large amount of your staff in a format that gives them a ‘front row seat’ to your event. Using a live stream also reduces expenses significantly, as there are minimal travel costs and there is no need to rent out a venue. It also has the added benefit of being environmentally friendly, something that grows more important for businesses in the 21st century. Finally, live streamed content can later be re-purposed for marketing, future training or just to keep a record of the event.
A study was conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau in 2018 and found that live streaming is already popular and growing yearly.
67% of consumers have watched a live stream in the past.
47% report increasing their live streaming use since last year.
70% of consumers that consume live streams do so daily.
Once a year, one of the largest technology conferences in the world is hosted by the CRM company Salesforce in San Francisco. The four day event has hundreds of keynote speeches on numerous amounts of topics, with the general aim of utilising technology for social good. It also includes product launches, panels with industry leaders and demos. In 2017 they had ~171,000 attendees (5) and while this is impressive, it was their live stream that posted even more staggering numbers. Over 12,000,000 viewers watched the event from the comfort of their house, (6) perfectly illustrating how using a live stream can be used to engage with a far higher amount of people than would otherwise be possible.
The NBA is known for being an innovative company that likes to experiment with upcoming technology and has now been utilising VR live streaming for three years to stream a portion of their games. While currently the VR stream is only 180 degrees, every year the NBA VR stream continues to improve as they take on feedback and there are plans to upgrade to full 360 live stream as soon as consumer hardware and bandwidth improves sufficiently enough.
Currently, the VR stream has its own dedicated commentators and director who changes between various shots if you don’t feel like doing it yourself. Stats can be bought up by looking to the left or right of the game stream and a scoreboard by looking up. The most compelling feature of the NBA VR live stream is how it can draw you in and make you feel like you really are at the game, as well as offering viewers the ability to see the game from angles that they normally would never see. Slam dunks look so much better when you feel like you are actually standing below the hoop and reviews have generally been positive towards the NBA VR experience.
“This is a landmark event for us and will give fans the feeling of sitting courtside.”
Jeff Marsilio – NBA’s Vice President of Global Media Distribution
Tourism Australia and Expedia partnered together to record several 360 videos as part of a marketing campaign which aimed to show travellers some of the best sites the country has to offer. The videos allow viewers a chance to experience several iconic scenes from around Australia, leading to a 9% visitation boost and 64% rise in engagement on Australia.com, with the average length of stay on the site exceeding an incredible 8 minutes. A survey of 1,500 people (500 UK, 500 USA, 500 AUS) found that 14% of US respondents, 18% of British respondents and nearly 50% of Australian respondents were aware of Travel Australia’s 360 video assets. These metrics translated into real results, contributing to a 104% growth in leads to the Australian tourism industry and a record-breaking year for Australian tourism. (6)
The New York Times has been experimenting with 360 videos for a while now with their NYT VR project. They have become professionals in utilising the strengths of the format to evoke greater interest, connection and empathy for the people and places they cover in their news pieces. One of their more powerful and effective uses of 360 videos was to accompany an award-winning news piece called “The Displaced”.
“The Displaced” investigated the refugee crisis, focusing on the 30 million children displaced by war and persecution by taking viewers into the lives of three individual children. The piece resonated with many readers and the social media response was overwhelmingly positive, with the hashtag #NYTVR trending soon after its launch. The average time spent engaging with the NYT app was 14.7 minutes which the producer (Andy Wight) described as “an unheard of metric for digital media.” The Displaced was responsible for kick starting the “Daily 360” and to this day the New York Times incorporates 360 videos into their stories and has produced more than twenty 360 films.
Research has found that having a 360 photo tour on a hotels website boosted booking numbers and increased look-to-book conversion rates up to 67% from 16%. (5) With an impact like that, it isn’t surprising that hotel chains like Marriott have been quick to integrate 360 photos into their company. They’ve also experimented with giving guests VR headsets and allowing them to travel to various worldwide destinations from the comfort of their room. This was resoundingly popular and 51% of guests trying this said they would like to see more VR at Marriott hotels. (6)