Facebook 360 in 2019: What You Need To Know
(Updated Jul 18, 2019)
This is a complete guide to using innovative content on Facebook.
In today’s guide you’ll learn:
How 360° content works in general and on Facebook
How to launch Facebook 360 video ads and 360 photo ads
The metrics you should really care about
How to start drafting an interactive Facebook marketing plan
Best practices for 360 content on social media
Basically: if you want to better engagement on Facebook, this guide will help you get more clicks and start conversations with your community.
Cut Through clutter like butter.
Getting traction on Facebook is pretty difficult in 2019.
Companies are spending more than ever to cram their content into crowded feeds.
Additionally, Facebook is constantly changing their algorithm and marketers are stuck playing catch up.
You need to find creative ways to compete.
What if I told you there was a way to get ahead of the curve?
Get ahead on Facebook with 360 & AR
Facebook has invested a lot of money & time into making a better experience for their users.
This includes keeping up with the exciting new developments in media and marketing over the last few years.
360 content is a post format you’ve probably seen in your feed - it moves your viewer in response to where you point your phone.
On desktop it even spins automatically as you scroll past it in your feed.
For augmented reality (AR) Facebook content: you’ve probably used face filters on one of Facebook’s social media platforms like Instagram Stories.
Whether you are launching social media campaigns for your business or building a deeper connection with your community, Facebook 360 and Spark AR (Facebook’s AR creative/marketing platform) are powerful tools.
360° content is a type of interactive media that has been finding its place in the world of brand storytelling and marketing.
After all, it’s only been widely available since 2016 thanks to consumer-grade 360 cams from brands like Samsung, Insta360, and Ricoh.
It used to be expensive to create any kind of 360 content.
Now it’s more affordable thanks to an expanding community of creators and marketers.
And frankly, when 360 media first came out as a new content format people weren’t really sure how to use it.
And in that 35 minutes they are seeing content that all looks the same.
You know how to catch someone’s attention?
By doing things differently and breaking the pattern.
Facebook 360: A Medium where Marketers can truly rise above the noise
In one single scroll through my news feed I passed 8 different marketing agencies or “experts“ trying to sell me their secret Facebook ad funnel using video marketing…
They all featured videos with pattern-breaking visual tactics, fancy offices, a nice car here and there, and completely staged settings with fake customers.
This is a great example of how brands use Facebook marketing today.
They’re telling roughly the same story, using the same media formats, in the same marketing channels, to the same people.
Does this sound like you right now? (If so then I think reading the rest of this blog will be valuable to you.)
worried about your content’s performance
unsure how to adapt your Facebook marketing to leverage new media tools like 360, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and 3D.
finding ways to produce quality video (which costs good money) more cheaply and quickly (which conflicts with the quality aspect)
trying new ad formats in desperation to get a lift in your CTR, VTR, or engagement rates
wondering why your organic engagement is busted and terrible
wondering why your paid engagement is busted and terrible 😬
sitting at your desk fantasizing about becoming a flippin’ Facebook marketing wizard genius
If so, don’t worry. You’re basically in the same boat with a million other marketers who are frustrated with their poor traction.
The difference between most marketers and a bright & shining star such as yourself is… most marketers are ready to completely ignore a new incredible tool like Facebook 360.
They stick their heads in the sand like an ostrich and say LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER MY .05% ENGAGEMENT RATE.
“It doesn’t really work yet,” they say, while watching more innovative campaigns blow past them and slide right into the consumers wallet.
Or maybe they’re just super confident that they know best and can’t nobody tell ‘em nothing.
Well that’s a load of baloney, and those marketers are a bunch of dingbats.
The signal-to-noise ratio for your message and your story is being constantly overridden by companies that have more money to spend/bid on Facebook ads than you.
And guess what? Their content is likely to be worse than what you’ve thoughtfully produced.
Big brands have big budgets they literally NEED to spend by the end of the quarter, and honestly sometimes it doesn’t matter that an ad underperforms if the campaign can acually spend the entire budget in time.
You’re suffering from the pain of playing by someone else’s rules instead of blazing your own trail.
If you’re going to spend any money on Facebook ads, you’ve got to understand how difficult it is to create content that is distinguishable from the rest of the flaming content heap.
Seriously. It’s hard.
That’s where new media formats like 360 content come into play on huge platforms like Facebook.
360 video & photo on Facebook is delivered just like other content… only it has a secret weapon.
Facebook has built specific UX elements into the mobile/desktop versions of their platform that actively invite users to engage.
Yes, that’s right. This is content that Facebook is directly encouraging you to interact with.
Companies pour billions of dollars into Facebook ads that we are scrolling right past, and we completely ignore the message they’re paying to show us.
But when you use 360° content the people who used to scroll past your material (& ads) are now more likely stop and check you out.
Simply put: Getting creative with 360° content on Facebook gives your fans a reason to stop their scroll and engage with your story.
Curious about what types of 360° photos & designs there are out there? Check out our blog on 7 types of creative 360° content.
360° Media is dynamic & successful
You can do a lot with 360° content. Event coverage, interviews, as a marketing piece, for interactive brand experiences, virtual tours, to give behind-the-scenes peeks, for personal announcements, and more.
360° content for social media Campaigns
360s are versatile and fresh, and incorporating them into your social media campaign is just like adding a new type of content into the mix. It's deceptively simple.
When you work with content creators that offer photography, social media graphics, and video, you have to consider what marketing strategy will align this content with your organization's goals.
The process is similar with 360° content.
Using this content as part of a holistic strategy is no different than adding a video or regular graphic!
(Though interactive 360s see far greater engagements.)
The professional you are working with will ideally help guide you towards the best marketing strategy for this type of content.
In short, you are not limited in your advertisements & techniques because of 360° content.
In fact, 360s offer more possibilities and have greater success at driving ROI as well as a higher CTRs compared to 2D media.
(Pro-tip: 360° marketing & content strategies evolve quickly, and major social platforms add new features that support immersive media every month. Pick the right pro when you make your move into 360 😎)
Using Ads on Facebook with 360° Media
You can do many of the same things with 360s on Facebook that you can do with traditional content…
Like planning your ad spend, target markets, demographics, viewing current promotions with business pages, promoting posts, etc.
Plus, you can track analytics in the same way, too; in addition to being able to see heatmaps of your 360 of where people most frequently spent time interacting (see more below).
If you’re pressed for time/budget then this is great news. It's also means this is a good option for you even if you are not very familiar with Facebook ads.
One additional insight that Facebook 360° videos can provide is a unique heatmap of where a viewer's attention is focused.
This is great because it can offer you very real feedback on how a customer is visually interacting with your product or space.
You can get real first-hand data on how audiences spend their attention with your brand for a fraction of the price you would pay to have a marketing strategy firm run in-depth audience analysis with case studies and similar extensive processes.
A Leg up: Facebook 360° Ads
360° photos on Facebook and 360° videos on Facebook offer a sparkling chance to stand out from your competition.
By nature, 360s are more immersive than traditional media and have the power to immediately stop someone from scrolling.
This unique immersive content allows the presentation of brand ethos (and personality) in a new way - one that offers a deeper look into the spaces a business or brand might occupy.
Why? The answer isn't so cut and dry, as there many unique ingredients to a good piece of 360° content.
After creating 360° interactive content tailored for hundreds of unique applications, we think we've got a pretty good idea of how it works as a storytelling and advertising tool.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, Marketers spend 28% of their budget on content marketing. Use that 28% in the best way possible to give clients the highest ROI!
Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about interactive marketing on social media.
Mini Facebook 360 case study: How we know it works
The stats are backed by big data: 360° content significantly outperforms standard 2D content in terms of reach, engagement, and return on ad spend.
Fun fact: interactive content generates 2x more conversions than passive content (such as 2D photos).
No matter your field, people are looking for richer engagement in the world and on social media platforms like Facebook.
With 360° content, you can give someone that wow factor for the same ad spend.
Check out the chart below to see what we mean:
How to: Incorporate 360° content into marketing + Ad campaigns
As it stands today, there are unique ways to incorporate Facebook 360° content into your ad campaigns.
But 360° photos on Facebook and 360° videos on Facebook cannot be served via Facebook’s most robust ad formats yet.
The solution: post them on your timeline then boost the post as an ad.
To prevent clutter, (especially if you’re split testing), you simply can hide these from your timeline.
We expect a more robust 360° ad option to emerge on Facebook's platform in 2019, but for now you can still get incredible lift on ad campaigns with the existing solutions.
(Also: You don’t need any fancy technology to post and share 360° photos or 360° videos on Facebook. A laptop or smartphone works just fine.)
P.S., It's possible to run your 360° content as ads outside of social media for even broader reach, too.
Engage Customers on Mobile
...By leveraging their phone’s gyroscope to immediately spark curiosity.
Combine this experiential interaction with some creative 360° content and you’ll see why digital marketers are seeing insane lift in mobile click-through and mobile conversion rates.
The current average is 10x improvement on click-throughs, with mobile click-throughs going as high as +1300% for 360° content (Source: Omnivirt). (Yes, you read that right.)
Facebook Mobile Ads
Let's talk about these.
According to IAB, Ad spend on mobile hit $49.9 billion in 2017, a 36% increase from 2016 ($36.6b). By 2021, mobile’s share of digital advertising will rise to 79.2%.
Let that sink in. Facebook is becoming more competitive every day, especially on mobile, and is on track to become the definitive place that brands will be using to engage customers.
It's more important than ever to create content that is innovative, authentic, and engaging to cut through this clutter.
With such a majority of people using social media on their mobile devices, brands that don’t have optimized techniques of communicating with their fans through this channel will quickly fall behind.
Advertising on Facebook: New Developments
Facebook recently introduced the "Info and Ads" section on Facebook business pages in response to transparency concerns with the 2018 elections. (Twitter and Instagram have both launched similar transparency plays too.)
This means people can now see ads on Facebook that a business is actively promoting.
It provides an opportunity for brand transparency, plus it's a chance to show off your company's distinct creativity to curious Facebook users.
It is one thing to say as a business that you are cutting edge.
It is another thing to be cutting edge, and to give people a fascinating experience in a platform they're already familiar with.
360° media on Facebook creates new opportunities to engage users, but it's pretty clear to the Beaumonde team that brands are still looking for the right solution to launch programmatic/bespoke 360° ad campaigns on social media platforms.
Facebook Content in 3D-180 VR
In June 2018, the official Facebook 360 team announced that the platform now supports 3D-180.
This means Facebook users can actually go into VR viewing mode and truly immerse themselves in 3D content that has real depth.
This content shows up on the traditional news feed on mobile/desktop in a 2D (monoscopic) format, as well as in the Facebook 360 viewer on the Oculus Go, a VR headset developed by Facebook. On the Oculus Go, the content will be in 3D!
Here’s a pic I took with my phone showing the interface inside of the Oculus headset.
According to the official Facebook 360 blog:
Facebook 3D Photos
Update, October 11th, 2018: Facebook just announced that they now support the posting of 3D photos.
What used to be a phenomenon mostly limited to shiny books and movies about killer sharks seen through flimsy red & blue glasses has now become a technological reality on one the world’s most popular social media platform.
According to Facebook, “At this time, 3D photo creation is only possible on iPhones with dual cameras including the 7+, 8+, X and XS. However all devices and platforms will be able to view 3D photos posted to News Feed.”
What does a 3D photo look like? They’re pretty dang cool.
While this is true of creating 3D photos within Facebook, OmniVirt recently came out with a free tool that lets users create 3D photos on computers & tablets as well.
After using their tool, you can upload your 3D photos onto Facebook (however, uploading must still be done via iPhones of eligible model).
Live 360: Facebook 360 live Streaming
Going live on Facebook is nothing new, though doing so in 360° is a great opportunity to be distinct.
Viability here may be limited, as many marketers won’t have 360° cameras in their arsenal, though for some this could be a worthwhile option that sees tremendous success.
(And if you have questions about 360° video viability, please feel free to contact us.)
There are a few ways to start streaming in 360 on Facebook. We use an Insta360 Pro to stream at a whopping 6k/8k resolution.
This camera has built in livestreaming support that lets us stream directly into Facebook in high-resolution.
It’s a pretty heavy duty pro-sumer 360 camera though… If you want something pocket sized that will let you take Facebook 360 Live anywhere you go, then consider getting an Insta360 One or One X.
You can livestream in 360 with a decent resolution using your cellphone data from anywhere at any time.
Facebook Live 360 Use Case: pretend you are the promoter for a music festival company. You deliver hot performances and fresh content to audiences across the country.
Lately, you're under pressure to draw larger crowds, to increase engagement in social media campaigns, and to create more results with a static or shrinking budget.
As a cultural promoter, you’re probably already familiar with regular Facebook live video and Facebook stories.
Now you can get even more engagement doing the same kind of content – 360 style!
You decide to go live on Facebook in 360° once per week.
It doesn't have to be crazy fancy like doing handstands on top of a skyscraper.
Just something friendly, and relevant that takes advantage of the 360° medium.
You can even do live trivia using Facebook’s live questions feature. Before you know it, your audience will be tuning in weekly for your 360° live videos.
Facebook Augmented Reality: Using Spark AR, Facebook’s AR Studio
Want to launch Augmented Reality ads and content on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger? There’s a tool for that.
It’s called Spark AR, and it’s Facebook’s AR Studio. They say that it’s relatively simple to use, but you’ll need to be a least a little tech-savvy to work out the interface.
If you can get it going, then you can easily create augmented reality objects, effects and filters that can wow your audience.
Facebook Messenger (added Jan. 24, 2019):
I was pleasantly surprised when I recently shared a 360 photo through Messenger and saw that Messenger now supports native 360 viewing for Facebook 360 Photo and 360 Video.
This could be a great tool for engaging super fans on your Facebook page in unique and experiential ways. The only problem I noticed was when using Manychat to test the 360 feature, it seems that Manychat scrubs the 360 image metadata from content…
This means when it shows up as a message on the user end it’s no longer an interactive 360 image - it arrives as a flat image.
Consider how an experiential business may use direct to customer 360 image sharing to give them something special to consider.
Example: a music enthusiast messages a festival about their ticket release dates. The festival’s social media manager could check back in with that potential customer and share a 360 image of their festival, in order to demonstrate just how awesome the experience they’d be paying for is.
It’s easy to imagine how that would help a customer feel good about buying a ticket to an experience.
How 360 Impacts your marketing campaign, business, & Strategy Overall
Immersive media like 360° photos and videos, and graphics (plus VR and AR) are the future of content.
This field is expansively growing, which means more amazing options for marketers to choose from.
Adding interactive 360° content into your content budget shouldn’t be an impossibility – it should be a smart spend that supports your overall strategy to engage users and delight them in new ways.
Check out this spreadsheet we made that details which social media platforms support 360 & new media content. You’ll be surprised by how much is out there.
Facebook 360 in your Brand Strategy
Whether you are launching a social media campaign for your business or simply looking to generate more engaging posts, 360° media can help.
Facebook 360° content cuts through the clutter of timelines, increases reach, boosts ROI, and creates engaging experiences for your audience.
Interactive 360s integrate into brand strategies seamlessly: in our experience, their integration can even redefine social & brand strategies resulting in entirely new and unique approaches to brand-consumer interaction across platforms — online, and in person.