Why VR Content and 360° Photos are Your Best Investment in the Next 5 Years
You've probably heard a bit about VR content, and how it's revolutionizing how we communicate and understand our world of experiences. (And VR is more than just futuristic headsets.)
This article will:
Explore the many fields in which people, and businesses, are using VR content and 360° photos to distinguish themselves.
Demonstrate the longevity of VR and 360°.
VR Content and 360° Photo Basics
Interactive content, such as VR and 360° interactive media, are widely applicable, versatile, and extremely successful.
360° interactive content works great to increase brand transparency, for social media campaigns, content marketing strategies, to educate audiences, and even as an art form.
Who is Using 360° & VR content?
Currently, 360° virtual tours are most popular in real estate, for local businesses, museums, art spaces, and public spaces. (And many businesses are on Google Street View via 360° tours.)
A business chooses this content because they value the direct engagement they can get with their market via 360° VR interactive content.
360° content increases brand transparency while driving engagement online, which of course is great news for you if you are an event promoter, advertiser, or business owner.
360° photos and VR content work great and integrate seamlessly into:
social media campaigns,
a business' content marketing strategy,
and as part of a content mix.
From brand activations, marketing pieces, and advertisements, to virtual tours and event coverages, 360° photos offer unprecedented originality.
For example, we attended Durhams' Moogfest earlier this year and created dynamic 360° interview and live-performance pieces. We did the same for Beats N Bars hip-hop festival in Durham, too. And for Hopscotch the year before.
Social Media Marketing
As I wrote in a blog post last week, there is a lot of clutter on social media: more than ever, businesses and artists need to create unique content to make cut through the noise.
Interactive advertising (via 360) is more successful than passive, 2D ads. For example, a Beaumonde hip-hop event client saw +800% increase in organic sharing on Facebook with our interactive media.
As it stands right now, 360° interactive content works best with Facebook and Twitter. Both platforms support 360° photos, 360° videos, 360° live stream, and 360° advertisements. (Instagram doesn't support 360 in any form... yet.)
This is great news for marketers looking to reinvigorate their ad campaigns, get more for the same or less ad-spend, engage audiences, and to be cutting edge.
P.S., VR and 360° media work great on mobile! In comparison to traditional content, mobile click-throughs are going as high as +1300% for 360° content (Source: Omnivirt).
What Makes 360° Photos Unique
360° interactive content offers further possibilities in how we engage with and remember experiences. Like going to hear your favorite hip-hop artist live in concert.
Share-ability for businesses
With so much content on social media, it is important to be able to share with potential customers the genuine pith of that which is advertised with greater clarity and speed. At the same time, while retaining authenticity.
Interactive VR content offers a quickness, and clarity, of messaging; while also grabbing people's attention on websites and social media. In turn, proving highly compelling content that people want to share.
According to an Ion Interactive survey, 88% of marketers said that interactive content is effective in differentiating their brand from their competitors.
Additionally, 93% of marketers agreed that interactive content is effective in educating its buyers.
Stand Out from the Crowd
As millennial spending on experiences increases every year, marketing campaigns for these experiences must adapt to stand out of the crowd online.
It is becoming more important than ever to bridge the in-person experience with what potential fans and customers are seeing online.
360° content bridges this gap seamlessly between the in-person experience and the screen. In turn, consumer decision-making can be quicker and less fraught with apprehension.
What's in a 360?
Check out this 360° photo we got of two musicians at Moogfest:
Notice the clickable sound-bites over the artists' heads where they introduce themselves? And the music-note icon that lets you play their music directly in the 360?
We also added streamlined integration of captions, hyperlinks, and event information, so that people can more directly access the artists' music alongside sponsor information.
A Hypothetical Case Study
Imagine: a brewery could feature, on their website, and on Facebook, 360° tours of the farms where their ingredients are sourced, of their kitchens, factories, offices and processes.
Little things like seeing beer being brewed in large vats can become a part of peoples' experiences online.
Then there's the chance to 'meet' the staff. Like the sound bites incorporated into the RaundHaus 360° photo we saw above. Participants can hear the voices those pictured, see their faces, where they work and what motivates them to wake up every day - their purpose.
360° Photos are an Art Form
There is a huge opportunity here for artists. Take a look at this 360° photo we snagged of the sunflower fields at Dorthea Dix park in Raleigh, NC. In only four days online, it has almost 33 thousand views on kuula. (Update: 2 weeks after posting it has over 76k views. 76,738 to be exact.)
360s are great for spaces and vistas, for landscapes, for cafés, for skylines, and even showing off art studios.
Maybe it's just me, but I'm surprised that 360° photography isn't being taken as seriously on a larger scale by photographic artists. 360° photos aren't being framed and hung in galleries just yet, but framing a revolving photograph in 360° and letting visitors interact doesn't seem so far fetched. (Harry Potter, anyone!?)
Longevity of VR and 360° content
VR content and 360° photos are not just a fad.
Last year, the global VR/AR content market grew 72%, reaching $3 billion. And according to BusinessInsider.com, "the global VR market is forecast to grow at a nearly 81% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2016 to 2024, according to Global Market Insights.”
In an industry report released by Social Media Examiner, statistics overwhelmingly pointed to the increases in spending and resources on interactive content.
360° interactive content will soon be a common & multi-purpose tool for content marketers, artists, activists, promoters, and many others alike.
This is not about jumping on the bandwagon. This is about exploration and the discovery of something worthwhile. Will 360° media will not be the silver bullet panacea cure-all for your business? Probably not. But it will help you to engage more authentically with your audience, to provide memorable & unique experiences for people, and to increase reach while seeing huge improvements on ROI, CTRs, and more, all for the same amount of ad-spend.
Why This is your Best Investment in the next 5 years
Incorporation of interactive advertising and 360° virtual media into brands already is seeing vast successes.
Event promoters are selling more tickets, people are engaging more authentically online, artists are discovering new ways to express themselves, gaining more fans, and creating beautiful content that converts online.
This is owed in part to the simple nature of 360° content being interactive. For businesses, marketers, and artists alike, this is a great opportunity to try something unique that is low risk and relatively inexpensive.
Interested in getting started with 360° VR content? We're here to help. Check out our services page to see what we do, and how that could maybe help you.
Andrew Cheek is the Head Writer and Content Coordinator for Beaumonde. He graduated from NC State University and is in process of polishing the manuscript for his children’s novella. With a background in literature and film, and a taste for half-marathons, Andrew’s inspirations range from Virginia Woolf to Wes Anderson to his Adidas running shoes. You can find Andrew on Twitter and LinkedIn.