T-Mobile Wins Over ‘Pokémon GO’ Players With Data Promotion

It’s incredible just how much popularity Pokémon GO has attained since its release last week, becoming the most popular mobile game in US history, surpassing Twitter in daily active users, and earning more than $14 million in microtransactions.

With that, a lot of companies are taking advantage of the game’s popularity with promotions, from small businesses hosting Pokéstops and special deals to bigger brands creating Pokémon-themed features like Spotify’s soundtracks and a special “Live Story” on Snapchat. But mobile carrier T-Mobile may have scored the biggest coup to date, offering a special promotion for its consumers to celebrate the release.

The mobile company recently announced that it’s thanking its customers by offering free, unlimited data for use with Pokémon GO for a year’s time starting July 19. Playing the game will not affect their current high-speed data plans. In addition, it will also offer a free Lyft ride to a nearby PokéStop or Gym location, a free Frosty provided by Wendy’s and a special deal on T-Mobile licensed accessories.

This is a very huge deal for mobile users, as it enables them to continue playing the game without the need to upgrade to a new data plan. T-Mobile will also award 250 different customers with $100 in Pokécoins, and five grand prizes winners will get trips anywhere in the US, so they can hunt for Pokémon creatures wherever they like.

“This is what T-Mobile Tuesday is all about—thanking customers with hot, new, totally free gifts every week, and right now, nothing is hotter than Pokémon GO!” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “With the carriers’ shared data schemes, players could easily burn up the family’s data bucket—and then, hello, overages! At T-Mobile, we’re unleashing Pokémon GO so our customers can play free for a year.”

There’s no word yet if other mobile carriers will follow suit with similar Pokémon GO! plans, so T-Mobile has the advantage at the moment.

‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ Promotion Awakens

This year’s Star Wars: Celebration event is in full swing in London, and while a number of panels will cover a variety of Star Wars-related topics from the forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII to the animated Star Wars: Rebels, there’s one project that’s receiving a tremendous amount of attention.

During the opening festivities, there was a huge celebration for the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story movie, a spin-off that tells the story of a brave team attempting to steal plans for the Empire’s mighty Death Star station. A panel featuring a majority of the film’s cast, including Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Donnie Yen alongside director Gareth Edwards got fans excited by presenting a “celebration reel” that showcased behind-the-scenes footage.

Disney is sparing no expense at promoting Rogue One as one of its biggest holiday releases, considering that its last Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, made well over $935 million domestically and more than $2 billion worldwide. It also did remarkably well on home video, and Starz paid top dollar for the cable rights to the film, set to premiere on September 10.

The promotion for Rogue One isn’t just at Celebration. ABC will be airing a Star Wars-themed special, Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey, tonight, and the newest movie trailer is expected to debut right along with it. There are hints that this snippet will also reveal a popular villain in the Star Wars universe—the return of Darth Vader.

Disney hasn’t laid out all its promotional plans for Rogue One yet, but they’re likely to be along the same lines as The Force Awakens, with a number of promotional partners, toys and other products related to the film. EA is working on new add-on content for its hit game Star Wars: Battlefront, but hasn’t detailed how or if it’ll tie in with the film.

There’s still plenty of time for Disney to continue Rogue One‘s push leading up to its release. Given its strong reception at the Star Wars Celebration, the Force is certainly strong with this movie.

Star Wars: Rogue One hits theaters on December 16.

Disney Interactive Explains Expressive Power Of Emoji Game

Disney Interactive is targeting moms and millennials with its new match-3 mobile game, Disney Emoji Blitz, which features over 400 emoji based on Disney and Pixar characters from films like The Little Mermaid, The Muppets, Monsters Inc., Toy Story, Finding Dory and Frozen.

Once an emoji is collected within the game, it is also unlocked in the special keyboard, which can be used to send Disney and Pixar emoji to friends in messages. With over 6 billion emoji sent around the world a day, Disney hopes to connect with this huge global audience. Disney Emoji Blitz has launched ahead of July 17, which is World Emoji Day.

Nacia Chambers, executive producer of Disney Emoji Blitz at Disney Interactive explains how the company is marketing this new take on match-3 in this exclusive interview with [a]listdaily.

Why did you decide to focus on emoji?

A little over a year ago, we started to realize how popular emoji were becoming in the culture at large. They’ve become a really fun way to communicate, which matches up so well with Disney storytelling. From there, it was just a little jump to creating those same, well-known, set of expressions for beloved Disney and Pixar characters at the center of a game and keyboard.

What does Emoji Blitz add to the match-3 mobile game genre?

We made a few tweaks to the crafted power-ups you typically see in match-3 games. Also, our meta game is not a linear saga map. It’s not new, but it feels refreshing.

Also, Emoji Blitz has more excitement than your normal match-3. Each game is a 60-second round filled with action, blitz modes, combos and power-ups. Plus, you never lose a level like in some match-3s. Every round of pure positive fun earns you gold, which you use to buy new emoji!

The bigger difference is our Disney emoji characters. Each character emoji has a unique power-up that affects the match-3 board in a way that relates to the Disney character you know and love. They add charm, whimsy and bring the Disney magic to each round.

Probably our biggest innovation is the extension keyboard. When you collect an emoji character in the game, it unlocks in an extension keyboard that you can use to communicate via text and email. As far as I know, this is the first game to offer that additional value to players. With the theme of Disney emoji, it was a natural fit and we’re glad that we were able to bring it to our audience.

How does the game connect with a person’s real chat and messaging through emoji?

As you play Disney Emoji Blitz, you collect emoji—both characters and items. Included as part of the Disney Emoji Blitz app “bundle” is an extension keyboard. When you install it, you can use all of your collected emoji in messaging apps. Players will be able to express themselves with a total of 400 emoji, eight expressions per character and over 200 Disney emoji items like Mickey’s shoe or a princess gown.

How do in-app purchases work?

The players can earn coins (soft currency) and gems (hard currency) through playing the match-3 rounds, competing on the leaderboards, as well as completing missions, item cards and daily challenges and villain events. Coins can be used to purchase new emoji through mystery boxes and boosters for the match-3 rounds. Gems can be used to speed up the game through things like skipping missions or speeding up timers. The whole game can be played for free, and all emoji unlocked for free using the earned coins and gems, but players are also able to speed up their progression with real money if they choose.

How does your game tap into the various Disney brands such as Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and others for emoji?

At its core for now, Disney Emoji Blitz focuses on Disney and Pixar character emoji. However, our item emoji give us flexibility to include some of the other brands in the Disney family. You’ll find lots of Disney Parks-themed item emoji at launch, including the Mickey Premium Bar, Matterhorn and Mickey Mouse Ear Hat emoji. And we’ll be adding more Disney brands over time. The game can also pull in different IPs through our special events. We already have fans asking for Star Wars and Marvel emoji, so it is very top of mind for the team.

What’s your target demographic for this game?

Our target demographics are moms and millennials. But we hope that Disney fans and casual gamers of all ages enjoy Disney Emoji Blitz.

How are you marketing this game to that age group?

We’re running a paid advertising campaign on Facebook, Instagram and other channels that help us to specifically target players in our demographic who love casual games. Because of the social nature of emoji, we’re also promoting the game on our Disney-owned social outlets with really adorable emoji ad creative to pull in Disney fans. We are also launching Disney Emoji channels on Instagram (@DisneyEmoji) and Facebook (@DisneyEmoji).

The team also has bi-coastal awareness events planned for our launch weekend… one in Times Square in New York City and one in Anaheim at Downtown Disney. We did a mini-takeover in Times Square at the Disney Store on July 14, with fun giveaways and the game on the jumbotron, Disney and Pixar emoji face fans for the crowd, and a takeover of the Disney Store front wall. On July 17, World Emoji Day, we’ll be celebrating at Downtown Disney with Radio Disney. There will be game demos, photo ops, contests and fun surprises for fans. Both events are going to be amazing.

What type of cross-promotions are there for this game across Disney brands?

Our marketing team has put together amazing support for this game in our launch window. During the mini-takeover of Times Square on the 14th, Good Morning America celebrated World Emoji Day and the launch of the game on air. Disney Channel will be celebrating the launch of the game starting on World Emoji Day, and we’ll be supported by the Disney Parks and Radio Disney at our Downtown Disney event on July 17.

What’s the rollout plan for additional emoji?

At launch, we’ll have more than 400 emoji. There will be 33 character emoji with eight expressions each, and over 200 Disney-themed item emoji like Cinderella’s slipper and a thumbs up Mickey glove. We’ll be adding two-to-four new character emoji and a handful of new item emoji every month.

White Paper: 5 Key Influencer Marketing Insights

Influencer marketing finally went mainstream in 2016. As the year progressed, many developments have had an impact on the strategy. Huge platform changes presented new opportunities for brands. A viral live stream broadened the consumer targets for influencers. Some marketers even prompted a false-alarm identity crisis for influencer marketing. Through it all, more brands realized the effectiveness of influencer marketing. Per Social Times, 84 percent of brands are now using influencer marketing to drive their business goals. To respond, the Influencer Orchestration Network  (ION) has updated their influencer marketing white paper and the new version is available now.

Influencer Marketing White PaperAfter another year of successful campaigns partnering with companies like Marriott, Microsoft and TinyCo, ION has folded more real-world experience and knowledge into the updated white paper. While the white paper’s research shows that influencer marketing was always more than a social media paid placement option, it also discusses how the strategy has evolved. Brands are no longer focused on working with creators with the largest subscriber base. Instead, marketers are looking for trackable engagement, working with the right influencers and the best platforms to help them reach their target audiences.

Vincent Juarez, principal at ION and an Ayzenberg EMV Index contributor, suggests the way forward for a more effective influencer strategy. “Brands that closely work with and facilitate real connections with the right influencers yield high ROI on collaborative campaigns,” says Juarez. The influencer marketing white paper is designed to help marketers make the case for building real relationships with cross-platform, middle-tier influencers that are uniquely aligned to a company’s brand.

5 Key Influencer Marketing Insights is now available for download from ION.co. Details about ION’s Brand Soulmates technology, which uses data and social sciences to identify the ideal influencers for your brand, can be found here.

Why Companies Are Loving Facebook Video Ads

Facebook has been experimenting with new video features for some time now, and they’ve paid off quite well, resulting in three billion daily views by the start of 2015 alone. But the real surprise is how quickly companies are turning to the social giant for advertising, using its video system to get the message across.

A new report from Mixpo, titled State of Digital Advertising Report, reveals how popular Facebook’s video has gotten. The report shows that 50 percent of companies have launched some form of video campaign on the site, a huge jump compared to the 31 percent on YouTube, and even bigger than Twitter (17 percent), Instagram (13 percent) and Snapchat (two percent).

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 11.42.18 AM

New video advertising campaigns are also on the way. The report points out that 36 percent of companies intend to utilize Facebook video ads sometime in the year ahead, based on findings from more than 250 digital publishers across the US.

“Facebook is the most effective way to reach a large digital audience,” the report noted.

The report also shows that digital video advertising will see a $10 billion spend this year—a 28 percent increase over 2015. Video is also seeing dominance in the mobile field, as the market for those devices will see a 47 percent growth year-over-year as well.

Part of that success comes from accessibility, according to Mixpo. “Today’s digital publisher can turn a single video into a scalable marketing asset that serves across TV and various owned and unowned digital channels.”

While Facebook video has most of the attention, Mixpo also noted the success of programmatic video spending. “By both feeding and benefiting from programmatic buying, publishers have helped US programmatic display ad spending grow into a $22 billion business.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 11.43.50 AM

While not every company is involved in programmatic advertising, 59 percent currently have some involvement for audience extension, and 17 percent of those polled intend to look into it in 2017.

Mixpo’s report also discusses mobile, as 48 percent of companies have some concerns regarding the increase in mobile consumption. They’re worried that there may be less traffic and inventory, and less revenue as a result. However, the company remained optimistic. “By pairing premium content with impactful mobile ad opportunities, publishers can play the supply/demand curve to their favor.”

Finally, the report discusses the digital ad formats with the highest ROI, with pre-rolls being the most effective, followed by rich media, display and social. Digital publishers are also working more to push their video tools beyond their own sites for other businesses and partners to use, with 61 percent successfully selling “audience extension packages.”

Publishers aren’t slowing down on ideas either, as more opportunities are likely to open up in the next year. “This means making video an option within every ad format, from interactive VPAID and VPAID 2.0 ads to in-banner video executions,” the report notes.

The report has quite a bit of eye-opening information for those looking to expand their video-based advertising on social media, especially on Facebook.

A secondary study, titled “Animoto’s Social Video Forecast 2016” says that 63 percent of marketers and small business owners are looking to invest more in video over the next year, while 60 percent of marketers polled stated that video marketing is a “must-have” in the market.

There’s no specific format that these videos need to follow. A report from Adweek pointed out that marketers are looking more into a square-shaped video format, making for a friendlier, TV-style ratio compared to the usual 16:9.

Data provided by digital shop Laundry Service points out that videos shot in this format have a 54 percent higher popularity than 16:9 clips, while 67 percent of audiences are more likely to watch a square-shaped video, rather than the usual format.

Image Source

Newzoo Reveals Most Viewed ESports Games For June 2016

Millions of fans around the world tune in to eSports-related events such as this weekend’s EVO tournament, which will be broadcast live from Las Vegas. However, it’s difficult to get a precise number of how many people tune in and how different games compare to each other. Fortunately, Newzoo has provided informative numbers to give us a bigger picture of the eSports scene.

Newzoo has posted a new report, Most Watched Games on Twitch by eSports and Total Hours, which measures not only the most popular titles on the streaming service, but also just how popular they are using data gathered from the past eleven months.

“Exposure on the platform can have a direct positive impact on player retention and game sales,” Newzoo noted, which echoes a similar statement made by Twitch’s Danny Hernandez.

Out of all the games on the market, established eSports favorites such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 dominated the list, with League‘s World Championship (Worlds) in October, generating nearly 60 million hours of viewership. In fact, League drew in almost 264 million hours of viewing over the past year alone. CS:GO also saw some big viewership numbers during the ESL One tournament in Cologne last August, gathering over 40 million hours viewed.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.53.28 AM

League accumulated 81.5 million viewing hours for June 2016 alone, making it the top selection for the month. Dota 2 followed closely behind with 56.6 million, and CS:GO took a healthy third place spot with 36.2 million. Other noteworthy titles include Blizzard’s fast-paced multiplayer shooter Overwatch (30 million) and the newcomer, Dead By Daylight (13.6 million). Other games were lower on the list, but still managed to generate a great deal of interest in terms of viewership, with the final entry, DayZ, getting 3.1 million.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.55.10 AM
Taking a closer look at the past year of viewership between the “big three” (Legends, CS:GO and Dota 2), League of Legends dominated in early October with its World Championship (as previously noted), but the numbers wavered quite a bit between the three games. Despite this, each one ultimately managed to get well over 200 million eSports hours watched on Twitch—a sign that none of these games are showing any sort of fatigue.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.56.30 AM

As far as the most-watched games on Twitch go, Dota 2 managed to swipe the lead from Legends, with 56.6 million hours watched overall for June and a 58 percent eSports share overall. Even though Legends had more hours (81.5 million), it only had a 33 percent share in eSports. Other noteworthy games on the list include Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft in fourth place (35.4 million hours, 19 percent share), Call of Duty: Black Ops III in sixth (11.5 million hours, 13 percent share) and Capcom’s popular fighting game Street Fighter V in seventh (2.4 million hours and a whopping 52 percent share). No doubt all eyes will be on Capcom’s brawler at EVO this weekend.

Nintendo Launching Mini NES, Makes Old New Again

Although Nintendo is still riding high on the tremendous success of Pokémon GO, it won’t have a new NX console or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to lean on this holiday season. However, it will offer another piece of hardware that should be an instant hit, as it was in the past.

The company has announced that it will be launching a mini collector’s edition NES, based on its original Nintendo Entertainment System console from 1985, this holiday season. Due to arrive on November 11th, the system will come with 30 pre-packaged games installed, as well as an HDMI cable, an AC adapter and one NES Classic Controller, selling for $59.99. Additional controllers will also be available for purchase at $9.99 each, ideal for two-player based games like Bubble Bobble and Super C.

While the system won’t make use of classic NES cartridges (as several knock-off consoles on the market currently do), it’ll offer more than enough 8-bit goodness for players to enjoy, including many original Nintendo games along with a variety of titles licensed through Square Enix, Koei Tecmo, Capcom and more.

“We wanted to give fans of all ages the opportunity to revisit Nintendo’s original system and rediscover why they fell in love with Nintendo in the first place,” said Nintendo of America president and COO, Reggie Fils-Aimé. “The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition is ideal for anyone who remembers playing the NES, or who wants to pass on those nostalgic memories to the next generation of gamers.”

Players will also be able to use the NES Classic Controller for playing old-school Virtual Console games on the Wii and Wii U game systems.

Fans have been clamoring for the system on social media since its announcement earlier this morning, taking to Twitter and Facebook and insisting that they’re going to buy it.

Nintendo should have no trouble making the mini NES into a bestseller for the holiday season, for two primary reasons:

  • Price: Whereas most game hardware these days sells around the $300-$400 range, the mini NES is priced to move at $59.99. And since it includes an HDMI cable, that makes it instantly compatible with current televisions.
  • Nostalgia: Nintendo wisely mixed up the selection of games included with the mini NES, including a few third-party favorites that were popularized on the original console. Additionally, having the two original Zelda games installed may help further promote The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for both new and existing fans of the series.

The games included on the system are:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenue
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Final Fantasy
  • Galaga
  • Ghosts ‘n Goblins
  • Gradius, Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mega Man 2
  • Metroid
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Man
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventures of Link

It seems that the “power” of the original NES, as shown in the commercial below, has faded little in over thirty years.

Razer Exec Discusses How Brands Can Navigate ESports And VR Waters

Open Source Virtual Reality, a content accelerator program led by Razer, is designed to support the vastly developing VR community.

With that mission fully in mind, Razer announced a $5 million developer fund to bring more VR content into the ecosystem, as well as the release of their second installment of the Hacker Development Kit, at E3 this year.

“VR is working toward being a mainstream success thanks to all the developers who have stepped up to the plate to deliver the next-generation in interactive experiences,” says Chris Mitchell, the virtual reality lead at Razer. “The OSVR Developer Fund allows us to directly support the efforts of VR pioneers across the breadth of this developing industry, while at the same time ensuring that content is available to everyone in the industry. It is our contention that if everyone who is constructively contributing to the VR ecosystem succeeds, then VR will succeed. Closed doors in the world of development are a death sentence.”

Justin Cooney, Razer’s director of developer relations for OSVR, added: “We understand content developers have various development challenges and we’re committed to helping them get ahead of those barriers. The OSVR Developer Fund helps to support initial sales while enabling developers to contribute to the VR industry as a whole. Together, OSVR and its content partners enjoy the realization of a shared vision for the future of VR.”

[a]listdaily caught up with Mitchell (video above) to discuss how they’re enabling content creators, and how non-endemic brands can get involved with virtual reality and eSports verticals.

New XSplit Platform Will “Connect Entire Gaming Community”

SplitmediaLabs, creators of the popular XSplit Gamecaster program, which allows gamers to easily set up and customize livestream broadcasts, then edit videos using the XSplit Broadcaster, is looking to take streaming to the next level. Today, the company announced the acquisition of gaming discovery and social platform Player.me and tournament management service, Challonge. Both are part of an investment strategy to “create a platform that connects the entire gaming community with the content they love.”

Henrik Levring, CEO of SplitmediaLabs, stated in a press release that, “To date we’ve been mainly focused on maintaining leadership and driving organic growth of XSplit, but these acquisitions will move us into the realm of providing more services for the gaming community as part of a grander vision.” Levring further stated, “We’re going to shake things up a bit over the next few years, by making streaming opportunities as accessible and rewarding as possible for all, from individual players and content creators to eSports entrepreneurs and publishers.”

SplitmediaLabs’ chief marketing officer, John Howe Marshall, spoke with [a]listdaily to discuss the creation of this new platform, the goal of bringing the entire gaming community together, and what it could mean for content creators, viewers and everyone in between.

What led to the acquisition of Player.me and Challonge?

These acquisitions are part of a total $10 million investment strategy to build out a platform to bring the entire gaming community together, from high-profile streamers to viewers and everyone in between. With Player.me and Challonge, we are able to start building on this broader vision.

How do XSplit, Player.me and Challonge complement each other?

I think the three services complement each other really well. XSplit is the tech that helps millions of streamers create professional quality content. Player.me is all about discovering content and creators that you’ll love based on the games and genres of games that you play. Challonge makes setting up game tournaments super quick and easy. These are all things that are really important to streamers and consumers of livestream content as well—high-quality broadcasts, discovering new viewers and new content, and setting up awesome online events.

What can XSplit subscribers look forward to as a result of these acquisitions?

XSplit subscribers can look forward to a broader range of services tailored to the specific needs of the streamer and content creator. Beyond providing the technology and tools to create high-quality streams and broadcasts, we’ll be working to help make streaming more accessible and more rewarding than ever.

Can you give us some insight on what the “grander vision” for the new XSplit platform might include?

While I can’t give too many specifics, we’re working to build a new platform for everyone in the gaming community, streamers and viewers alike. We want to help players connect with one another, share and create content, and even compete with one another as they grow their own followings and communities. By bringing in Player.me and Challonge we’re taking a huge first step toward this.

In what ways will the new XSplit platform different from services such as Steam, Twitch or Facebook Live?

Our platform will be different in that it is tailored specifically to players and broadcasters of gaming content. We work closely with content creators of all sizes and have an intimate understanding of the needs of the streamer—from the perspectives of technology, community, monetization and discoverability. We’re baking all of that into our platform because we strongly believe that internet video content is changing the way the world consumes media. We’re building a platform to change the way players everywhere come together, create and share. We really feel [that] what we’re developing is actually going to be complementary to the likes of Steam, Twitch and Facebook Live.

What challenges are ahead in growing the new platform?

We’ll surely face many of the same challenges that any new platform hitting the market will. One challenge for us going forward will be to continue to grow the popularity of streaming, both from a creation and consumption standpoint.

Ideally, what do you want people to think of when they hear XSplit?

When people think about XSplit, we still want them to think of it as the best option for livestreaming and content creation—but when people think about Player.me, we want them to think about content and community as the new platform will aggregate Challonge and other services going forwards. We want people to think of Player.me as a one-stop shop for all their needs, whether they are a streamer looking to grow their audience, a player discovering new communities, or a viewer looking to find more awesome content.

How To Know If 360 Video Is Right For Your Brand

Sometimes, as a marketer, it’s tempting to hop on that hype train and see where it leads. The rest of the time, brands are wisely cautious about investing in new and potentially fleeting technology. One such trend is 360-degree video, an interactive medium that has seen some traction in the world of marketing. This may leave you asking, “is 360 video right for my brand?” To answer that, let’s answer these burning questions:

Does 360 Video Work?


In a recent experiment, Google created two ads for Columbia Sportswear, one with traditional video and the other offering 360-degree interaction. Although the viewer-retention rate was higher on traditional video, the 360 ad had a significantly larger click-through rate. In other words, users did not have to look at the video for long before deciding to watch it in its entirety. In total, the 360 ad drove 41 percent more earned actions than the standard ad and drove more engagement with Columbia’s YouTube channel than the standard ad. Google also determined that people were sharing the full-length video by cutting and pasting the URL.

“In fact, we saw messaging apps like WhatsApp and iOS messenger listed among the traffic sources for the 360 version—but not for the standard version,” says Jim Habig, product marketing manager at YouTube, per the Think With Google report. “The full-length 360 video had a 46 percent higher view count at the end of our experiment than the standard full-length piece. As a result, the 360 ad was a more efficient buy since its cost-per-view was lower when organic and paid views were combined.”

Other brands chasing the 360 dragon on YouTube include car manufacturers such as BMW and Infiniti and musicians like Eminem and Beyoncé.

Recently, Samsung teamed up with the World Surfing League for a virtual surfing trip in Tahiti, showing off its Samsung Gear VR camera; the video currently sits at over 16 million views. Networks are also getting in on the action, changing the landscape of television reporting. On YouTube, the Discovery Channel and Mythbusters took viewers under the waves to explore a shark-infested shipwreck, resulting in 10.6 million views. ABC News, meanwhile has garnered 18.6 million views on Facebook for their 360-degree tour of a New York Times Square blizzard in January.

Who Can Use 360 Video?

Anyone with a story to tell, so long as it’s told effectively. We’ve documented 360 marketing campaigns for Coors Light and Holiday Inn, and their executives echo the same sentiment.

Wirewax is the world’s first interactive video platform, adding clickable hotspots, or “tags,” to any moving person or object in a video. This technology can be used for facial recognition, learning more about a piece of art or clicking on a video of food to get a recipe.

“360 is a thing that needs to be creative,” warned Wirewax co-founder, Dan Garraway at this year’s [a]list summit. “It needs to be thought about as much as [when] you’re making a normal video. A lot of the problem with technology when it applies to creative industries [is that] people get very excited about the technology but lose the creative. So one of the reasons why this 360 interactive project we’re launching with Ayzenberg is so important is that the guys have been thinking about it from concept outwards. It’s about using the narrative and actually making a point for making it 360. There is interaction which adds to the narrative of the story.”

With the addition of YouTube’s 360-degree livestreaming capabilities, brands can get creative with the way they unveil new products, take users behind the scenes or broadcast events. If a brand can be translated to visual storytelling, chances are, a 360 video can work, too. Rather than “talk at” a potential customers, brands are inviting them to explore a world created just for them. It’s the difference in attractiveness between “psst, hey you wanna see something cool?” and “come inside, we made cookies.”