Advertisers and publishers alike are lining up in droves for the latest phenomenon: 360-degree virtual reality ads. And why not Backed by $2 billion in funds, Facebook recently unveiled the new format. “360 video represents an exciting creative opportunity for marketers that allows them to tell immersive stories, optimized for mobile devices,” the social media network announced. Facebook even has a microsite that provides brands and video creators help in producing in the format.
Publishers and other people and organizations using 360-degree video include: ABC News, BuzzFeed, Frontline, Vice Media, Nickelodeon, NBC’s Saturday Night Live , Fox’s Scream Queens, the New Orleans Saints and LeBron James.
Rebecca Markarian, senior vice president of digital and social media for Ayzenberg, a full-service advertising agency, joined [a]listdaily to discuss how brands and marketers can use the new format to their advantage. (Editor’s note: [a]listdaily is the media arm of the Ayzenberg Group.)
With Facebook enabling and championing virtual reality content, what kind of new engagement and immersive marketing opportunities does it offer advertisers, and users?
Only what marketers and creators can imagine. The format is great to build really immersive experiences we ve only seen in digital executions previously right into the video experience.
Considering these videos can be viewed on iOS, Android and the web, what does “360-degree marketing” allow that separates itself from more traditional options?
Freedom of viewer choice and deeper immersion. Viewers will be able to pick where they re looking and thus have the experience they want versus one that is forced upon them. But the video framework will still keep it tied to the story or intent so it s one-part open world one-part pre-defined story. Additionally, since there is 180 degrees more to see, immersion and completion rates will be higher as fans want to be sure they didn t miss anything.
What kind of budgets should brands be looking at to make these kind of videos?
Like any other video, you’ll see it all price points. Basic videos could probably be done for a few thousand but for those that really invest in story and quality and take the time to build out the immersive nature by delighting the viewer with something special at every angle it could be hundreds of thousands. The investment brands make should be appropriately aligned to their overall budget and KPIs. For the big spenders, just be sure you re using it to drive the result you want.
How can brands take a native advertising approach How would you describe the boundaries of what’s possible for marketing through virtual reality?
It’s so early in this medium I would say there are no boundaries outside of what we can imagine. As for native advertising, as with traditional video, it’s always about the story and authenticity. As long as you have that then native should be pretty easy.
Do you think Super Bowl 50 will be a coming out party of sorts for 360 ads? Will we see an infiltration of the format by February 2016?
Super Bowl is still so focused on TV that, while I’m sure it will be present, I don’t think it will be that huge. I suspect there won’t be one big moment that we’ll just see more and more brands trying it tied to regular campaign cadence.
How do you see virtual reality developing in the next five years What s realistic
As marketing teams learn the tech and begin to think in 360 I think the boundaries are infinite. I think we’re going to see video become a more immersive experience that can match that of digital which then provides brands and marketers with some interesting options. What’s out there today still feels a pretty rudimentary so I think we ll see higher quality visuals and more powerful story telling emerge as well.