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4 Distribution Channels to Help Leverage 360 Degree & VR Content Today

Distribution channels to help leverage 360 degree & VR content header

At the recent digital marketing conference, DMEXCO, there were two big takeaways that both marketers and publishers must take note of. First was the premise that consumers are demanding experiences. Second was that they don’t want to be “told” stories, they want to be immersed in them.

Adobe’s vice-president of marketing strategy, Suresh Vittal Kotha, phrased it well when he said that marketers are now “selling experiences; products and services are just along for the ride.” That sentiment was echoed in another session with Matt Gee, the head of digital transformation at the digital creative agency Isobar. He said it’s a simple premise:

“If we make better experiences for our customers, they will transact more with our brands,” he said. “It really is that simple.”

Luckily, two technologies that are finally coming of age, namely spherical 360 degree content and Virtual Reality, can address both issues as they serve as highly effective vehicles for immersion while simultaneously delivering a truly sensorial experience. The best part is they can be leveraged today and below are four effective distribution channels that enable brands to satiate the consumer demand for a whole new level of brand engagement.

1. Live Activations

Whether it’s at a trade show, a fair, a sporting event, or an in-store activation, 360 and VR can be used at live events to connect with consumers in ways never before possible. Executions can range from the simple to the elaborate with the more simple employing the use of mobile VR devices like Samsung GearVR or Google Cardboard.

Girl immersed in virtual reality using Google Cardboard

More elaborate installations, what are called 4D VR experiences, can also be implemented. These typically include the use of higher end VR systems like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or soon to be released Sony Playstation VR. These experiences can also feature everything from haptic vests, scent dispersion contraptions, wind machines, stationary bicycles, harnesses and more to heighten the senses. Regardless, they are able to create high levels of immersion – what is called presence, and hopefully leave users feeling more connected to a brand.Woman trying out a 4D VR experience

2. Social Media

Another channel for distributing 360 & VR content is via social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. Both have made it relatively easy to share immersive 360 & VR experiences with consumers and the numbers show that people are interested. From insurance and automotive brands to consumer products and entertainment properties, millions of eyeballs are watching this content. And why shouldn’t they, it’s different, engaging and truly puts the consumer in control because they’re in charge of what they look at. This content also provides context which can add a whole new level to any experience.

3. Native or Locally Hosted Content

A brand website or app is also a logical place to feature 360 content – even content with VR mode. This seems like such a basic move but a tactic that has been overlooked by quite a few brands who have gone through the effort and expense of creating 360 & VR content. Perhaps they’re unaware that with the right technology partner it’s not difficult to incorporate your 360 / VR creation into your app or website.
Feature 360 content in a website or app
4. Ad Units

Rich media ad units are another available channel that provide the opportunity to scale your 360 / VR content investment. And to be clear, I’m not talking about putting ads into VR experiences like games and the like that people can enjoy via a Samsung Gear, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR. I’m referring to ads that can live on any of today’s web browsers or apps. We like to call these “super” rich media ads because they’re far superior to the rich media ads to which most advertisers, publishers and consumers are accustomed. Virtual reality and 360 degree content can in fact occupy today’s traditional digital ad spaces like banners, skyscrapers, leaderboards, etc.

Phones feauturing 360 virtual reality ad unitsBy putting this content into today’s digital ad spaces, a marketer can turn an ordinary banner ad into the spectacular. Ads take on a new life and the level of engagement is significantly heightened. Creatives now have an entirely new ad canvas to work with that also features 10x the real estate space!


These 360 degree and VR ads can incorporate a great variety of art assets and can take on a myriad of features and interactivity. They can serve as endless rabbit holes in which the consumer can direct their ad experience and explore brands like never before. And what’s even more appealing is that they can also be created by using existing 2D assets. This means it isn’t always necessary to go through the expense of creating a 360 / VR video experience. That’s because 360 and VR ads can be created with a great variety of art assets such as:

Clearly 360 degree and Virtual Reality are technologies to which marketers and publishers need to pay attention. They present the next level of brand and ad engagement by delivering on two key desires – they offer engaging, memorable experiences coupled with highly immersive storytelling opportunities where the consumer truly feels part of the whole. Perhaps the even better news is that there are multiple channels that exist today which can be employed to distribute this captivating content. Which begs the question, what are you waiting for?

All About 360 Degree Ads and Virtual Reality Advertising: The First Mover Advantage

First Mover Advantage with 360/VR Ads

Over the course of the past month and a half, we’ve brought to you much insight about this whole new world of 360 degree ads and virtual reality advertising. Hopefully, your eyes have been opened to the many possibilities these new mediums present and you recognize that you can integrate both into your digital marketing strategies today. There’s no need to wait for virtual reality headsets to reach critical mass nor do you have to go through the expense of creating a 360 video experience that comes with VR mode (see Part 2 in our series). Still, some are on the fence and rather than experiment with something new they take a wait and see approach.

Perhaps the reason why many employ this tactic is because too often people are afraid of the unknown – it’s basic human nature. But we’re here to tell you that there’s no need to fear emerging technologies like 360 degree content, virtual reality and even augmented or mixed reality. For those of us in the fields of marketing and advertising, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to reach our target customers. We search for methods to drive engagement and boost ROI and vehicles that will make our product stand out from the clutter. Which is why now is the best time for brands to start leveraging these new technologies and take the first mover advantage.

Marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the first experts to point this out. One of his infamous quotes is that “Marketers ruin everything”.

A novice observer may think that he’s bashing the entire fields of marketing and advertising, but in fact the opposite is true. His words are actually a warning to brands and advertisers everywhere that he who acts first wins. As marketers, our job is to watch where people’s attention is going and when we find a new place that is capturing their attention we move there. A perfect illustration of this is the recent Pokemon Go phenomenon. As the app exploded, it seemed like every other news article was about the new craze and how businesses were trying to leverage Pokestops. Vaynerchuk argues this strategy has been going on since the beginning of man and will always be the case. As he says, “That’s just the way it is and that’s fine.”

With these words in mind we thought it would be helpful to review a few recent stats related to 360 and VR content as they help illustrate that the public’s attention and interest in these technologies is steadily growing. If you take a look at the results of a study conducted this past summer by Greenlight Insights you’ll see how positively consumers view brands that sponsor virtual reality.

Greenlight Insights 2016 Virtual Reality Consumer Adoption Report

Even more indicative of the consumer’s interest in VR and 360 degree content are some of the figures below. People are hungrily consuming the content that’s already out there and more and more is being created and shared daily.

So in this moment in time as 360 degree, virtual, augmented and even mixed reality tech comes on line, there’s tremendous opportunity for those brands savvy enough to embrace these immersive platforms. The first mover advantage is in plain sight. So what are you waiting for? Start experimenting with this new technology today, because before you know it, we marketers will ruin it again!

All About 360 Degree Ads and Virtual Reality Advertising: The Power of 360 Video

Power of 360 Video Ads

It’s week #5 of our blog series on “All About 360 Degree Ads and Virtual Reality Advertising.” By this time, we hope you’ve become familiar enough with 360/VR ads to be convinced that this emerging technology will change how you do advertising. We also hope that it’s encouraged you to take action and leverage 360/VR ads today.

Since the beginning of our series, we’ve wanted to raise awareness about advertising in 360 degree and virtual reality, while simultaneously challenging what people knew about it. We didn’t want people to think that 360/VR ads were limited to just videos. We want people to realize that 360 degree ads and virtual reality advertising are much more than that and the license they give you to be creative is virtually without limit. That’s why throughout this series, we’ve introduced to you different ways of using 360/VR ads. We’ve shown you how something as simple as 2D images can create an interactive 360/VR ad. We’ve also demonstrated how 360/VR ads can “break” the boundaries of digital ad space, and let you input an unlimited amount of products. Finally, we discussed the effectiveness of gamified ads and how 360 and virtual reality could improve this already effective ad format.

Even so, we can no longer avoid the obvious. After all, we promised that we would deal with all things 360/VR advertising. This means that we’re bound to talk about 360/VR video ads. It’s just not possible to do a series covering 360 degree and Virtual Reality advertising without dedicating a whole post to what’s probably the most prevalent 360/VR ad format in the market (at least for now).

360 Videos with Virtual Reality Mode

Today, the largest 360/VR video libraries are Facebook and YouTube. Interestingly enough, most of the 360/VR videos in those libraries are user-generated. This is a good thing because it tells us that the public is interested in 360/VR videos and it should be a sign for companies to start leveraging 360/VR Video Ads. That doesn’t mean however that companies aren’t taking advantage of 360/VR Video as a marketing and advertising vehicle. On the contrary, the brands that have posted 360 videos to Facebook and YouTube are generating millions of views and they come from all different industries. Some of the familiar brands that have created 360/VR content are BMW, Oreo, Liberty Mutual, TOMS, Game of Thrones, Nikon and many more. See below for an example of how we turned one of these basic 360 videos into an expanding, native banner ad (some might call this a 360 outstream ad).

One thing that’s important to note is that 360 degree videos uploaded to Facebook and YouTube do have limitations in terms of their viewability. For starters, if you’re on mobile you can only watch 360 videos via the Facebook or YouTube apps – try to enjoy them on a mobile browser and you’re out of luck. And if you want to watch a Facebook 360 video in VR you better have a Samsung Gear VR headset and the appropriate Samsung phone because you can’t view them with a Google Cardboard or similar VR viewing device.

Plus these are just two marketing outlets – granted they’re big outlets but odds are your target customer frequents other digital properties. Furthermore, you better hope that people find your 360 video because they can be a challenge to find…especially on Facebook where their “search” feature leaves much to be desired. Therefore, if you want your 360/VR video ads to have a wider reach, you would need an ad solution like that offered by Advrtas where you can feature that 360 video in a rich media ad unit or have it sit natively in publisher’s content as 360 outstream video (did we mention we were the first to market with a 360 outstream video solution complete with one touch VR mode?).

What It Takes

If you do decide that you want to take the plunge into creating a branded 360 degree video ad then you need to know some basics going in. From the cameras, lighting, and sound to the narrative and 360 specific post production elements – creating 360 video content is a whole new animal because it offers an entirely new way of storytelling. As such, you need to approach its creation with a different eye than traditional video because the viewer has complete control of the viewing experience and can look anywhere they want. Up, down, left, right, backwards & frontwards.

If you want a more commercial or professional grade experience your best option is to hire a pro because there’s a lot that goes into creating a 360 video experience with VR mode. When doing so, keep in mind that as with any other kind of video shoot, cost is typically equated with quality. So if you’re looking to create a very high production value 360 video you should be prepared for higher costs. If hiring a professional is out of your budget, there are plenty of affordable 360 cameras on the market that generally have average quality and come with features like auto stitching software to aid in post production. This link might help get you started on making the best choice for you.

Ultimately, you need to be aware that when creating 360/VR video ads the costs will add up and it will definitely be more expensive than a standard video. After all, 360/VR Videos require special cameras, special lighting, special editing (you need to stitch the videos together to make it 360), and there are also a lot of logistics to consider.

Is it Worth it?

Will the benefits outweigh the costs? To help answer that question it’s best to look at the numbers. A few months ago, we released an infographic on the effectiveness of 360/VR Video Ads. Compared to traditional display, 360/VR ads are generating higher click through rates, more views, higher levels of engagement, and lower cost per impression (Read this case study for more details about it) than traditional display ads. There are also the studies that reveal how favorably consumers, especially millennials, positively view brands that engage in advertising in 360 degree and VR content.

All the positive numbers aren’t surprising when you consider that 360/VR content engages consumers in ways that traditional display can never do. So there’s no denying that there are plenty of benefits that you can reap from a 360/VR ad. One last reminder is that if you do decide to go down the path of creating a 360 degree ad experience with virtual reality mode – whether it’s video or non-video, is that you leverage it across all marketing channels – that means going beyond Facebook and YouTube, and you need to include a call to action. We’ll tell you more about how to do this in next week’s post so stay tuned. Till then, here’s an infographic featuring 360 video viewing stats for you to ponder.

Brands that Use 360 VR Videos and Views

All About 360 Degree Ads and Virtual Reality Advertising: Let the Games Begin!

Let Games Begin Header

For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking nonstop about 360 degree and virtual reality ads through this blog series. We corrected misconceptions, talked about how images could be used to create 360 VR ads and create some sort of “rabbit hole of interactivity,” and we even talked about how the possibilities are endless by putting an infinite amount of products in your digital ad space. With just these examples alone, it’s not hard to realize that there are so many ways that your company can leverage 360 degree and virtual reality technology for advertising and marketing today. I mean, if you have a whole 360-degree space to play with, it’s really only your imagination that can limit what you can do. This week, we highlight how blending the worlds of advertising, video games, and 360 degree and VR technology can elevate the ad experience.

The World of Video Games and Virtual Reality

Video games are a way of storytelling. With them, you can take people to other Clash of Clansworlds or even give them the ability to do things they can’t do in the real world. Unlike linear tv shows and movies, video games give you the capability to be in control of your fate. You’re no longer a bystander that’s passively watching content fed to your screen, you’re now an active player in the video game world.

The world of virtual reality is very similar and also very different from the world of today’s non-VR video games. Just like video games, virtual reality is another way of storytelling. With it, you can be either a bystander or an active player in the virtual world. What’s different though is that with VR you’re at the heart of it all. No longer are you viewing things from faraway, you’re actually in the scene itself – engaging and interacting. With VR video games, the concept of no longer being a bystander, but an active participant is totally different, because instead of controlling a character in a video game like some sort of puppet, the character is you.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the video game industry has been one of the first to fully embrace 360 degree and VR technology. It combines two methods of storytelling into one and leverages the advantages that both of them bring.

Advertising: A Different Type of Storytelling

If you think about it, ads offer brands the ability to connect with the consumer by telling a story. Sadly, not many advertisers see it that way or they fall far short of the mark. Consequently, this has contributed to ad blindness, lower ad engagement, and abysmal click through rates. If you ask most, an effective ad is one that tells a story – and not just any story that’s hashed for the sake of making an ad, but a story that really connects with consumers. If you check out the stats on engagement and views for the highly creative ads that are produced just for the Super Bowl, you’ll certainly find evidence to support this. (Check out this article from Ad Week for more on ads and storytelling).

The element of storytelling is what makes 360 and virtual reality ads very effective, because it gives you many more tools to work with. Also, 360 and virtual reality technology lets you tell the consumer a story while immersing them in your product or brand – sparking an emotional connection that a standard ad can rarely, if ever, do. Imagine, then, what would happen if you combine the user control of video games, the immersion of 360 & virtual reality, and advertising together and create a whole different way of telling stories through gamified 360/virtual reality ads?

Something New: Gamified 360/Virtual Reality Ads

The concept of gamified ads is not a new one. It’s not unusual if, at one time or another, you’ve already experienced one and even engaged with one. In fact, it’s been proven that game-like ads are a more effective way of advertising. According to a study, gamified ads have a 6% higher engagement rate than traditional ads. Gamified ads are so effective that they can generate CTRs that reach a whopping 28.8%, which is pretty impressive considering that traditional rich media ads only have a CTR of less than 1%.

On the other hand, 360 degree and virtual reality advertising are also showing promising results by being 35 times more effective than traditional display ads (check out this infographic). To further compound this, another study shows that 51% of people are more likely to buy a product from a brand that leverages virtual reality than one that doesn’t. With these stats in mind, it’s not a stretch to suggest that gamified 360 degree and virtual reality ads will be very successful in terms of effectiveness and overall ad engagement.

Mr. Clean Holding Mobile Phone Playing GameGamified 360/VR ads have the potential to be a game changer (no pun intended) in advertising because they offer the opportunity for greater storytelling and brand immersion while handing control over to the consumer.Imagine an ad for an all-purpose cleaning product like Mr. Clean where the challenge is to clean up a household mess before guests come over. The consumer is immersed in a 360 world that can also be experienced via a Google cardboard like VR headset, where the muscly mascot is at the ready when you need help to suggest which of the Mr. Clean products would work best to clean up particular messes. Before you know it, the consumer is learning that the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is just the ticket to tackle those messy fingerprints on the wall and the rust around the kitchen sink while the Multi-Purpose Spray is the perfect solution for cleaning up all the grime in the oven. A timing element adds to the fun and before you know it the brand has connected with the consumer via a story we can all relate to (cleaning before guests come over) while also providing entertainment as well as communicating key brand messages. As an added perk, by successfully cleaning the house in time, the user is rewarded with a coupon. It’s a win, win, win all around!

Another illustration is creating a hide & seek game in which consumers have to look around an environment in 360 degrees and search for characters from a movie. Take the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling, for example. What a delight for fans to find themselves immersed in the amazing world of wizardry where their task, if they dare, is to find a myriad of beasts in hiding. We’ve created a prototype just for the fun of it, but imagine if this demo included more bells and whistles, additional levels, a timing component, and more. (Check out the live Beasts demo). The same concept can also be applied to skateboarding gear as illustrated in the demo below.

Once you start thinking, the possibilities are endless! From mazes, running games, first person shooters, survival challenges, puzzles, you name it! By blending the success and popularity of games and gamified ads with the effectiveness and immersion of 360 degree and virtual reality technology, we have yet another example that the next level of ad engagement has truly arrived.

So what are you waiting for? Contact Advrtas today to leverage gamified 360/VR ads for your company and let the games begin!

All About 360 Degree Ads and Virtual Reality Advertising: The Possibilities are Endless

Feature an Infinite Amount of Products with 360 VR Ads

This post was co-written by Laura Barton

As a company focused on leveraging the content platforms of 360 degree and Virtual Reality for advertising today, it’s no surprise that we talk about 360/VR ads a lot. You can’t blame us. These emerging technologies excite us and we’d like to share their power with other people too.That’s why two weeks ago we started our series on “All About 360 Degree and Virtual Reality Advertising.” We wanted to talk about the misconceptions that people had about advertising in 360 and VR and make people aware that they can integrate 360 degree and VR into their digital marketing strategies today.

If you haven’t been following our series, you can read our introduction on 360 degree ads and VR ads. Here, we revealed that 360/VR ads are not just limited to videos that you see on Facebook, Youtube, or even at Comic Con. We also mentioned that headsets are not required to interact with 360/VR ads – all you need is a device like a smartphone, desktop, or a tablet.

In our follow-up post, we talked about how 360 ads and virtual reality advertising are not just limited to videos. You can take advantage of both 360 images and standard images to create a 360/VR ad. This is probably a more cost-effective solution for companies who want to leverage 360 VR advertising today but think they don’t have the budget for it. We even discussed how 360 degree and VR ads can become some sort of “Rabbit Hole of Interactivity” with the use of hotspots that could lead the consumer to more images or even videos. And still with more ground to cover in our series, I think we’ve successfully illustrated that the possibilities are virtually endless with 360 and VR advertising.

But that’s not the reason why we chose that title for this post. Yes, the possibilities are endless when it comes to how you can leverage 360 degree content and VR for ads. But the possibilities are also endless when it comes to the amount of products and brand messages that you can put in that small digital ad space. What do we mean by that?

MORE AD REAL ESTATE

What if I told you that in a 300 x 50 banner ad you could display an infinite amount of product? You might think I’ve gone mad but the truth is that with 360 degree and VR technology this is completely possible. In today’s competitive marketplace where digital advertising doesn’t come cheap and ROI is paramount, the ability to display more product, more messaging, more everything is very appealing to marketers. The gift of 360 and VR is that they give ad creators an entirely new ad canvas to play with.

Creatives are no longer relegated to the confines of a rectangular or square box. With 360 degree ads the canvas is enlarged and enhanced. You can work with spheres, panels and textures and capitalize on the many sensors that reside in your average smartphone. In the end what you have is an ad that is not only fun and engaging to interact with but also offers a larger view into your brand.

Take a look at the demo below and you’ll know what I’m talking about or experience it live here and see for yourself. If you play with the live demo try enjoying it on a mobile device and turn yourself around…it’s pretty fun! By playing with spheres and panels, adding in a little animation and tapping into mobile sensors we’ve taken your average 300 x 250 square ad and super charged it!

DISPLAY INFINITE PRODUCT

Imagine you’re responsible for the marketing of a national footwear retailer. Your task is to use digital tactics to increase sales and drive people to the website. Your job is further complicated by the fact that you can’t narrow in on any one particular brand or style of shoe, rather you have to figure out how to convey the great depth and breadth of shoes available for sale by said retailer. No problem!

By capitalizing on the many advantages of 360 technology, you now have the ability to showcase a veritable endless parade of pumps, stilettos, flats, boots and more all within your average banner ad. What shoe loving guy or gal wouldn’t love an endless parade of shoes!

With 360 degree ad technology we can play with panels and spheres to create an ad that features perpetual motion to grab the consumer’s attention while presenting an infinite amount of product. The leveraging of mobile sensors enables the consumer to take control and “play” with the ad. If they see something they like and want to learn more the ad can expand revealing more product information. If they’re not interested in that item they can continue to browse. Once they find an item they’re interested in buying the purchase cycle is completed by integrating an ecommerce component into the ad.

These concepts can be applied to ads featuring just about any kind of product. Think of the world of real estate where 360 degree & VR technology have the potential to turn the industry on its head. Instead of an endless parade of shoes envision an endless showcase of properties as shown in the example below. The ad can be taken to the next level by featuring 360 views of properties and incorporating one touch VR mode… Select one of the houses below and view it in 360 and then in VR mode (tap on the VR headset icon)! If you’re using mobile, move your device around and if you’re using a desktop, you can click and drag.

Just imagine all the things you can do with what used to be an ordinary digital ad space and you too will see that the possibilities are indeed limitless.

So what are you waiting for? Contact Advrtas today and together let’s explore the possibilities of what 360 degree and VR ads can do for you!

All About 360 Degree Ads and Virtual Reality Advertising: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

360 VR Pictures Worth a 1000 Words

This post is Part 2 of our blog series, “All About 360 Degree Ads and Virtual Reality Advertising.” Visit Part I to read the introduction.

I’m seated at my desk, cell phone in hand, scrolling through a news feed as my mind drifts to a surprise trip I’m trying to plan for my husband’s 23rd birthday. As if my phone reads my mind (it’s that programmatic & retargeting ad tech at work!), in between news stories I notice a visual of the Las Vegas Strip, it’s moving. I look closer, it’s still moving but something’s different about this moving image. I move my phone and the strip moves with me. Intrigued, I expand the window and suddenly I’m in Vegas… I’m actually in Vegas… Or rather, overlooking Vegas.

It’s nighttime and I’ve got the best aerial view of the famous Las Vegas Strip that one can imagine. It’s like I’ve been transported to the balcony of a high roller’s penthouse suite. The city’s lights are all aglow and I can almost hear the hustle and bustle of the traffic below. I look to my left and I see the luxurious Bellagio hotel and its gorgeous fountain. I take in all its grandeur then turn my head to the right looking across the busy street only to have one of the most recognizable monuments in the world catch my eye. It’s the Eiffel Tower, well a half-scale replica anyway, perfectly erected in front of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and dwarfing its surroundings, much like the real thing does. I go to take a deeper inspection and recognize there’s also a reproduction of The Arc de Triomphe and what looks like an illuminated hot air balloon. I pause for a moment to take it all in and as I do I catch a glimpse of the iconic Planet Hollywood to my right. Wow, I never realized how large this hotel was.

As I’m looking around I notice a cardboard icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen. I tap it and the screen splits. I swiftly place my phone in the cardboard headset on my desk and I’m back in Vegas. I look closer and notice that all three hotels have a button hovering over them. Curious what they do, I decide to stare at the one above the Paris Las Vegas hotel. As if by magic, I am suddenly transported to what must be the lobby of this fine hotel. I look around and I’m surrounded by people frozen in time. To my right is another button coaxing me to book a room. I hesitate and I’m glad I did because to my left is a button that gives me the option to view a room. I gaze at it and then suddenly find myself in one of the hotel rooms. I turn in a circle, taking everything in. I even look up and look down to check if I can see the floor and the ceiling too. Satisfied that the room is exactly to my liking, I click on the button that lets me book a room and choose the room I just saw. I remove the phone from the headset and the headset from my face and I’m still seated at my desk and while Vegas is nowhere in sight, the memories of my virtual visit are still intact, as vivid as can be.

That, my friends, is what you can expect to experience with a 360 degree & Virtual Reality rich media ad created by Advrtas. It’s hard to imagine that something as immersive and fun as that experience is actually an ad. I mean, many times when we think of online ads, “fun” isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind. But with this ad, it almost makes you feel like you’re actually inside the ad, touring Vegas! What makes it even more interesting is that the whole experience isn’t a video at all. It’s actually a carefully curated collection of 360 spherical images strategically positioned in a sphere and set into perpetual motion. All this is done by leveraging 360 degree technology – delivering a rich media ad unlike any other.

One of the big misconceptions that people have concerning 360/VR advertising is that it only consists of 360 degree videos with the occasional option to enjoy said video in virtual reality mode. You can’t really blame them since most of the 360 ads out there are videos (case in point: just about any 360 degree “ad” on Facebook or YouTube – such as these branded 360 videos: Nabisco’s Oreo Ad or Post’s Fruity Pebbles Ad). Not to mention that most people associate 360/VR with the high-end experiential marketing videos that they’ve seen at Comic Con and such (we actually debunked that myth in our previous post). With all these misconceptions and misperceptions in mind, it isn’t surprising that many companies dismiss the idea that they too can leverage 360 and VR for their marketing and advertising purposes today without having to incur the expenses associated with producing a 360/VR video.

One of the big misconceptions that people have concerning 360/VR advertising is that it only consists of 360 degree videos with the occasional option to enjoy said video in virtual reality mode.

More Than Just Videos

It’s true, your company can take advantage of 360/VR advertising without having to make a video. Images are great resources to use when making 360/VR ads and I would argue that their use actually gives you more license to be creative. It also saves you a lot of money while still being very engaging and interactive for consumers. In fact, you don’t always have to use 360 images to make a 360 ad. You can also use just about any standard image or multiple standard images, put them in a cylinder space (digital, of course), and make them loop around the digital ad space – creating some sort of 360 effect.

What’s even more engaging is that by leveraging the 360 space we can even create the appearance of video simply by using still images and having them perpetually move. It’s hard not to have the perpetual movement of an ad capture your attention as it taps into our most primal of human behaviors — seeing objects move in our peripheral vision.

No Time Limits

As much as videos can be exciting to view in VR, you won’t be able to explore the content at your own pace and your own time, because you are limited to the time span of a video. A 30-second video will always be a 30-second video even in 360/VR. On the other hand, if you have a 360/VR ad that uses images, then a customer can be immersed in the content for as long as they’d like without worrying that time will “run out”. Not to mention that because there’s no time limit, the amount of creative things you can do with your 360/VR ad is pretty much limitless.

By integrating the technology of interactive hot spots, you can create a virtual “Rabbit Hole of Interactivity” for the consumer. It’s very similar to the Vegas ad where hotspots were used to take viewers inside hotel lobbies, rooms, and eventually to a booking page.

Additional hot spots could have included shots of the pool, spa, casino, restaurants, retail shops – you name it! Hot spots could also lead to videos – either traditional or 360/VR. The limits are only where your imagination will take you.

The limits are only where your imagination will take you.

Is it Worth it?
Now, you might ask me, “Will making a 360/VR ad really be worth it for my company?” That’s a very good question. According to a study done by Greenlight Insights (formerly Greenlight VR), 53% of the people they surveyed were more likely to buy from a company that leverages VR than from one that doesn’t (check out more about that here). Other initial studies comparing traditional display versus 360 degree ads have 360 ads as being 35 times more effective with click through rates over 4.5% (see our infograph with more stats). That’s really promising for companies who have been invested in 360 degree and VR content and even more encouraging for those thinking about using it too.

Why such great results? Think of it this way. Immersive 360 degree and virtual reality content are inherently visceral. Immersing your customers in content that’s all about your brand helps you create a connection with them. Studies have shown that VR content triggers brain states that other forms of media do not and it also has the power to create virtual memories. Additionally, 360 degree ads allow you to provide context about your brand to your consumers all from just using a small digital ad space. Thanks to the magic of 360 & VR, that small banner ad grows exponentially in size offering up an entirely new ad canvas with which to create your message. In other words, your customers get more exposure to your brand without you having to spend more money on larger digital ad units or on the creation of a 360 video.

Studies have shown that VR content triggers brain states that other forms of media do not and it also has the power to create virtual memories.

The Future is Here
We’ve been hearing for a while now that 360 degree and virtual reality content are the future of marketing and advertising. We like to say that the future is already here and that the next level of digital ad engagement has arrived. The best part is any brand can start leveraging these technologies to engage with customers today. All it takes are some images, creativity and a little technology (we’ve got that part covered) and before you know it, you’ll be creating ads that banish banner blindness and dare I say are even fun. Yes, that’s right, alert the media because we’re setting out to make advertising fun again.

So what are you waiting for? Contact Advrtas today and let’s work together to make your next digital ad campaign engaging, effective and fun.

All About 360 Degree Ads and Virtual Reality Advertising: Part 1

All About 360 degree and Virtual Reality Advertising

If you work in the field of marketing, you’re constantly being bombarded by new trends, technologies and techniques. These concepts supposedly help you do your job better, grow your brand, and generate enough buzz about your company and its products that it ultimately leads to sales. One such concept that is poised to deliver just that, which has lately been on the minds of many, is the much talked about, but seldom well understood space of immersive 360 degree content and its partner, Virtual Reality (VR).

360 degree content and VR are both big marketing buzzwords in 2016 and all for good reason, of course. They’re immersive, visceral, engaging and as research has shown, virtual reality is capable of triggering brain states, emotions and brand connections that no other medium has been able to achieve. VR is also a decades-old technological concept whose time has finally arrived and it is bolstered by billions of dollars of investments by some of the biggest companies in the world. Even so, perhaps the most important reason why 360 & VR are now in every marketer’s lexicon is the fact that with them come the ability for brands to engage and interact with audiences like never before.

Virtual Reality is capable of triggering brain states, emotions and brand connections that no other medium has been to able to achieve.

360 degree ads are effective

The coming of 360 content and virtual reality is ushering the next level of digital engagement – a place where CTRs (click through rates) will be lifted from their abysmal and unacceptable levels that are close to zero to much loftier heights (see infographic on early results of 360 ads). Finally, we are entering a world where banner blindness can be cured and

where consumers want to play with ads. Yes, such a world is possible and we aim to help make it happen.

Over the course of the next several weeks, we’ll be taking a look at both 360 degree and VR marketing and advertising. We’ll be debunking myths and preconceived notions – breaking the boundaries of what you think you know about 360 content and virtual reality. By the end of the series, you’ll know more than your peers about how to leverage these revolutionary content platforms for advertising and marketing today. You’ll also be ready to take your digital campaigns to the next level of engagement and position yourself and your brand as innovators. So with that, let’s kick off our series with a look at what the “mis”-conceptions of 360 degree & VR marketing and advertising are today.   

p>THE MISPERCEPTIONS

Ask most marketers what 360 degree or virtual reality advertising is and how they can leverage these technologies today and the answers will vary quite a bit. Some might mistake 360 advertising with its soon to be outdated definition wherein the term refers to an all-encompassing approach to marketing and the customer journey. Others will instantly think that 360 & VR are concepts that are still far out into the future and are therefore challenged and maybe even

Immersive 360 degree advertising is actually ad content that can be all-encompassing to your audience

confused with the question. Others might be quick to comment that they’re seeing 360 degree and virtual reality ads on Facebook and YouTube already clearly mixing up many of these 360 videos for cohesive brand messages. And finally, we shouldn’t forget the camp that believes 360 & VR marketing are mostly experiential installations that are event based (a la Comic Con). All these misconceptions can be justified, but as you’ll learn, it doesn’t make them valid. So here’s our answer to these misconceptions.

THE NEW 360 MARKETING & ADVERTISING

For those who think that 360 marketing refers to the “all-encompassing approach to marketing,” we’re here to tell you that the world of immersive 360 degree and VR content will eventually high-jack said term. Eventually, 360 degree advertising will refer to ad content that can be all encompassing to your audience in the sense that they can be completely immersed in an ad that leverages 360 degree and virtual reality technology.

With 360 degree content, the consumer can look left, right, up, down, behind them – frankly anywhere they want, and be surrounded by content (might I suggest a past post explaining VR & 360). Virtual reality by contrast is, in its simplest form, an extension of this 360 degree content wherein those who have a VR headset can enjoy the same or enhanced 360 degree content inside a VR headset (See for yourself! Play with the ad below).

360 VR Mobile Instructions
360 VR Desktop Instructions

360 & VR: HERE TODAY… NO HEADSET REQUIRED

For those who believe that immersive 360 degree and virtual reality marketing are strategies to employ in the future, they’re missing a big opportunity. Now is the time for brands and publishers to take the first-mover advantage by the reins and position themselves as

Panamorphic powers 360 and virtual reality

technology-forward by embracing 360 and VR today. Early studies have already shown that consumers view brands that dip into 360 & VR favorably. Furthermore, the time is now to capitalize on the novelty of VR and 360 and the PR opportunities that presently exist before the market is so flooded with VR experiences that they’re not as newsworthy.

If you’re using the lack of VR headset penetration as your logic, it’s time to throw that reasoning to the wayside. True, the penetration of VR headsets, aka head mounted displays (HMDs), has to grow before it reaches critical mass and the ROI is there; however, a headset is not needed to enjoy 360 content. In fact, immersive 360 degree content can be enjoyed today on just about any smartphone, tablet or desktop device without a VR headset. And millions are already consuming this content daily on the likes of Facebook and YouTube.

Immersive 360 degree content can be enjoyed today on just about any smartphone, tablet or desktop device without a VR headset.

360 ad featured on Facebook

GMC Acadia 360 Ad – viewable in 360 on Facebook app only & in VR on Samsung Gear only.

MORE THAN FACEBOOK & YOUTUBE

This of course leads us to the next common misconception about 360 and VR ads: that they’re videos you see on social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. True, the two have invested billions in VR and 360 and are clearly leading the path when it comes to getting this content out there. However, most of the 360 videos on both platforms are user generated (which just goes to show you the high level of public interest) and videos posted by brands are just that that: videos. The 360 and VR content that we see in these big social media platforms aren’t actual ad units and they don’t even begin to

scratch the surface when it comes to the levels of interactivity that can exist within a 360 and/or VR advertising experience – including the high levels of engagement that can be achieved with 360 images and interactive hotspots. And as big as Facebook and YouTube may be, marketers still spend their digital ad dollars elsewhere and these folks are looking for distribution beyond Facebook and YouTube to make investing in 360 & VR financially viable.

Facebook and YouTube also have their limitations. For example, if you want to experience a 360 video in VR on Facebook, you better have a Samsung Gear or Oculus headset as their 360 videos are not compatible with Google Cardboard. Nor can you watch their content on browser on mobile. Similar limitations exist for YouTube. (Hey digital publishers, there’s an opportunity here!)


MORE THAN COMIC-CON!

Perhaps the most common, and well known, use case to date for 360 and VR marketing is the experiential. By this we mean a brand generates a high-end, truly immersive virtual reality experience that has been especially created with a high-end computing and VR system in mind, such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or maybe even the brand new PlayStation VR. Such experiences are usually on display at some kind of event, such as ComicCon, CES, SXSW, Cannes or even the Sundance Film Festival. These experiences also tend to include other special hardware such as haptic vests, motion chairs, flying devices, motorized wheelchairs, wind machines, moving/vibrating floors etc. to achieve their full effect.

If you’ve been to any of these high profile events over the past year and a half, you’ve certainly seen your share of blown out VR experiences. Hollywood has been one of the first to embrace the compelling technology with such creative installations as those made for Game of Thrones, Divergent, The Martian, and most recently Suicide Squad. Brands have also experimented with event-based VR experiences with the likes of Marriott, Merrell, The North Face and others jumping in. While these blown out 360 and VR experiences come with a high entertainment value and serve a purpose, they are difficult to achieve at scale and achieving ROI can be a challenge. And that’s why we’re here to show you that 360/VR content is much more than these high-end VR experiences (as fun and awesome as they are) and that there are many more ways in which you can take advantage of this new technology.

360 & VR MARKETING and ADVERTISING: HERE TODAY!

Make no mistake about it, immersive 360 and VR content are here to stay. They are two new platforms that are only going to grow in popularity as more people get wind of them and as rapid innovation takes place. They are also two platforms that present marketers with an entirely new weapon with which to attract and engage both new and existing customers. They have the power to create empathy and virtual memories, to educate and enlighten, to create bonds and connections that heretofore have been preserved for other personal forms of communication. Get ready for a new world of marketing and advertising and keep on reading as we delve further into how you can integrate immersive 360 degree and VR ads into your digital marketing strategy today.

360° Video Ads Work: 360° vs. Traditional Display

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it hundreds of times: 360° content is really effective and this applies to images, videos, and of course ads!

If you’ve been following Advrtas and Outlyer Tech, you know we’re all about the marketing and advertising applications of 360° (and Virtual Reality). We’re strong proponents of the positive impact these technologies can have on the consumer brand relationship. One of the biggest reasons for this, which we’ve said repeatedly, is because of how much more engaging and compelling 360° and VR content is, especially when compared to the 2D content we’ve been consuming for decades. We’ve also touted how 360° is the future of advertising and of outstream video and launched the world’s first 360° outstream solution this past spring. In a recent post, we even listed a few benefits and ways that people can leverage 360° content today. But all this was talk and speculation. Now there’s data to back it up.

So now, we tell you even more emphatically: 360° advertising IS effective, especially when compared to traditional display, and it will change the digital ad world. But don’t just take our word for it. Read the facts and check the numbers. We even put it in a colorful infographic for you:

Effectiveness of 360 video ads

Click to View Full Image/Download

What Do We Mean?: 360° Content and How it Provides Context

360 and VR add context

You’ve heard us say it before, the coming of 360° content provides us context that 2D content has never provided. In one of our previous posts, we even defined what context is for you. And just to jog your memory, context is (according to Dictionary.com), “the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.” In other words, context provides us the whole picture – no limits.

To further explain what that means, let me give you an example. Let’s say you posted a picture of yourself in social media with the infamous red Solo cup, complete with the caption, “What a WILD party!” It just so happened that when you posted this, it was a work night. Your boss sees it on your profile and he doesn’t like it because he thinks you’re partying hard on a work night, which could have a negative impact on your work the next day.

But what if your boss totally missed the context? What if he didn’t know that this party you were at was actually your niece’s birthday party and that around you, there are actually kids holding similar red Solo cups all filled with juice? That

2D content lacks the context that we get from 360° content.

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totally changes the story doesn’t it? And that’s exactly what I’m trying to point out! 2D content lacks the context that we get from 360° content. It gives us the whole story and literally, the complete picture of what’s going on around us.

But then you might ask, what’s the big deal? What’s so important about 360° content and being able to get context? Sure, I get that it provides a bigger field of view, but how else can I benefit from it aside from avoiding misinterpretations? If you think about it, with the advent of 360° content, the way we consume and present information and data is changing. Journalists can significantly enhance how they cover the news and provide audiences with a more complete perspective and physical view of the stories they tell. This can foster stronger feelings of empathy and more importantly help drive change. Imagine what it could do for charities and their ability to fundraise.

360 VR ads give context

Marketers and advertisers can use 360° content to give better context as to what their product really looks like and does. Just think about the industries of tourism and real estate. With 360° images and videos of hotels and guest rooms, travelers will no longer be disappointed when they open that hotel room door and realize that their room mirrors how it was represented in a 360° ad. Home buyers can “walk” through a property before even leaving home. A consumer goods brand can more completely and accurately display where, when and how their product is best experienced.

Manufacturers of large and heavy machinery can use 360° images and video to provide clients and prospects with a comprehensive view of their facilities and products that would otherwise be nearly impossible to grasp without a visit to the plant. Dozens of other product categories and thousands of brands can also leverage this new content format to forge stronger bonds with their target audience. In the end, what is perhaps most important is that with 360° the consumer is given control to engage and interact with content like never before. Thus, it has the potential to be a pivotal tool that translates into driving more conversions and ultimately revenues.

One thing is definitely certain, the new opportunities and benefits that 360° content will bring about are too many to count and it’s exciting to be working in the thick of it and contributing to how the category develops. It’s amazing to think of how 360° content can change the way we perceive and do things. It has the power to alter our perspective on certain matters when we are exposed to the complete context of what’s going on. I suppose 360° content will now help us fully understand what it really means when we say, “Context is key.” And now the red Solo cup holding employee can confidently say to her boss, “You took the red cup out of context, boss, and made an assumption, and we all know what happens to you and me when we assume!”

Why 360° Video Ads are the Future of Advertising

The world is a big, round place with lots to see and we’ve been looking at it through cropped lenses for far too long! Well that’s the sentiment you might start to have after you’ve experienced even the slightest bit of 360-degree content that’s steadily making its way onto the market. Truth is that since the early days of black & white TV in the mid-twentieth century to the proliferation of color
Becks Capcam Virtual Reality Experience

TV in the late 60s all the way to the advent of the smartphone in the 21st century, man’s perspective of a video captured world has been limited.

For far too long we’ve been relegated to seeing exactly and only what the director and other content creators have wanted us to see. The thing is this goes against our physical and psychological make-up. We naturally have a field of view that is anywhere from about 180-200 degrees. Add to that our ability to turn around, look up and down, etc. and pretty soon you start to realize that for years we’ve been cheated.

Becks Capcam Virtual Reality Experience

“But our life happens like this.”

Becks Capcam 360 Ad

“Because life happens in 360.”

That’s all about to change as 360° video assuredly makes its way to the mainstream. It’s a snowball that’s quickly turning into an avalanche as one by one, brands start to integrate 360° video into their marketing plans and the likes of Facebook and YouTube make it easier and easier for consumers to share their own 360 content. A quick glance at the views of this nascent content platform and you’ll see a trend already beginning to emerge. From entertainment properties to insurance, to news outlets and even Brazilian singers (Ivete Sangalo’s 360° video of her hit song has racked up more than 18 million views to date!), all kinds of product categories and personalities are accumulating millions of views as they experiment with what could perhaps be one of the most natural viewing experiences outside of everyday reality.

However, of all the 360° videos that are out there to date, a recent one produced by BBDO of Germany for Beck’s Beer perhaps sums up best the restricted world in which we’ve been living before 360° videos hit the scene.

Experience Beck’s video:

What Beck’s video (sadly not shot in 360°) so effectively illustrates is that all our videos up till now have been lacking one very relevant component – context. What is context? According to one of my favorite apps, dictionary.com, it’s “the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.” The simple fact of the matter is that 360° video enables us to have context with video content like never before.  It also takes video consumption from a level of passivity to one of control and curiosity.

Savvy marketers and advertisers will be on the forefront of this trend as they recognize the pivotal nature of a 360° ad experience. They are cognizant of the impact context will have on consumers’ attitudes and perceptions of a brand and embrace the ability to connect with their audiences on new, heightened planes. Perhaps they have also noticed what we’ve experienced at the office as we push the envelope with 360° ads, that once you start consuming content without boundaries you want every subsequent video you watch to offer the same freedom to look, explore and get context. So as digital video continues its explosive growth and the world begins to embrace this new platform known as 360 degree content, get ready for a whole new level of ad engagement where the consumer is empowered to connect with and explore brands in ways never before possible.

What are you thoughts on 360 degree content? Have you experienced enough 360 degree content to start to feel short-changed when you can’t explore videos in 360? Do you think it gives you better context?

An Infographic: Digital Video Growth, Outstream Video & 360° Content

The numbers surrounding the growth of digital video are astounding. Truth be told the majority of us like watching videos, to the tune of billions daily, and the proliferation of smartphones over the past five years has significantly changed the digital video landscape. Seems we have a virtually insatiable appetite for everything video. On the heels of the digital newfronts and the latest International Advertising Bureau (IAB) study on the growth of digital video, we found it fitting to encapsulate what the future holds for digital video in the world of advertising.

In the past year as video ad inventory has grown scarce and ad blockers gained traction, a new breed of digital video has emerged. Called “outstream” video, it enables publishers to easily add video inventory outside of video content and place it natively in content such as between paragraphs of text. But as we all

“Outstream” video enables publishers to easily add video inventory outside of video content and place it natively in content such as between paragraphs of text.

know, things change quickly in the ad biz, last year’s outstream solutions are now yesterday’s news thanks to the emergence of 360° videos – the hottest new segment in digital video and a content format not supported by current outstream providers…until now. Advrtas is the first outstream solution that allows advertisers and publishers to now leverage the latest immersive 360° video with Virtual Reality mode, in addition to 2D video.

So as we launch the world’s first 360° outstream video solution with VR mode we give you the numbers – those that pertain to the massive growth and effectiveness of digital video in general, outstream specifically, and the hearty appetite consumers have for 360°content.

If you want to learn more about Advrtas’ groundbreaking 360° & Virtual Reality ad formats and outstream solutions that open up the internet for 360 & VR today, contact me via lbarton@outlyertech.com.

360 degree video is the future of outstream video infographic

Click to View Full Image/Download

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