From implementing reactions to an anti-clickbait algorithm, Facebook has made a ton of changes over the past year. But Facebook 360 tops the list of improvements — and it’s only getting better.
Facebook was one of the first social media platforms to embrace 360-degree photos and video, and it didn’t take long for other companies to see 360 as a viable marketing tool. Common with any new feature, Facebook 360 experienced some setbacks, namely its jumpy and nauseating playback, an aspect that particularly hurt user experience — and marketing efforts. Why sink a ton of resources into producing a video that’s just going to make viewers queasy?
Facebook heard the complaints and is doing something about it. Engineer Johannes Kopf told WIRED that shaky videos will undergo “deformed rotation,” a method tasked with stabilizing a video in fewer than 22 milliseconds per frame. Although this is undoubtedly great for users and Facebook as a whole, it’s just as beneficial for marketers, who should take it as a cue to step up their game and set themselves apart.
National Geographic takes exploration to another level with educational 360-degree video that places viewers right in the heart of Mother Nature. Source.
Immersive Video Enhances Engagement
The challenge should come as good news for marketers. Facebook 360 is here to stay, so it makes sense to invest in the tech and make the most of this new trend. Like video games, the 360-degree panoramas intend to immerse the viewer in a specific environment, so this improvement only raises the bar and allows companies to be more creative in what they produce. Content marketers can now use Facebook 360 to tell a cohesive story without worrying that viewers may be pulled out of the experience, or put off by unstable playback.
Engagement is key with any social media marketing effort. Video only makes up 3 percent of Facebook’s content but has the highest rate of engagement, according to a 2014 Quintly study. Facebook 360 is only helping to boost these numbers. Since the feature was unveiled, users have watched more than 1 million hours with Samsung Gear VR. Facebook reported in 2015 that videos (all videos, not just 360) had 135 percent more organic reach than photos.
Facebook encourages users to join their Facebook 360 Community Group and stay on top of industry-related news about immersive video experiences. Source.
Facebook 360 and Beyond
Facebook 360 videos are novel and eye-catching — plus, they pair with virtual reality like peas and carrots. And the VR experience isn’t just for owners of the expensive Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear; the budget-friendly Google Cardboard is an affordable alternative for viewers who are inspired to watch 360 content in VR, but don’t want to break the bank.
Why limit your 360 efforts to just Facebook? YouTube got on board with the trend in 2015, and the platform stepped up its game in 2016 by implementing live 360 videos. For marketers, this means content can be recreated, extended, and repurposed to go on YouTube and capitalize on an additional social audience.
- Users spend an average of 20 minutes on Facebook per visit and 50 minutes per day.
- Facebook had an average of 8 billion daily video views in 2015.
- Users posted 75 percent more videos in 2015 than 2014.
- 49 percent of users will like a page for a company or brand.