January 18, 2017
Millions of hours of daily video watches combined with billions of photos uploaded on Facebook equal a really big number of social media users who are posting, sharing, and liking all types of content every single day.
For many Smartphone users, capturing memories on a phone or tablet is a normal part of life, but how we let others experience those moments could soon be changing.
Facebook 360 launched in 2015 as an innovative, interactive way to shoot video and take pictures and, while technology continues to advance, innovative social media capabilities hold much potential for online content marketing professionals.
Today, we will take a closer look at what Facebook 360 is, who uses it, and what content creators should keep in mind for the year ahead.
What is Facebook 360?
Facebook 360 allows publishers across a variety of industries to showcase the best in compelling stories by way of video and photos. The experience takes viewers inside a whole new world that can be optimized for their comfort as they engage at the center of the action.
A New Angle on Videos
Facebook 360 first allowed users to take advantage of video capabilities in their News Feed, giving them a choice of camera angles and allowing viewers a new view on what they were seeing. The audience can interact with the screen, switch the angle of the camera, and be a part of the moment without being there in person.
Big names in business have hopped onboard the 360 video technology trend to reach their audience in a whole new way, including:
Goodbye, Flat Photos – Hello, Interactive Images
In 2016, social media users were introduced to 360 photos, which is as simple as using the app or supported camera to take a panorama picture, post it, and allow the site to convert it to an immersive and interactive experience.
Unlike traditional photos, 360 creates a 3D view of the environment and gives the audience a chance to be involved in the scene. All of a sudden, pictures can go from flat to real-life, right before our eyes.
How Content Creators Can Use Facebook 360 in Storytelling
There is so much potential for content creators to use Facebook 360 in telling the story of their brand, sharing their message, and driving customers to respond.
Social media users could potentially move away from a traditional video medium, where the experience is a controlled, one-way narrative, to a whole new world of discovery and interaction with your brand.
While content creation is just beginning to scratch the surface of Facebook 360, there is what seems to be limitless potential for keeping an audience engaged and excited through a two-way medium.
Whether we’re watching Facebook Live or sharing native videos, we enjoy content on a personal level. It’s one thing to talk about an event and see a picture of a product, but it’s something else altogether when we feel like we’re there in real-time as a participant.
Here are a few guidelines to remember as content marketing begins to dive into the world of 360 video and its possibilities. Ready to go 360?
1. Consider the First Three Seconds
Research has proven that content marketers have only a precious few seconds to grab the video viewers’ attention and make them want to stay before they move onto something else.
Analyzers found that when people watched less than three seconds of a Facebook video ad, that group created up to 47 percent of the total campaign value. When the time rose to less than 10 seconds, that number jumped up to 74 percent.
The first several seconds are critical, and too often the hook isn’t there, or it isn’t enough to pique the interest of a reader.
Capturing the attention of your viewers at the very beginning and keeping them for just eight seconds will work wonders for your content efforts. Keep in mind that value increases the longer people watch and that the number of views alone is not necessarily an indication of video value; it’s OK to experiment with shorter video content.
And if you ever doubt the power of marketing a somewhat boring product, consider Farmer’s Insurance and the creative genius it displays by taking something as mundane as insurance to a whole other level of engagement (read more about that here).
2. Let the Video Tell the Story
When you are ready to show off something new, talk about a new idea, or introduce an exciting content addition, Facebook 360 is a powerful content tool you can use to put all that goodness into an interactive format.
As an example, rather than simply announcing a special event, you can take your users inside the experience by shooting video and leaving them with an invitation to join. 360 video is also an exciting option for demonstrating products, interviewing clients, and showcasing a specific location.
Like outer space, for example. Have you ever been to Mars? You can now, thanks to NASA and 360.
3. Don’t Overlook the Mobile Experience
Did you know that a whopping 92 percent of mobile video consumers share videos with people they know? That number alone is one reason to make mobile content marketing a priority in 2017, and Facebook 360 videos and photos can help.
By taking a medium that is quickly growing as the primary source of Internet access and equipping the audience with more exciting photos and videos, the potential for engagement could rise in ways we can’t quite imagine right now.
Getting Started with Facebook 360
While there is still much to learn about all the possibilities that exist with Facebook 360, the content reach looks to be wide open. When this type of technology is combined with high-quality content that is relevant and consistent, there is no limit to who can be reached with a brand’s story or message.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.