What’s with the 360 mobile video advertising craze? Snapchat adds 360 video, following Yahoo and Google

It appears that all the advertising heavyweights are rushing in to serve 360-degree video ads and Snapchat is the latest to roll out the format.

It recently debuted the format as part of a Sony Pictures Entertainment campaign that features a 10-second ad to promote Sony thriller “Don’t Breath” to launch in cinemas in September.

Sony rolls out 360-degree mobile video ad on Snapchat

Source: snapchat.com

Most 360-video ads let viewers spin in place to check out the full scope of a location for example. However, for Snapchat, Sony collaborated with AvatarLabs to let users not just rotate but also move forward. The video ad also attaches a synopsis and additional images.

Aaron Wahle, Senior VP of digital marketing, Sony Pictures Entertainment, said that the goal was to bring the user closer into the movie and let them experience its dark atmosphere first hand. He adds:

aaron wahle

“Snapchat presents its advertising in a great way. We wanted to make people have that feeling where a stranger with super human abilities is coming at you. With the new technology, people can also view the ad from different angles.”

Initial feedback from the campaign shows an average two minutes of engagement with the ad. That’s quite a lot considering people’s attention spans on mobile are very short.

However, he admits that 360 video ads are a challenge in terms of convincing peers that they’re not just a fad. As long as the creative is good and ads appear at the right time, in the right place, users should find them more natural to view. He adds:

“There is currently a transitioning happening from regular video to 360 video to VR. Because Google and Facebook have been doing such a good job of making 360 video and VR a priority, it’s now seeping into [the] mainstream.”

Indeed, 360 video advertising popularity is on the up. Yahoo just recently announced 360-degree content marketing features as part of its Yahoo Gemini and BrightRoll ad platforms. Dubbed Yahoo Tiles, they let brands create a 360-degree immersive story using video and images.

The company claims that campaign lift has been four times higher for user engagement when making ads swipable and 360-degree ads even noted a 5x lift in average consumer engagement time.

Yahoo rolls out Yahoo Tiles

Yahoo_Tiles_Example1

Source: yahooadvertising.tumblr.com

Google made the move to a little earlier, announcing TrueView 360-degree video ads on YouTube already last year. TrueView Ads are embedded as part of Google AdWords and can be easily set up.

To find out if 360 video was having a greater effect, Google partnered with Columbia Sportswear to create an ad campaign using 360 Labs. Two campaigns were created using TrueView – one featured the 360-degree video format, whilst the other was a standard video format.

Google 360-degree test ad 

Source: thinkwithgoogle.com

Surprisingly, they found that 360 in-stream video advertising underperformed for view-through rates across mobile and desktop. However, it made up for this through some other strengths.

Users aren’t always in the mood to interact with video ads, but click-through rates on 360-degree ads were higher compared to standard video. Interaction rates which includes tilting and scrolling, were also higher for the 60-second 360 ad. This led Google to conclude that 360 video formats drive engagement through interaction.

Indeed, the format attracted more views, shares and subscribers than traditional ads. Overall, the 360-degree video ad drove 41% more actions. And since the videos remained unlisted as part of the experiment, viewers had to click through to the longer version of the ad. However, they didn’t. Instead people began to copy and share the URL for the longer version of the ad.

Overall, the video had a 46% higher view count compared to the standard ad. That’s likely due to 360 being a more engaging and immersive format. Brands should take note – 360-degree mobile video advertising is only going to get better from here.