YuMe, Magna, and IPG Media Lab worked together to explore the risks and rewards of 360° advertising, using ads from such brands as BMW, Royal Caribbean, and PBS. They found consumers had a 63 percent purchase intent after seeing a 360° ad on a mobile device, compared to a 56 percent purchase intent after seeing a standard version of the same ad on mobile.

“The reason that 360° video ads perform well in terms of purchase intent comes down to engagement,” explains Devin Fallon, vice president of analytics for YuMe. “The immersive experience that 360° video ads offers allows consumers to connect more deeply with a brand, and it offers consumers an element of control and ownership over the experience. I can move my smartphone to change my point of view in a new car ad to examine the dashboard, look out the window, or up at the sunroof. That level of user engagement is unique to immersive formats like VR, AR and 360°video, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that there is an associated lift in purchase intent from such an engaging experience.”

The difference between watching a 360° ad on a desktop computer and a mobile device is drastically different, the study found. Those who watched the mobile version of an ad were 8 percent more likely to watch it again and 7 percent more likely to call the ad engaging.

“The iron is hot,” the report says, noting that consumers are happy to view 360° content even when they know the purpose is marketing.

There are still barriers to overcome, though, since this is a new area. The study found 38 percent of consumers didn’t interact with a 360° ad simply because they didn’t’ know the video would move around. Brands need to include instructional cues, it recommends, for better results.

The report also offers these best practices:

  • Focus on creating 360° experiences for phones rather than desktops, since the phone provides a better experience.
  • Run 360° ads next to 360° content. Immersive ads are better received when consumers are already in that mindset.
  • Be sure to include branding within the 360° experience. Because of the distracting nature of 360° video, brands need to be extra clear that they’re behind the video in order to benefit from purchase lift intent.

“The 360° video advertising format is still gaining traction, although of the immersive advertising formats—VR, AR, 360—it is the most accessible,” Fallon says. “The format is optimal on smartphones and tablets, offering consumers an easy way to own—and control—their unique experience by tilting or moving their device. 360 is also becoming more prevalent as a preferred format within social platforms to drive deeper engagement in-platform.

“While user-generated content (UGC) is not something we rely on as an inventory source, UGC via social media platforms like Facebook is helping to normalize 360 content and familiarize users with how to engage.”

For more on using 360° video ads the right way, download The 360° Effect: Understanding Immersive Video Research for free (registration required).

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