Dive Brief:

  • 360-degree video ads have made it to Snapchat, but the format isn’t native to the app and marketers have to use a workaround to serve Snapchat users with the format popularized on YouTube and Facebook, as reported by Digiday.
  • Brands that have taken advantage of the format include Sony, Universal Pictures, Netflix and Chick-fil-A. To get 360-degree videos on the social media app marketers have to get users to swipe up on a standard Snapchat ad and launch the experience through a Snapchat ad partner, VR company OmniVirt.
  • Brands are interested in the ad format because it performs better than other Snapchat ads with recent stats cited by Digiday indicating that 69% of U.S. adults skip those ads “always” or “often.” According to OmniVirt, its clients see 2x to 3x increase in swipe-ups for a 360 video call-to-action, and users engage with the format for over one minute.

Dive Insight:

Marketers also like 360-degree video because it provides a rich storytelling experience for ad creative and there’s still a sense of novelty around the format for ad viewers as well. It also offers a lower barrier to entry than VR.

Videos in the 360-degree format, which is essentially VR-light or virtual reality on a regular screen requiring the user to manually change the video’s perspective, is becoming a popular format for ads.

Platforms are also bullish about 360-degree video. Facebook has heavily promoted 360-degree videos, even releasing a standalone app for VR headsets to turn 360-degree video and image content on Facebook into a full-blown VR experience. Smaller video platform Vimeo also recently announced it is getting into 360-degree video, suggesting it is becoming a must-have feature.

It remains to be seen how much Snapchat will embrace the format. Snap’s Spectacles hardware device that creates video content specifically for Snapchat seems like a natural way to extend into 360-degree video. With Snap’s strong visual storytelling positioning overall, driving innovation through new approaches is likely a priority for the platform.