The number of active virtual reality users has increased from 16 million in 2015 to 171 million in 2018. Still in its relative infancy, 360° photos can be utilised as a new and immersive marketing platform for businesses to engage with their existing and prospective customers.
By its’ nature, 360° images are immersive and emotive. They conjure up more emotion and engagement than a normal 2D image or video. Thus they become memorable and stay with the viewer. This results in greater ‘word of mouth’ and interaction with your business. As a result, there is a higher probability of the viewer not only returning to your business’s website (because of the rich experience), but also purchasing more often.
Immersive images reduce risk in the purchase for prospective customers. For example, consider a family booking their summer holiday. The hotel, resort or holiday home could be showcased in 360° images, providing a ‘real life’ feel for where they will be staying. Traditional 2D images are still relevant, but cannot provide the immersion the 360° images can.
360° ads have 3x higher conversion rate than 2D (clicks on ads), 30% higher repeat view rate, and 70-300% increase in user engagement. Source: VEER. Observe this use case of immersive VR marketing. Try before you FLY by Thomas Cook is a program that uses virtual reality to let potential customers explore their dream destinations. Overall the travel agency saw an increase in their ROI by 40% and a 190% increase in bookings in New York City.
360° images are eye-catching and immersive. This results in more engagement from anyone who happens to come across them. Imagine a social media feed, full of text and images. A 360° photo will stand out and engage the user. As the medium is still young, not many local or national businesses are employing the technology. This is a massive opportunity for businesses to stand out from their competitors and gain a competitive advantage.
Utilising new technology will convey the message that your business is innovative, you are at the cutting edge of technology and is likely to be around for a long time. Research by Greenlight VR surveyed over 1,300 adults, among whom 71 percent feel that 360° spins makes brands seem “forward-thinking and modern”, and 53 percent said they’d be more likely to purchase from a brand that uses VR & 360° spins than from one that doesn’t.
Employing 360° image content will drive dwell time on your website. A recent Google advertising campaign pitted a traditional 2D advertisement versus a 360° ad. The study found that 360° spins motivate viewers to watch more and interact. The result was 41% earned actions (clicks). The greater the time spent on your website, the more likely it will result in sales and higher search engine rankings.
360° images can be posted on your Google My Business page. This medium is true to life and gives the viewer a dynamic view of the business or location. With your image and business getting more views, this can help drive your ranking up within Google and increase traffic to your website. See the New Cheveux Google my Business page.
Employing 360° images in your website and social media platforms will result in increased interest and interaction with existing and prospective customers. It will create an emotional connection with the viewer and become more memorable than traditional 2D formats. The net result will help bring more sales for your business.