In the past two years, Facebook has introduced a number of groundbreaking content formats. This has given marketers the ability to showcase their products in a whole new dimension. We looked at how 360-degree content performed against conventional videos and photos on Facebook in 2016. Here's what we discovered:
360-Degree Content Was On The Rise In 2016
The adoption of 360-degree content expanded throughout 2016. In January, only 1% of the largest company pages published 360-degree posts, and by December that number reached 6%. The increase was also caused by the introduction of 360 photos in June. Even though company pages continued to adopt the new format, 2x more media pages published 360 videos and photos.
The Travel and Automotive Industry Lead The Way With 360-Degree Content
We examined 3,000 of the largest company Facebook Pages and found that the travel industry had the highest adoption rate of 360-degree content. 63% of travel company pages posted at least one 360 video or photo in 2016. The automotive industry wasn’t far behind with 54% of company pages publishing 360-degree posts. To put this into perspective, the fashion and beauty industry pages had the lowest adoption rate, as only 10% published at least one 360-degree post.
Companies Got Creative With 360-Degree Videos
Even though media published more 360-degree content than companies, they all used the format in an equally creative way. For instance, The New York Times brought their readers to a community garden in the Bronx. GoPro took their viewers on a journey to save endangered species, and Dior invited their fans to their latest haute couture show. All of these posts offered audiences a unique experience and encouraged them to actively interact with the content.
360-Degree Videos And Photos Aren't Equally Engaging
If you see a 360-degree video in your News Feed, it's likely that you're looking at a sponsored post. In 2016, over 50% of 360-degree videos were promoted, while only 30% of conventional videos were promoted. This means that marketers recognized the potential of this content format and used post promotion to increase reach and engagement. We discovered that organic conventional videos were more engaging, as they garnered 22% more interactions than 360-degree videos. This might be the result of low 360-degree video adoption rates and their limited storytelling possibilities. Organic 360-degree photos performed much better, gaining 45% more interactions than conventional photos.
Increasingly more companies and media pages adopted the new 360-degree format over 2016. We predict this trend will continue as marketers recognize its potential, and therefore might evolve to become the most engaging - and heavily promoted content type - over conventional photos and videos.
As with the example of The New York Times, GoPro, and Dior, 360-degree content is a unique storytelling format that helps put communities at the center of the action. As the News Feed grows more competitive, it becomes more important to publish creative content that stands out. That’s why we expect the number of 360-degree videos and photos to rise in 2017.