June 2016 – Facebook recently added 360 photos to its extensive list of in-platform capabilities. This news follows the platform’s launch of 360 video in September 2015. Facebook’s product manager, Andy Huang, says “we’re improving photos on Facebook so that people can share more immersive views of their world.”
WHAT IS A FACEBOOK 360 PHOTO?
A 360 photo allows users to experience a full 360-degree view of any scene by moving their phone or navigating their cursor or finger on the image. This update gives users the power to create a 360 photo by taking a panorama photo on their iPhone, using certain Android apps to capture a photo sphere (Street View or Google Camera), or using special 360 camera equipment.
THE APPEAL OF FACEBOOK 360 PHOTO
360 photos are aimed to help users share more of the world around them. Previously users had to purchase or build a special 360-degree camera to create this interactive experience. Now creating and sharing 360 photos on Facebook is as easy as 1, 2, click.
BECOME A FACEBOOK 360 PHOTO PRO
Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement last week by sharing a 360 photo of Manhattan from the top of One World Trade Center. Facebook plans to roll out 360 photos to all users (and pages) over the next few days. Ready to jump in? Follow these steps to become a 360 pro:
- Use an iOS device to take a panorama photo or use the new 360 photo app or 360 camera
- Share 360 photos on Facebook just like any other photo
- Open app (or desktop)
- Tap on the status tool
- Select photo
- View 360 photos by moving the phone or using a finger/cursor to views all angles
- 360 photos have a compass icon displayed in the center of the image (see above example)
- 360 photos can also be viewed in virtual reality with Samsung Gear VR-compatible phones
WHAT MARKETERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FACEBOOK 360 PHOTOS
Facebook’s 360 photo integration is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to virtual reality introductions planned for 2016-2017. Many of these introductions were announced at SXSW 2016 and Facebook’s F8 Conference 2016.
What does this mean for marketers? Consumers will come to expect these immersive experiences in their day-to-day social interactions. Marketers should start by considering 360 photos as way to showcase behind-the-scenes, event, or product content in a new way. These panoramic experiences will also be a cost-effective alternative to producing video content or photography in the right situations. For example, an interior design firm could opt for a 360 photo experience to showcase a finished project versus a video with a larger production price tag. Now is the time for brands to jump in and provide followers with a more immersive experience.