Virtual reality is still in its early stages and content companies are taking their time developing content for 360-degree and VR videos. However, it appears Facebook is already diving head first into advertisements in VR.
Facebook has recently begun hosting 360-degree video content on its website, which includes 360-degree video advertisements. The social network announced in a blog post that it's starting to try out 360-degree video advertisements.
The 360-degree video ads already running include ads from Samsung, AT&T, Corona (AB InBev), Ritz (Mondelez), Nescafe (Nestle) and Walt Disney World (Walt Disney Parks and Resorts). Facebook says it is testing the advertising format with more advertisers.
"360 video represents an exciting creative opportunity for marketers that allows them to tell immersive stories, optimized for mobile devices," says Facebook.
Judging from Facebook's latest move, we might soon see more videos in VR-like environments from big brands with the resources to create 360-degree video ads. AT&T, for instance, has recently used a video clip of car driver Ben Albano on its 360-degree video ad.
"Immerse yourself in Ben Albano’s 360° racing experience, and hear how he uses the AT&T network," reads the caption of AT&T's 360 video ad.
Samsung, on the other hand, used a 360-degree video of a Sky Walk adventure to promote its brand.
"From this height, do you feel excited? Or do you feel the fear? Walk in the sky in the palm of your hands with this immersive 360 experience," says Samsung in its ad.
Since Facebook introduced the opportunity to share and watch 360-degree videos in Facebook's News Feed, a huge number of 360-degree videos appeared on the leading social networking site. Lots of different publishers have already tried this new feature, including Apple Daily (Taiwan), ABC News, Scream Queens of Fox, BuzzFeed, GoPro, Frontline, New Orleans Saints, Lebron James & Uninterrupted and Nickelodeon.
Facebook is also making it simpler to publish 360-degree videos. It is teaming up with a variety of camera makers, such as Giroptic, Theta, 360fly and IC Real Tech. Users of these cameras can directly share 360-degree videos to Facebook using the native mobile apps.
It's worth mentioning that the social media network does not require you to stream these video ads using a VR headset because these emulate what it's like to look anywhere in the scene. These 360 videos can be viewed not just on iOS devices but on Android devices and the web as well. This might signify there will probably be a major uptick in immersive marketing soon.
In the meantime, iOS users can now view 360-degree videos on Facebook using Samsung's Gear VR. Facebook's VR headset Oculus Rift has already rolled out the production line. Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey hinted the VR headset will have a price tag of more than $350.