What is a 360 Photo?
A 360 Photo is an image that allows you to see more than just a piece or snapshot of a scene. In some cases, 360 photos can give you the opportunity to view a scene from almost all angles: above, below, behind and next to you. It gives you the chance to ‘capture the moment’ and share an immersive view of your surroundings, with the rest of the world. This can enable you to give viewers the impression that they are actually there with you, which improves their viewing experience whilst making it increasingly realistic. In order to view these kinds of photos on Facebook’s web version, simply select the photo and look around the image by clicking and dragging around. Similarly, when using a mobile, use your finger to tap on the photo to get a full screen view, before either moving your phone or dragging the picture using your finger, in order to look at the whole photo.
Where can you find 360 photos?
These photos can be viewed in a couple of different ways. Firstly, using Facebook’s web version, 360 photos can be viewed in the News Feed. They can also be seen through the Facebook mobile app News Feed, as long as it is updated to the most recent version of the app. Facebook even developed a Facebook 360 app, which serves as a hub for all 360 photos and videos posted on the social media platform and can be downloaded exclusively in the Oculus app store. Oculus VR is an American technology company that specialises in virtual reality hardware, which was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for a whopping $2.3 billion. You can also set a 360 photo as your personal cover photo on your profile. However, it cannot be used as a profile photo or as a cover photo for a Page.
What is needed to create a 360 photo?
There are a few ways in which you can develop a 360 photo. Firstly, the easiest way of capturing a 360 photo is by using Facebook’s mobile app. Simply look for the 360 photo icon in your status field on your News Feed and it will guide you through the rest.
Basically, after tapping the '360 Photo' button, you slowly spin around for a full, 360 turn, while keeping the graphic centered in the middle. Once you have finished taking the picture, you will be able to pick your photo's starting point, before publishing it online.
You can also simply use your iPhone’s camera (and most Androids) and select the ‘Panorama’ option. After taking the picture, this can be then converted into a 360 photo on Facebook. Finally, for those who like to work with specialised 360 camera hardware (e.g. Facebook Surround 360), this can also be used to develop the imagery. These can then also be automatically converted into the interactive 360 view.
Why would you use 360 photos?
Besides the fact that taking 360 photos can be fun and exciting to experiment with, there are also reasons why advertisers may consider using them for their social media campaigns. A 360 photo ad can make viewers feel like they’re at the centre of all the action, offering a highly immersive and engaging view, in which they are given the ability to see what they want, how they want. It’s a great way to showcase your brand’s image, while offering you the perfect format to tell a bit of a story about your product or service.
This kind of appealing content is sure to capture your viewers’ attention, enabling you to provide them with engaging, impactful content, which could be considered more memorable than most.
Let’s think of a couple of examples in which the 360 photo can be suitably used by advertisers:
- Automotive advertising: Is there a better way for customers to gain access to the interior of a car than through a 360 photo, allowing them to see the inside of the car from every angle?
- Advertising a place: Let’s say you want to advertise your store. How about offering viewers a sneak peek of what the inside of your shop looks like, giving them a basic idea of what it will feel like to stand in your store.
There are tons of other examples in which 360 photos can be used in advertising. Let your creative juices flow, the sky's the limit!
360 in Messenger
At the beginning of this month, Facebook introduced the ability to send 360 degree photos in Messenger. This can help advertisers offer customers more creative types of content when interacting with them through Messenger. By approaching them with highly appealing, engaging and immersive content, you will have a better chance of leaving a positive, lasting impression on your customers, potentially increasing web traffic and conversion rates.
For full, spherical 360 photos, you must use ‘equirectangular’ projection. Only if the 360 photos fulfill the below requirements, can they be properly processed by Facebook:
- Photo Aspect Ratio: 2:1
- Projection Type: Equirectangular
- Image Resolution: Should be less than 30,000 pixels in any dimension, less than 135,000,000 pixels in total size.
- File Size: Maximum 45MB (JPEG) or 60MB (PNG). JPEG photos under 20-30MB are recommended.
In order for your photo to be recognised as a 360 one, the photo file you upload must have the correct metadata.
Have you tried it?
I’m sure you’ve come across a few 360 photo ads on Facebook, but have you ever experimented with, or created one? Did you do it for fun or for advertising purposes? We’re very interested in hearing what your thoughts are about this feature. Let us know in the comments section below!
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