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Why brands have the most to gain from Facebook 360 video

GE, Disney, Saturday Night Live and Mountain Dew are among the slew of brands that have quickly made use of Facebook?s new 360 video feature, pointing to virtual reality's growing role in marketing.

Facebook?s 360 video went live this week, inciting numerous brands to take advantage and develop their own interpretation of the video format, attempting to attract consumers with unique and attention grabbing content while the feature is fresh to users. Marketers are able to serve an experience that is new to consumers, showing them spaces and environments that in the past was unlikely to encounter. 

?We really think businesses and brands have the most to gain from this move," said Endri Tolka, chief operating officer and co-founder of YouVisit. "Companies in almost every industry are already creating highly professional virtual reality experiences for their marketing and sales efforts. 

"By now being able to post these immersive experiences to Facebook, they have the opportunity to reach an expanded audience with minimal additional effort.?

360 view of marketing
GE was able to give consumers an up close look at its newest locomotive through a 360 tour of the train and a helicopter ride, while a tour guide explained information regarding the machinery. The video was shared on the brand?s Facebook page and viewers simply move their smartphone around or swipe using their finger to explore the space from any angle. 

"Facebook 360 is an exciting platform for our immersive video content," said Katrina Craigwell, head of content and programming at GE. "Over the past year, we have released a series of virtual reality experiences that go behind the scenes at GE, exploring everything from our industrial test sites, to our subsea work at the bottom of the ocean. 

"We are always working on getting this content to as many science and tech enthusiasts as possible, and Facebook 360 presents a great opportunity for that," she said. 

Mountain Dew gave fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. a virtual ride through Bristol Motor Speedway with the racecar driver and his team, all sporting merchandise from the brand. Viewers are able to look at all directions of the speedway during the ride. 

Facebook launched the feature September 23, and while the videos are getting widespread attention it still has a few kinks to work out. Currently only available for Android devices, iOS capability will be rolling out soon. 

Viewers can experience the virtual reality feature on desktop as well by clicking their mouse around the video space to see around. 

Virtual reality 
Grooming product subscription service Birchbox Man is also delivered a unique virtual reality experience to members to further develop its newer male side of the service (see more). 

General Electric also shared a series of virtual reality videos in a recent campaign to engage consumers, giving them behind-the-scenes access to factories and what it takes to create GE products (see more). 

?As virtual reality is truly the ultimate social experience, 360-degree videos were the next logical step for Facebook to allow its users to share their intimate, real-world experiences," Mr. Tolka said. "This move makes it all the more important for Facebook users to have access to free platforms that allow them to build their 360-degree videos so that they can share these experiences as easily and quickly as possible."

Final take 
Brielle Jaekel