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American Family Insurance debuts 360-degree video through AOL media property

American Family Insurance is the latest brand to jump on the immersive mobile video bandwagon, launching a 360-degree video through a noninvasive advertising platform for publishers. 

Specifically, the film was produced by RYOT Studios, and even more specifically by Huffpost RYOT, a VR production company that is a product of AOL?s acquisition of the former earlier this year. And, seeing as the 360-degree platform is a high-commitment form of content, American Family Insurance is deploying the advertisement through a low-entry platform.

?At OmniVirt, we have seen a 10x uplift in CTR on our units vs. standard display units when we run our VR360° unit as a magic window into a virtual world,? said Michael Rucker, co-founder of OmniVirt, the platform the ad is being hosted on. ?And when users do interact and launch the 360-degree unit, we have seen on average dwell times over 1 minute in length. 

?From my seven years at YouTube I can say that these are definitely impressive numbers from a user engagement perspective,? he said. ?Our goal with our product is to make watching and engaging with 360 video not a huge commitment. 

?Unlike most players in the space, we don't require the user to download a native app. We are able to provide a magic window to the experience right from standard display ad inventory or pre-roll inventory. So the audience can begin to engage with the content simply by moving their phone.?

American Family Insurance
The video, called Fearless Dreamers, takes place on a beach from the vantage of what looks to be a drone camera. Viewers are afforded an immersive view of the beach and the water it borders.

The video is then narrated by a voice that assures viewers that ?American Family Insurance protects what you?ve achieved, so you can fearlessly pursue your dreams.? 

?VR and 360 video is an amazing way to immerse your customer in your story,? Mr. Rucker said. ?We have run campaigns now for several insurance companies and each has had a very different message, but the overall goal of taking the customer through the brand's narrative remains consistent. 

?Whether it is bringing the audience into the flooded building that should have been insured or enveloping you in the story of the Fearless Dreamers that American Family Insurance is bringing to life in partnership with RYOT, these insurance companies are creating empathy and emotion with their audience. Ultimately, this is what every marketer strives for in order to turn those feelings into consideration and purchasing decisions.?

Immersive insurance
It has been said before that because there is nothing sexy about the product they sell, insurance companies have to be especially creative on the marketing end in order to maintain consumer attention. Lately, this has been in the form of splashy 360-degree videos, like the series Liberty Mutual made featuring HGTV?s Chip Wade, geared towards home and auto owners to help them address their maintenance worries (see story). 

In turn, Northwestern Mutual partnered with video producer SoulPancake for a digital and social video campaign, appealing to consumers in a non-advertising format (see story). 

?Without a doubt Virtual Reality is the next major computing platform,? Mr. Rucker said. ?Over $4 billion has been invested in the space from major technology companies like Google, Facebook, Sony, Samsung, and HTC. 

?This holiday season is the first time where all of the devices will be out in market. We have already seen the impact these great consumer ready devices on the industry's metrics. 

?And this is just the beginning.?