- Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific ran a marketing campaign last July that performed better than any of its prior brand campaigns, according to a statement shared with Mobile Marketer. The effort included 360-degree mobile video ads that let users see immersive views of the airline's lounge and first class cabins.
- The airline saw gains in several key audience metrics, including unaided awareness (+27%), favorability (+25%) and preference for the airline (+12%). The ads also saw higher click-through rates than the industry average of 0.33%, Cathay Pacific's VP of marketing Robecta Ma said in the release.
- Customers spent an average of 20.8 seconds on the expandable banner ads that appeared on Conde Nast Traveler's website. OmniVirt, a platform for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) advertising, worked with Cathay Pacific on developing and distributing the 360-degree videos.
One challenge for companies trying to sell a luxury experience like airline travel is overcoming the limitations of 2-D ads or traditional video spots that explain what people can expect once they step foot on the plane. Cathay Pacific and ad tech startup OmniVirt provided a greater level of engagement by showing mobile users an airplane interior that they could explore by moving their smartphones around or dragging their finger across the screen to rotate the view. Engaging viewers with compelling ads remains a key issue for mobile marketers as they contend with ad blockers, short attention spans and hurdles with technical platforms.
OmniVirt, which has delivered more than 800 million VR ad impressions for brands like Cathay Pacific and Samsung, said that VR is well suited for travel-related promotions that are intended to showcase experiences without replacing them entirely, giving travelers just a taste of what they can expect before they make a pricey ticket purchase. VR is effective for the travel space likely because it gives potential customers the ability to experience hotels, airplanes or destinations during their purchase journey to help them make more informed decisions.
Ads using 360-degree video, specifically, give users more control of what they experience and look at, as the tool is somewhat of a choose-your-own-adventure format that's customizable based on what the user wants to learn about the brand. OmniVirt also has a self-service platform that lets brands upload their own 360-degree videos for placement across publisher websites. The company said 360-degree video is the simplest form of VR because it doesn't require high production costs or complicated editing.
Cathay isn't the first brand to try out the VR format. Jaguar and EasyJet are among those that have recently enlisted 360-degree video ads through OmniVirt's self-service platform.