When it comes to the new technology of 360 videos, the world currently has 2 out of 3. It certainly works as YouTube gets a steady flow of various videos uploaded every day. It adds value, allowing users to experience locations and events like never before. However, presenting the videos in apps, platforms and expensive goggles, each one unique and proprietary, cannot continue long if the technology is to really take off.
#1- Too Many Platforms Creates Inefficiency
Back in the 80’s, there were multiple computer companies each with their own proprietary operating system. As a result, progress crawled along and few of the companies survived. Software companies (such as they were) had to make multiple versions of the program for all of the different operating systems. At the worst, some companies had to engineer close to a dozen “versions” of the same product to work on all of the popular systems at the time. Inevitably, several operating systems would be left out.
Then the internet came along. But at the time, it wasn’t enough for real programming tasks. This is what made Java so important at the time. It allowed programmers to write software that ran on a web page that could be run on any platform (providing you had the latest installment of Java). Today with the advancement of HTML5, there is no excuse for “taking the easy way out” and building an exclusive app to handle content.
Currently, the kaleidoscope of VR and 360 video offerings is going through a similar evolution. Multiple videographers aligned with software companies and hardware makers are developing interesting and revolutionary content… and host them within a proprietary app. Certainly, the problem does not create a financially challenging situation as it did 30 years ago when a user would have to buy a different computer to run a specific piece of software. But with phones crammed with apps and music and movies, adding yet another 5 or 20 new apps just to watch a few new videos is ridiculous.
#2 - It Allows Search for Content Regardless of OriginIt seems too obvious to state, but nearly everyone in the western hemisphere between the ages of 65 and 4 usually searches for and view information using a search engine. And that search engine results with what? Links to web pages! It doesn’t result in a list of apps you must download and then pick the 23rd video on the list, but not before you sign up to receive spam email. If the 360 community maintain the majority of its videos in proprietary apps, they will most likely not be viewed because no one knows they are there.
#3 - Web-Enabled 360 Video Can Be Put in Advertising SpaceThis is a big deal for advertisers and content providers who do not necessarily want to show videos that take over an entire screen. Like the banner ads you see today on the top or side of web pages, 360 video ads can give advertisers the ability to engage with potential customers far beyond counting impressions and click-throughs. REAL customer engagement could be possible with a smart and engaging creative. Imagine you're in the market for a new home. You pull up the page of a home you're interested in and begin looking around in multiple rooms at the same time on the same page. Simple and easy. Or how about a travel web page where you can see multiple videos at once – imagine seeing the Grand Canyon and looking around at different sections of the park at the same time without jumping in and out of a video. None of this is possible if all video is stuck in numerous apps. As well, video advertisements on the side of web pages are not little YouTube frames or require proprietary software to play them.
#5 - YouTube Is Not the Answer for MarketersOutside of all of the reasons noted above, another article could be dedicated to this one subject alone. Certainly, if you have a simple 360 video that you're interested in getting out to the public, YouTube is likely at the top of your list where it should be posted. However, the size and quality of your videos are then limited.
When you put your video in YouTube’s playground, you must play by their rules with only the features they support. If you want additional features such as the ability for a consumer to click in a certain region and “buy” a product or go to the customers’ web page, you're out of luck.
If you are looking for 360 videos for marketing purposes, YouTube is completely worthless for 360 videos when it comes to what’s really important to marketers– analytics. Like noted before, impression numbers, time spent watching, and click-through rates is worthless data when it comes to 360 videos. When you have a product or a series of products that are right in front of you, you can only guess if the customer saw it. When there are products all around them, like in a 360 video, you need to know where they looked and if they ACTUALLY saw your product or whatever it was you were selling. If they were looking at the birds flying overhead, you just wasted everyone’s time. Currently, YouTube does not offer much other than the number of views and for how long.