Research: 360° video ads drive higher purchase intent

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MAGNA, the intelligence, investment and innovation unit within IPG Mediabrands, and IPG Media Lab, the media futures and advisory arm of IPG Mediabrands, in partnership with YuMe by RhythmOne, a partner for video advertising leadership and innovation, have revealed the results of a media trial examining consumers’ perspective on 360° video advertising from innovative brands BMW, Royal Caribbean and PBS. The resulting report, The 360° Effect: Understanding Immersive Video, reveals the opportunities this ad format provides to marketers and the challenges marketers will face in maximising its value. The report also offers insight into how marketers should utilise this new video ad format to help drive brand KPIs.

While most brands have yet to utilise 360° video for marketing purposes, many consumers are already familiar with the format. Consumers show a strong interest in 360° videos created by brands, with the majority (69 per cent) intending to interact with brand videos in the future. Consumers’ primary interest in brand-created 360° video relates to viewers’ desire for entertainment and new experiences. Marketers need not only to deliver on high expectations for fun, but also to move the needle on the metrics that drive brand growth.

“While 360° video ads offer the most accessible immersive video ad experiences for consumers – available across mobile, PCs and VR headsets – marketers must artfully balance entertainment with branding to achieve optimal brand metrics,” said Devin Fallon, VP of Analytics, YuMe by RhythmOne. “Our study reinforces the opportunity that marketers have to drive purchase intent with 360° video ads, provided they properly incorporate brand messages to encourage higher recall.”

“This research not only has helped us better understand the user experience for 360° video ads, but also the common pitfalls marketers may face in driving important metrics such as brand favourability and purchase intent,” said Kara Manatt, SVP, Intelligence Solutions Strategy at MAGNA. “Consumers are welcoming of this advertising format because it provides a fun and engaging experience. We need to ensure that we deliver on those expectations and our KPIs at the same time.”

Key insights include:

Consumer Preference

  • Consumers are eager to experience 360° video even when created by brands. However, they have high expectations for fun and excitement, which were reported as the top reasons for engaging with 360 video in the future. 88 per cent of those who found 360° “entertaining” intend to interact with 360° video ads in the future.
  • Early tech adopters are most likely to engage with and enjoy 360° video, making it a big opportunity for brands targeting tech savvy consumers.
  • Providing simple instructional cues provided the best user experience. Some consumers didn’t engage with the video because they weren’t sure what to do.

Marketer Takeaways

  • Overall, 360° video can be an effective format in delivering against brand KPIs above and beyond traditional video; however, challenges persist in creating memorable experiences given the inherent distractions of the format.
  • The payoff is big once consumers recalled the brand, with +7 per cent purchase intent increase on smartphones and +12% in agreement that the brand “has a unique story to tell” compared with a traditional video ad.
  • While VR headset environments serve as the ideal platform, smartphone was the next best option. 360° video outperformed on smartphones compared with the same ad on PC, with a +10 per cent in purchase intent.
  • Contextual targeting can make a difference – pairing a 360° ad with content that is also 360° improves branding impact. The same ad is perceived as 8 per cent more relevant compared with running in front of standard (non-360°) content.

“360-degree video is a true discovery experience – showcasing multiple facets of the brand offering instead of being limited to just one or two messages,” said UM’s Global Chief Innovation Officer, Chad Stoller. “This provides brands with an ability to tap into consumer passions while allowing them to choose their own journey through the experience.”

In conducting the media trial, a total of 2,159 consumers were recruited from a representative online panel. The survey directed participants to a media experience of their choosing on PC, smartphone, or smartphone-enabled VR device, where they were able to view a webpage and watch video content based on their interests. Each participant was randomised into a test cell that determined what type of pre-roll video they saw – control, standard video ad, or 360°video ad. Afterwards, participants completed a survey that measured traditional branding metrics and qualitative feedback.


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