The photo is dead, long live the 360

I grew up in a world where print media was king, where the job of a photographer was to freeze-frame a flattering scene and commercial photography reigned supreme. But those days are numbered, nowadays consumers taste in photography has moved on – consumers want the real, inside story. No longer will the audience passively consume the airbrushed marketing output of brands, instead they are looking for transparency, honesty and authenticity. The social media revolution has no doubt contributed to this shift towards a less polished style preference for brand imagery.

No longer will the audience passively consume the airbrushed marketing output of brands, instead they are looking for transparency, honesty and authenticity.

Static images hosted on the web are easily skipped-over and fail to make the most of the opportunities provided by ubiquitous internet connectivity and mobile device ownership. The prevalence of social networking in everyday life has also increased the desire and even expectation, for interaction between company and consumer, around brand content. This new world is three-dimensional, layered, interactive, immersive.

This new world is three-dimensional, layered, interactive, immersive.

360 Photos Explained

360 degree photo shoot welcomes users to explore inside a business from every angle, providing transparency and showing a gentle confidence. Many businesses all over the world are enjoying the benefits of 360 degree photography. Already 360 photos are very popular among those selling a physical space, such as hotels and estate agents. Retailers are getting in on the act too, as a way to leverage their expensive bricks-and-mortar locations and help turn online visitors into offline shoppers.

Google My Business & 360 Photography

Businesses can submit 360 photos to be displayed on a Google My Business profile – previously known as Google Local and Google Places. Further to this, premises with 360 tours will be incorporated into the Google StreetView virtual world, thus available to view via Google Maps and will appear in more SERPs.

Google is certainly committed to developing this technology; a new Google-compatible service now allows the audience to go even deeper and interact with what they see. Information windows appear as users navigate around the page and clickable “hotspots” displayed on the images, drive towards purchasing pages.

Much more than a photography trend

360 degree photography is very rich content, delivering multiple communication and SEO benefits. With over 90% of consumers starting their search for local services, products or information using the Google search engine and 55% of UK adults regularly using Google StreetView, this innovative and engaging content is what users are beginning to expect. In cities of the US, the 360 virtual tour is already considered an essential part of the business, akin to having a website, and the UK catching up fast. Static two-dimensional images are out, immersive interactive 360s are in.

Static two-dimensional images are out, immersive interactive 360s are in.

The Facts & Figures of  360 Tours

  •  90% of all internet searches in the UK start with Google (statista.com)
  • Real estate listings with virtual tours get 87% more views than those with only still photos (realtor.com)
  • Property Week reports that virtual tours cut wasted property viewings by 40%, saving time for both agents and buyers.
  • Carlson Hotel Group found that virtual tours generated 46% more bookings, than those web pages with only static photographs showing the properties.

Author aardvark360

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