Facebook 360 Updates include more Analytics

Facebook has launched new tools for its 360° video software that enhances the narrative experience of the video, through two main updates: a 'guide' and a 'heatmap'.

Img source: newsroom.fb.com
If you are unfamiliar with the form, let me quickly bring you up to speed. Facebook's 360 video is an immersive way of viewing footage which allows the viewer to manage their own experience. Since the entire video is recorded from every angle, users can 'look around' the scene by turning their device, or swiping around the screen with their finger.

It hooks up directly to virtual reality headsets, which means that owners of the Oculus Rift or Samsung's VR technology can experience 360° videos in VR straight from their newsfeed.

Now, onto the new updates. The guide allows video creators to set 'points of interest' in the video. While viewers are free to look wherever they please, they can now defer to the guidance of the video-maker. This places control in the hands of the content creators, enabling them to direct the viewer's eye so they are less likely to miss important action.

The heatmap is a tool for creators which produces a visual representation of where viewers are looking in their video. This has the potential to improve a publisher's engagement with their audience, by giving them an insight into which moments and content are most enjoyed.

Having announced its intention to be 'video first' earlier in the year, Facebook is now encouraging users to upload more video content through promoting Live streaming and 360° videos. Facebook is also investing in helping users produce better footage, with last week's release of more sophisticated analytical and development tools.

Video-makers can access the demographics of their audience, as well as seeing which particular moments in their live videos were received best. The analytics report on views, likes, shares, cross-posts and more, so individuals can track the success of each post, and investigate the factors that boost view count.

Facebook's blog reports the popularity of the interactive, absorbing 360 format:

'More than 250,000 360 videos have been uploaded to Facebook. As more and more people immerse themselves in 360 video experiences, we want to help publishers and creators better engage their audiences and learn more about how they respond to their 360 videos.'

These new analytics tools have the potential to push 360° videos into new creative territory. They could help overcome the initial 'teething problems' of using a new form, and equip publishers to refine their approach to producing great content. We await further developments, tips, and instruction from Facebook HQ.

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