Facebook has been banking heavily on the 360-degree video format ever since it was released last autumn. On one hand it wants to make 360 as immersive as possible for users and on the other hand it wants to “help publishers and creators better engage their audiences and learn more about how they respond to their 360 videos”. That’s why Facebook has just launched two new publisher tools – Guide and Heatmap.
In 360 video it is easy to miss key moments if you’re not looking in the right direction. Guide allows you to “give your viewers a guided tour of your 360 video as it plays”. As Facebook explains in a recent blog post,
Guide lets you set the narrative for your 360 video by highlighting specific points of interest in the field of view over the course of your video.
You simply select those points as you play through your video when uploading, and viewers will be directed around it, allowing them not to miss any of the action. To use Guide, after uploading a video you will need to check the “This video was recorded in 360° format” box and enable Guide in the “360 Controls” tab. For viewers, Guide will be on by default and your video will automatically follow the points you set in the upload process. Dragging or looking around in a 360 video then cancels it, but “tapping the heading indicator on the right side of the video” brings it back.
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Heatmap is an insights tool that allows publishers to find out which part of their 360 video is more interesting. When looking at Heatmap, you can see the areas of the 360-degree field of the video “that audiences have spent the most time watching”. Essentially, it shows the “hottest” parts of any 360 video, measuring 30° user-movements within any scene. And as Facebook explains, Guide and Heatmap work together,
For publishers who opt to use Guide, the insights you glean from Heatmap may help inform how you select your points of interest in Guide.
All videos posted since May 1 will be able to use Heatmap, as long as they’ve surpassed 50,000 unique viewers. The feature is available in your Video Library under Publishing Tools. All you have to do is click on the video you want to find info about and click on Heatmap, under the Video Insights tab for that video.