As social platforms continue to launch live video, several are upping the ante by integrating 360-degree viewing capability — and Twitter is the latest to follow suit.
Last week, Twitter announced plans to offer 360-degree live video in collaboration with the video streaming app Periscope — so far, it has only been rolled out to select partners. The announcement comes on the heels of the debut of Facebook’s live 360-degree platform as well as Instagram Live, both of which launched last month and provide real-time, behind-the-scenes looks to followers.
For fashion brands and publishers alike, the emerging bevy of accessible live video serves as a launchpad to experiment with digital strategies and better connect with consumers and readers. Ben Boskovich, Esquire’s social media editor, said Twitter’s 360-degree live video will be useful for targeting diverse demographics with interests that may differ from those on other platforms. He anticipates that the men’s style publication will use the tool for upcoming events like New York Fashion Week in February and major film festivals.
“Our audience’s interests vary significantly across the many social networks we use, so having the same capability to reach them on each and every platform will help us create live coverage specific to our readers’ interests on Twitter,” Boskovitch said.
Though Twitter’s 360-degree videos are not yet publicly available, the fashion industry’s reception to Instagram Live and Facebook’s videos is telling. When Facebook’s (non-live) 360-degree videos first launched in early 2016, several publishers and brands — including Refinery 29, Dior and The Wall Street Journal — leveraged the offering to share glimpses of fashion week shows from brands like VFiles and Jason Wu.
Likewise, when Instagram Live launched last month, publishers like Refinery29 were keen to give it a trial run, sharing live videos on topics like the Screen Actors Guild Awards, a behind-the-scenes look at a fashion shoot and a restaurant opening.
Beyond simply connecting with consumers, Rachel Bogan, partner at Work & Co., anticipates that Twitter’s live video will help personalize e-commerce by allowing shoppers to get an immersive look at events or even just a look inside a physical store itself.
“360-degree live video can be a new way to bridge digital with brick and mortar,” Bogan said. “The look of something can be so different in person than what product photos and descriptions reveal. Imagine if a fashion brand could send you a 360-degree video of a product or if a friend could send you one from the store.”
Additionally, she anticipates the 360-degree capability will give Twitter an edge over existing live services on Facebook and Instagram, and will push brands to be creative with their use of live video.
“It could be the professional evolution of unboxing videos, or it could make product videos more achievable for other brands since mass video production is always a challenge,” she said. “If Twitter nails that process, they could be a leader in this space.”