At the Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco, and again in Seattle at Melrose Market Studios, Pixability brought together some of the brightest leaders in the world of 360° video and virtual reality to share their insights on the emerging medium.

Executives from SunnysideVR, SubVRsive, 5D Global Studio, Carat USA, and VidCon joined Pixability in San Francisco for a conversation on the future of immersive video in marketing, and in Seattle Pixability welcomed executives from Nielsen, Microsoft, 8Ninths, POSSIBLE, Carat and Visual Vocal. The panelists discussed how 360° video fits into the broader social video ecosystem, how marketers can create captivating virtual reality experiences, and how to craft stories for 360° video.

Marketers have an immense opportunity to use VR technology to connect with their audience in a unique way. As Austin Mace, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of SubVRsive put it, “With VR, when experienced in the right way — with a headset, fully immersed — you’re allowing folks to not just look at a frame, but to step into a moment. As an advertiser, that’s really powerful stuff.”

Tia Shaw, Carat’s Director of Strategy & Innovation, echoed that important insight: “Our whole goal is about making an emotional connection for brands — and here we have a medium that’s built just for that.”

In 2016, we saw 360° video and virtual reality emerge in a big way — and unsurprisingly, Google and Facebook are leading the charge to define the experience for consumers and advertisers.

At the F8 developer conference, Facebook introduced Facebook Spaces, a virtual meeting point for users in the VR world. Users create their own VR avatar (similar to a 3D Bitmoji), and can virtually meet up to socialize, share VR videos, or play games together. Initial tests indicate a dramatic rise in game play times for users who played with others. Facebook also presented new VR camera designs that shoot video with a much more realistic, “six degrees of freedom” viewing experience, along with new special effects like the automatic swapping out of the entire background of a video scene.

And at Google I/O 2017, YouTube announced that it will soon be rolling out 360° video support to the YouTube app on connected TVs and game consoles, bringing this immersive format to the living room audience.

Audiences are taking to these immersive video experiences, with recent reports indicating that 90% of US consumers think watching videos in 360° makes for an improved viewing experience. But the question remains: will 360° and VR be relegated to recreation, or become a disruptive force impacting commercial content and advertising? We’re not alone in betting the latter.

Click here to watch the highlights of the panel in San Francisco.

Would you like to see Pixability’s panel on the future of immersive video in marketing in your city? Get in touch with us today.