Ah, Facebook 360: the new bright and shiny social media toy that’s got the marketing industry in a spin. What to do with it, where to use it, how do we even begin?

Allow me to explain, with the help of insights from an experiment conducted by Katy Newton and Karin Soukup in partnership with Stanford’s d.school Media Experiments, the National Film Board of Canada, and Paisley Smith:

  1. Shift from UX to AX

Facebook 360 and virtual reality (VR) call on designers to not just consider user experience, but audience experience. AX acknowledges the audience is not just using the material, they are watching it unfold before their eyes. Think like an audience member when developing your Facebook 360 content.


  1. Insignificant objects can take on huge significance

Newton and Soukup’s experiment showed that when subjects were immersed in VR, they became detectives trying to determine the importance of aspects of their universe that were irrelevant to the main tenets of the world. “When our viewer’s are participants within our stories instead of casual observers, we can’t simply expect them to focus on the carrot we’re dangling in front of them,” says Firebrand Groups’ Grant Newton. Consider the environment you’re inserting your audience in and whether or not it conveys the right message.

  1. Every individual is unique 

Two people will look at certain aspects of the story in the exact same order or interpret them in the exact same way. “Each of them [will] excitedly [walk] away with unique perspectives and stories to share,” says Newton. But what if you want the audience to focus on very specific elements of the story, like a note being passed or a sign on a locked door? Newton and Soukup recommend capitalizing on the audience’s fear of missing out (yes, we just referenced FOMO) to your advantage and get the audience to seek these elements out on their own.

An example of a Facebook 360 video in a user's newsfeed.
An example of a Facebook 360 video in a user’s newsfeed.
  1. Feelings trump facts 

Newton and Soukup found that when people’s views are limited from 360 degrees to 90 or 180, they tend to remember more about the presented scene. This suggests that an information overload can detract from the ultimate goals of Facebook 360. But while audience members found the scope of the scene distracting, 360 participants walked away with emotional connections from the story. So, if you insist on keeping your scope in 360, focus on feelings over facts when crafting your strategy.

  1. The audience= the active observer

With AX, the audience becomes both a user and observer of your content. Newton and Soukup remind us to think about how you want to guide your audience through the virtual reality created through Facebook 360. “Our inspiration for content should be immersive theater like Fuerza Brua, Sleep No More…where our audience is transformed into active participants of our show,” says Newton. Help your audience become participants, then show them the way through this brand-new Facebook 360 landscape.


Happy Facebook 360-ing!