By Josh Roberts, Product Manager
Just over a year ago we launched 360 video on Facebook, and in June we launched 360 photos, enabling people to fully immerse themselves in places and situations they may have never seen before. We’ve been amazed by all the creative and engaging content that publishers, video creators, and storytellers have shared on Facebook in this immersive new format.
Today we’re excited to announce that 360 videos and photos are coming to Instant Articles.
Instant Articles is a complementary canvas for 360 media. Journalists and storytellers can share richer stories and paint more vivid scenes by joining 360 content with other Instant Articles elements that publishers are using to deliver their written, filmed, and spoken narratives. Each Instant Article can contain multiple 360 photos and videos that readers can explore, share, and comment on in the context of a story. Readers will see the 360 content in-line and have the option to navigate by turning their device or by tapping and dragging.
USA TODAY NETWORK and BILD have experimented with 360 videos and photos on Facebook and are the first to showcase their integrations in Instant Articles.
In the above article, USA TODAY NETWORK combined a voiceover by Ken Burns with 360 video footage, dynamic images and text overlays to create a narrated tour of the U.S. National Parks. They also showcase the power of the new style editor available for Instant Articles publishers to bring their brand into the visual narrative of the stories they tell on Facebook.
BILD uses 360 videos in their article above to take readers aboard the USS Harry S. Truman vessel. Through multiple 360 video cuts and perspectives, they showcase the unimaginable vastness of the mile-long aircraft runway on the ship, as well as the intimacy of the captain’s cockpit.
To view the Instant Articles version of these stories, open the Facebook app on your iPhone or Android phone and search for Instant Articles. Find and tap on the Instant Articles Verified Page in the search results and scroll to the USA Today or BILD story. When you tap on the article, it will load as an Instant Article and you can then explore the 360 media in the story by tilting and panning your phone.
Starting today, publishers can begin including 360 videos and photos in their Instant Articles, and readers using the latest versions of Android and iOS will see the new experience. For more details on implementation, read our developer documentation.
In the coming months we plan to introduce more interactive features in Instant Articles and we’re excited to see how publishers experiment and innovate with these new storytelling tools.