Google offers the ability to capture 360 degree images through the use of specialized cameras. These images can be combined and used as virtual tours within your Google My Business listing, your website and beyond. The 360 degree images provide the viewer, your audience, with a virtual view of what your point of interest, such as a business, park, landmark, outdoor venue, etc look like.
Virtual tours should be considered an augmentation, not a solution, to your marketing plan. They can be helpful to present visually what the visitor will find and see when they arrive at your point of interest. Virtual tours go beyond basic photography and can entice your audience to a greater degree.
Virtual Tour Consideration Points
Keep the following factors in mind while considering whether to pursue the use of a virtual tour:
First, virtual tours are captured by Google Trusted Photographers (GTP) who use either a DSLR camera with a fisheye lens or a Google approved 360 camera such as the Theta S. The DSLR setup can produce higher quality images but will involve more work and come with a high price tag. The approved Theta S camera can produce images that are of high enough quality to most audiences and involve much less work and thus usually cost less to produce.
Second, capturing 360 degree images requires proper lighting and conditions. For example, capturing outdoor images require appropriate lighting and conditions that depend on the time of day, cloud cover, position of the sun, foliage cover and other variables. With this in mind, capturing quality tours might take more than one visit to produce and will depend on having a day with preferable conditions. For indoor images some of the same factors apply such as lighting, but in addition the design of the room or rooms can also be a factor.
Third, consider your audience and where most of the images are viewed. If your point of interest (POIs) is a high end establishment obtaining the services of a GTP who uses a DLSR will be worth the cost. For outdoor POIs, the 360 cameras can work very well.
Finally, before pursuing the use of a virtual tour, you need to make sure your basic online presence is in order. For example you’ve claimed, optimized and are managing your Google My Business listing. Your website meets today’s best practices such as being mobile friendly and using the https protocol. The data related to your POI is accurate and in order, such as the hours and location are correctly listed.
How To Get Your Virtual Tour
We use the Theta S 360 camera for capturing virtual tours. This setup is ideal for shorter virtual tours, for outdoor venues, and for those points of interest not warranting the need to the higher quality DSLR produce images. It doesn’t produce the high images a DSLR would, but is appropriate in many cases. Contact us today for a quick evaluation of your point of interest to see whether you would benefit from a virtual tour.