360 Videos Get Guides and Heatmaps

Facebook launched two new creator tools this week that will give publishers additional (and arguably more valuable) insights into how people are interacting with their 360 videos.

The first tool, called Guide, offers a "map" to help people navigate through a 360 video as it is playing. According to Facebook, the tool will foster a "lean-back experience" so users won't "miss a key moment." In many ways, Guide is quite similar to YouTube's annotations which make it possible to bookmark specific moments in videos.

"People who view your video will automatically be directed around the video as it plays, ensuring that they don't miss the action," the company explained in a blog post.

The second tool released this week will be quite appealing to publishers as it shows what those viewing the video find most interesting. If you're familiar with analytics, you'll know where this is going - Facebook has released a "heatmapping" tool which will display specific portions of a video where viewers have spent the majority of their time watching.

Facebook indicated that it will pull aggregate data of its view ports, measuring each and every time your viewer movies (30 degrees) within a scene. Ultimately, the expectation is that publishers will use heatmapping in a way that complements (informs) the Guide tool to surface the best information as determined by users.