Announcing Wistia’s 360 Video Player and 360 Heatmaps

May 3, 2016

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Naike Romain


Video has the ability to humanize business by providing a window into the qualities and people that make a company unique. With 360 video, businesses can do more than let viewers see through the window — they can invite them inside.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that Wistia has built a home for your 360 video content.

Wistia’s 360 offering is the first of its kind, empowering anyone to share engaging experiences and measure their impact. With our 360 video player and revolutionary analytics, you can explore a new medium while benefitting from the customization options and in-depth stats that Wistia is known for.

360 video hosting

Using Wistia’s 360 player, you can share your interactive content on your website and customize it to match your brand. As with our regular player, you can change the color, add or remove controls, and even choose a custom thumbnail. Video marketing tools like Wistia’s Turnstile email collector and calls to action are also available for 360 videos, allowing you to identify your viewers and encourage them to take next steps.

We recently held a Boston VR Meetup event at our office, and we made sure to shoot plenty of 360 footage throughout the night. When it came time to write a recap for the blog, we included the following immersive video and customized the player to complement our blog’s aesthetic. In this case, we even added a CTA at the end.

Wistia-hosted 360 videos support viewing on desktop, mobile, and VR headsets. We prioritized speed to ensure the player and content continue to load quickly, even though 360 video files are larger.

360 heatmaps

To track how viewers interact with 360 video, we needed to come up with an entirely new way to measure engagement. Our 360 heatmaps provide a visualization of not only how the video was watched over time, but also where in space the viewer was looking.

We use a flattened image of the 360 video (also known as an equirectangular projection) and overlay it with a heatmap to make the viewing data easier to understand. These heatmaps indicate the areas of the video that have attracted the most attention. They also show you the areas that weren’t seen at all. Wistia tracks individual viewing sessions, so you can retrace the path of each viewer and learn how they interacted with your video.

Using our 360 heatmaps, you can edit your content and create future content based on what draws your audience’s attention.

Mobile device support

These days, more and more website traffic is coming from mobile devices, which means we needed to ensure that viewing 360 videos from a phone or tablet was a frictionless experience. Android devices are able to handle 360 video in the native browser, so all Wistia videos will play seamlessly there. To keep the same quality of experience across iOS devices, we’re also introducing a native app: Wistia 360!

Wistia 360 ensures that viewers using iOS devices will have an optimal experience watching your 360 content. Our app has minimal branding and is designed to get out of the way, so your content can shine. Aside from our heatmaps, the biggest difference between Wistia 360 and other 360 apps is that you own the experience, not us. We believe your content should be front and center, not our player or the app!

When a visitor comes across a 360 video on your site, they will be prompted to view it from their desktop or to install the Wistia 360 app for free. When viewers use the app to watch your videos, you’ll receive that mobile viewing data right alongside the rest.

Desktop browser support

Wistia-hosted 360 videos work well in Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. Currently, our 360 player does not play well with Internet Explorer, and Safari doesn’t support any 360 content. For 360 content to retain optimal visual quality, it should be played at either 1080p or 4K.

With the launch of 360 video support, we’re enabling businesses to have a completely different type of conversation. When Wistia first started, most companies were just beginning to understand the value of video. Today, 360 video is in a similar place: the measurable benefits are still being determined, but we see tons of potential in the medium. Together, we’ll uncover all of the ways 360 videos allow businesses to tell stories in new ways.

We’re focused on providing the best 360 viewing experience on desktop, mobile, or VR headset, and we’re proud to give you a new type of analytics to help you evolve your videos over time.

Naike Romain


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