Facebook Adds Guide, Heatmap Features for 360 Video; New Video Metrics

It’s all video, all the time at Facebook, as the social network Wednesday introduced two tools for publishing 360-degree videos, Guide and Heatmap, along with new video metrics in Page Insights.

It’s all video, all the time at Facebook, as the social network Wednesday introduced two tools for publishing 360-degree videos, Guide and Heatmap, along with new video metrics in Page Insights.

The social network described Guide as a way for publishers to provide viewers with a guided tour of their 360 videos, ensuring that those viewers see key moments.

Heatmap is a visual insights tool that displays the portions of the field of view for 360-degree videos that viewers are spending the most time watching.

Facebook 360 partnerships lead Paul Beddoe-Stephens provided more details on Guide and Heatmap in a Facebook Media blog post:

Guide lets you set the narrative for your 360 video by highlighting specific points of interest in the field of view over the course of your video. If you decide to use Guide, once you select these points, people who view your video will automatically be directed around the video as it plays, ensuring that they don’t miss the action—whether that’s a diver plunging into the water or a shark swimming up behind them.

When people watch your video, Guide will be turned on by default—your video will automatically pan around to your points of interest as it plays. Viewers who prefer to not watch via Guide can simply pan or swipe out of the scene to explore the full 360-degree view on their own. If they’d like to return to the guided experience, tapping the heading indicator on the right side of the video (which will say “Auto” whenever Guide is turned on) will bring back the Guide.


Heatmap is an insights tool that helps you understand which parts of your 360 video your audience finds most interesting. It shows you the specific portions of the field of view that audiences have spent the most time watching, displayed as a visual map that highlights the “hottest” parts of your video. This information is pulled from aggregate data of our view ports, measuring every time your viewer moves 30 degrees within the scene. For publishers who opt to use Guide, the insights you glean from Heatmap may help inform how you select your points of interest in Guide.

Heatmap will be available for any video posted from May 1 that has more than 50,000 unique viewers. To see your Heatmap for a specific video, visit your Video Library under Publishing Tools, then click on the video you’d like to learn more about. You’ll find Heatmap under the Video Insights tab for that video.


Beddoe-Stephens also highlighted uses of Guide by GoPro, The New York Times and ABC News, and he included the following instructions for publishers that want to begin using the feature:

  • When you upload your video to Facebook, check, “This video was recorded in 360° format.”
  • Head to the new “360 Controls” tab.
  • Check the box that says “Enable Guide.”
  • Play through your video to identify the points of interest that you don’t want your followers to miss.
  • To add a point of interest, select “+ Add Point” when the video is paused, and that point of interest will be added to Guide.

The new video metrics introduced by Facebook Wednesday will give publishers a greater handle on audience demographics (age, gender, location), engagement with Facebook Live videos and views from shares and cross-posting.

Product manager Anaid Gomez-Ortigoza went into more details in a separate Facebook Media blog post:

Publishers will now be able to break out minutes viewed by age, gender and top geographic locations. Moreover, publishers will be able to compare and contrast demographics for a specific video with typical video viewers on that page. Find the demographic data in the new “Audience and Engagement” card in Video Insights; this will be available for all videos, including Live and 360.

FBVideoMetricsTopAudience FBVideoMetricsTopLocations

For the first time, publishers will be able to see how aggregate audiences engaged at specific points during a Live broadcast and see when they were moved to react to, comment on or share the video.

These new metrics show the volume of Reactions, comments and shares throughout a Live video, helping publishers analyze viewer sentiment and identify the most compelling moments. A publisher can simply select a moment of interest on the engagement graph and can easily watch the corresponding video clip. To access, go to the new “Audience and Engagement” card and select the “Video Engagement” section; these metrics are exclusively for Live videos.

FBVideoMetricsAllEngagement FBVideoMetricsLikesOnly

When people like a video, they’re more inclined to share it with their friends, which helps get that video in front of new people. Recommendations from friends are powerful: In fact, 48 percent of video watch time on Facebook comes from shares.

Publishers will now be able to understand more about how sharing impacts distribution of videos and what kind of content compels people to share. For all videos, publishers will be able to access breakdowns of views and minutes viewed from the original video post versus shares and cross-posts of the video. This new breakdown is part of the existing “Minutes Viewed” and “Views” cards.


Readers: What are your initial thoughts on the new video publishing tools and metrics announced by Facebook Wednesday?

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.