If you spend enough time in digital marketing, you’ll see lots of terms being used interchangeably. For instance, people use 3D tours, 360 tours, and virtual tours as if they have no difference. But they do! And more importantly, their difference can sometimes be extremely important in helping brands choose the right course of action for their marketing campaigns.
With the advent of technology, using virtual tours of properties, locations, and environments has become much easier. But there are other solutions in the market that present fairly advantageous opportunities to enhance your online exposure. In this article, we’ll only examine 3D virtual tours and 360-degree tours, and their similarities and differences.
By the end of this article, hopefully, you will fully understand the difference between a 3D Virtual tour and a 360 tour and you can decide which service is best for your business. So, let’s get started.
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What Is a 3D Virtual Tour?
A 3D virtual tour is an interactive experience that allows users to explore an environment in a 3D format. A 3D Virtual Tour uses advanced cameras to capture the entire space from different angles and then puts the images together and creates a holistic 3D model of the space. This will allow users to move around the virtual space as if they are physically there.
One of the greatest features of the 3D virtual tour is that it offers a realistic and immersive experience. You can spend as much time as you need to explore space, examine every single room from various angles, and even zoom in and out to see details with more clarity.
Moreover, a 3D virtual tour can include various multimedia components like videos, photos, and even text. So, you can add descriptions and additional information about a property or location that otherwise would have required hiring someone to present them to viewers.
Lastly, the main selling point of a 3D virtual tour is that it is highly interactive. If you think of traditional representation methods, like photos or videos, they only delivered a passive viewing experience that wasn’t engaging for the audience. However, with a 3D virtual tour, you allow users to control the experience and explore the space in a dynamic and engaging way.
What Is a 360 Tour?
A 360 tour is in some sense, the simple version of virtual tours that offers a 360 degrees view of a space. Creating a 360 tour is very similar to the process of creating virtual tours. For instance, we start by using advanced cameras to capture a series of high-quality images from all angles and stitch them together to create a seamless panoramic view.
360 tours are also similar to virtual tours in terms of capturing a location from different angles and offering a comprehensive view of the environment. However, watching a 360 tour feels like you are standing in the middle of the space and exploring the place from a single point of view.
360 tours are quite popular solutions in real estate since they allow home buyers to get a sense of the layout and design of the space. They are also easy to create and share and can be posted on websites, social media channels, and other platforms to drive more customers to your business.
Key Differences Between 3D Virtual Tours and 360 Tours
While 3D virtual tours and 360 tours share some similarities, there are also several key differences that you should keep in mind:
#1 Depth and Realism
Perhaps the main difference between a 3D Virtual Tour and a 360 Tour is the level of depth and realism they deliver. 3D virtual tours enjoy more modern technology and naturally offer a more realistic experience. Moreover, 3D virtual tours use specialized cameras which results in creating a highly detailed and realistic 3D model of the space.
On the other hand, 360 tours are better options if you are only looking for a panoramic view of the space, not a simulation that closely mirrors a physical visit. Notice that 360 tours can deliver high-quality resolution and a comprehensive view of the space, but they have a limited capacity when it comes to the depth, details, and realism of the pictures.
Another difference between a 3D Virtual Tour and a 360 Tour is in their prospective level of interactivity. 3D virtual tours are by design more interactive, allowing users to move through the space at their own pace and explore different areas of a place from various angles.
3D virtual tours also incorporate a wide range of multimedia elements that are essential to providing users with a more comprehensive, engaging, and informational experience.
360 tours lack this high level of interactivity. Users are still able to look around in all directions but they cannot move through the space in the same way that they can in a 3D virtual tour. In short, 360 tours are primarily designed to give a comprehensive overview of space not to deliver a detailed exploration.
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#3 Cost and Complexity
Another difference between a 3D Virtual Tour and a 360 Tour involves the potential costs and the complexity of the creation process. Both solutions require specialized equipment and software, but creating virtual tours is often more expensive and time-consuming.
Plus, 3D virtual tours are based on a more modern technology that requires a certain level of technical expertise to successfully design, create and edit them.
360 hours, on the other hand, are quite easy to create. You can even use your smartphone and a free editing app to create a simple 360 tour, which makes them more accessible and cost-effective options. However, the results are certainly not comparable to 3D virtual tours in terms of the detail and quality of the project.
#4 Purpose and Use Cases
3D virtual tours and 360 tours also have different use cases. But generally speaking, 3D virtual tours are widely favored options in the real estate industry, hospitality services, education, and tourism. Many agents, architects, and business owners use 3D tours to showcase a location to specific audiences in a compelling way.
360 tours can also be used in the mentioned industries and businesses but they are often used on different platforms and for different purposes. 360 tours are great options to target a wide range of audiences since they are cheaper and offer a comprehensive view of the place with less detail.
#5 File Size and Speed
Virtual tours typically consist of a series of high-resolution photographs or videos that can take up a significant amount of storage space. This can be a potential challenge if your website hosting doesn’t meet the minimum requirement, or if your viewers have limited bandwidth.
In terms of speed, 360 tours enjoy a much faster display rate and therefore have higher navigability, especially if you compress images or optimize them for web use on your website. In other words, since 360 tours are image-based, they don’t need as much processing power or bandwidth as 3D virtual tours.
That said, the loading speed and file size in both cases depends on many different factors, including the resolution and quality of the images, compression method, the quality of the internet connection, and the device on which they will be displayed.
#6 Integration with Other Technologies
Integration is one of the most significant features of any technology. Ideally, you want a tech solution that can be easily integrated with your existing services and apps, and have the flexibility to embrace other technologies you wish to get in the future.
When it comes to integration, 360 tours are fairly limited. They can potentially be integrated with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, but compared to other alternatives they have far less versatility.
3D virtual tours, however, are already fully integrated with VR technology and AR technology. We use computer-generated simulations to create 3D virtual tours which means they can be easily covered into various formats compatible with VR headsets and allow users to interact with the virtual environment in real time.
#7 User Experience
Last but not least, you should consider the difference in user experience before choosing any technology. As mentioned, 3D virtual tours offer a higher level of interactivity, immersion, and realism which creates a more engaging and memorable experience for users.
360 tours have limited navigability and only provide a 360-degree view of the environment from a fixed viewpoint. Viewers can quickly get a sense of their surrounding environment but they can’t interact with objects in the space or move around as freely as they can in a 3D virtual tour.
Moreover, by opting for 3D virtual tours, you have a wide range of customization options. For instance, you can include your brand logo and design elements as well as interactive features like hotspots, information pop-ups, and even sound effects to create a more immersive and engaging user experience.
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Choosing Between a 3D Virtual Tour and a 360 Tour
By now, you have a good guess about which technology is superior. But remember that the features and capabilities of each solution don’t necessarily make it a better option for every brand. The needs and priorities of a small business in the retail industry differ from those of a huge brand in the real estate market.
So, before deciding between a 3D virtual tour and a 360 tour, there are a few factors that you should consider:
- Purpose: why do you want to use a tour? Do you want to showcase a property in great detail or provide an overall overview of a location? 3D virtual tours are generally better options to create tailored experiences and target specific audience segments.
- Budget: How much are you willing to spend on your project? 3D virtual tours are typically more expensive than 360 tours since they are more skill-based, time-consuming, and complex.
- Technical expertise: creating 3D virtual tours without prior experience and relevant expertise is close to impossible. So, you might need to hire a professional team to help you out.
- Timeline: How quickly do you need the virtual tour to be completed? 3D virtual tours involve long hours of shooting, polishing, and editing which will take longer to create than 360 tours.
- Audience: if your audiences are tech-savvy and somewhat younger, they might expect you to provide them with a more engaging experience like a well-crafted virtual tour.
- Compatibility: Remember that some virtual tours may require special software or hardware. So, think about the features you intend to use on each solution and consider what platforms and devices your audience is more likely to use.
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At the end of the day, both 3D virtual tours and 360 tours are great options. Each offers different features and benefits to its users and they can be valuable resources for business owners who want to showcase a property or location.
Both 3D virtual tours and 360 tours are fairly user-friendly and easy to navigate. 360 tours have certain limitations in terms of interactivity and customization. O the other hand, 3D virtual tours offer more accessibility and versatility which would create an exceptional user experience.
By investing in a Virtual Tour, you can create a unique and engaging experience for potential customers that can help you grow your business and maximize your brand awareness. But you need a well-trained, professional team who can help you get the job done immediately and effectively.
And that’s exactly what we offer at Matterport Real Estate Tours. We offer a broad array of multi-media solutions to optimize your online exposure. With MPRE, you can enjoy the exceptional quality of our services provided by a team of dedicated professionals. Don’t hesitate any further. Contact us today.