Why the US Coast Guard uses 360 Media to Boost Recruitment

The decision to apply to the highly selective United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) is one that’s never taken lightly. Each student completes a comprehensive academic curriculum covering the subjects of mathematics, science, nautical science, engineering, and liberal arts while adhering to a rigorous physical training regimen. After four years of study, students must serve five years of active duty service for the Coast Guard.

To help prospective students learn more about career opportunities with the USCGA, the academy partnered with YouVisit to create two immersive 360-degree experiences. The first experience, embedded below, gives prospective students a guided tour of the school’s 110-acre campus, located in suburban New London, CT. Viewers can explore the campus in stunning detail, complete with 360-degree panoramas, videos, and informative text.

“USCG is usually always ‘behind the times’ when it comes to having savvy recruiting and promotional interfaces—but this [experience] completely changes the game.” —Lieutenant Commander of the USS Stratton

The experience not only helps prospective students evaluate campus facilities, they can also request more information, schedule a visit, or apply online—from right within the experience itself. The tour garners 25,000+ annual visitors, a 16 percent conversion rate, and an average engagement length of 9.5+ minutes. After seeing the success of their first YouVisit experience, they decided to go deeper.

Virtual Tour

The second USCGA virtual experience is designed to educate prospective recruits more about the career options available to recruits once they graduate: a career in aviation, on sea, or working ashore. Viewers follow along with Paul, a Coast Guard officer stationed in Alameda, CA, as he gives a tour of the USCGC Stratton, a 418-ft long naval ship used for intelligence collection, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

The virtual experience uses immersive 360-degree photos, videos, and panoramas to give potential recruits a realistic glimpse into a career with the Coast Guard. The academy uses the experience to recruit cadets via their website and with VR headsets at career fairs. The Lieutenant Commander of the USS Stratton had this to say about the Coast Guard’s forays into virtual reality: “USCG is usually always ‘behind the times’ when it comes to having savvy recruiting and promotional interfaces—but this [experience] completely changes the game. Thanks for allowing Stratton to shine.”

Another branch of the US military, the US Army, partnered with YouVisit and tripled website engagement. Get the case study here.