Virtual Reality is the Future of Advertising

The Future of Advertising Technology: Part 2

Hold on to your hover boards. We’re going back to the future to explore the Interactive Ad Bureau’s (IAB) predictions for advertising in virtual reality (VR).

Two years ago, Samsung partnered with Oculus to release Samsung Gear VR, an attachment for the Samsung Galaxy smartphone. As of today, Gear VR users can download 800 apps uniquely crafted for the VR experience. While virtual reality arcades are popping up everywhere, the Gear VR is an incredible advertising opportunity because it’s an individual device accessible wherever the user goes. This mobility means popularity. As of May 2016, reported more than one million people used the Samsung Gear VR. As for total VR usage, this year Statista has tracked 90 million VR users worldwide and projects users to grow to 171 million next year.

As VR becomes mainstream, how will advertisers use the technology to their advantage? Here’s what the IAB has to say about the future of VR advertising:

VR Advertising Potential

The first VR ad possibility is 2D images and video. Advertisements will be displayed as part of the VR imagery. For 2D images, ads can take the form of fixed objects in the environment. For example, if you’re driving by a billboard in a VR racing game, that billboard space may have an ad loaded onto it – just like a billboard in real life! Ads can take on almost any fixed ad space the developer wants to load into the game, like billboards, bus stops, street signs, pictures, and paintings. While 2D images are on fixed pictures, 2D videos appear on fixed videos. So, if you’re using a role-playing game set in Time Square, an advertisement can be playing on a digital billboard; or your VR character could flip on a living room television to an advertisement. The 2D ad possibilities are endless.

One important aspect of VR advertisements are they must be a seamless part of the experience. Advertisements cannot appear in the virtual reality headers and whitespaces because there are none. VR is visually encompassing, so to keep its essence, there can be no interruption of the experience.

The second possibility for VR advertising is an interactive object. Most logical for consumer packaged goods, advertisers can adopt generic objects and make them branded objects in the VR scene. As an example, a soda company can brand the vending machine seen in an office space, a car manufacturer can brand the car seen in the parking lot, and more. While this is incredibly cool, there are challenges with this type of ad. To keep VR from becoming a mess of ads, interactive objects in a scene are set by the publisher/developer of the VR experience. Also, objects must be chosen to be interacted with by the user, which makes ad viewability a factor. An object like a pop can is not as viewable as a car and may not be noticed by the user in the VR experience.

Finally, there’s an ad idea emerging that could allow brands to create whole restaurants, hotels, bars, clubs, and more in the VR space modeled after real-life. VR users can enter the establishment and experience extremely specific details, such as the menu design of the restaurant. This could be used to entice VR users to spend money at the real-life establishment.

These ideas are still very futuristic, but with the pace of technology it may not be as far away as we think. At Quantifi Digital, we strive to be on the cutting edge of advertising technology, while keeping practicality in mind. If you’re looking to advertise digitally, give us a call.