Virtual Reality in Mobile: The Latest Advertising Trend for Brands?
PubNative recently announced its partnership with Admix, an in-game monetization platform for VR and AR developers, to expand its offering to include ads within VR games. The global augmented/virtual reality market size is estimated to reach 18.8 BN USD in 2020 which incorporates both hardware and software. But where does advertising in VR games come into play in the mobile marketing mix? And what are the challenges and opportunities of this emerging technology for brand advertisers?
VR: An Expanding Market
VR and AR are often conglomerated under the term extended reality, describing all immersive technologies that merge the physical world with the virtual world. The VR market has been growing for years, dominated by China and the U.S. as top spenders on VR technology and its development. Virtual reality in games specifically had a share of almost 50% within the total VR software market in 2018 and it is estimated that this year the amount of VR headsets sold will reach 82 million units. With the popularity of VR and AR growing, the possibilities for advertisers to reach engaged users in a hugely immersive setting become endless.
Why Brands Should Consider Advertising in VR
Studies have shown that “80% of consumers feel positively towards experiencing branded VR tactics”, allowing advertisers to get even closer to the eyes of their audience in an intimate setting. To increase customer loyalty and brand recall, brands aim to create meaningful experiences and positive associations with their products, making VR a viable opportunity. Since the global outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns and restrictions, virtual experiences have gained in importance, with the market for VR gaming observing a notable increase in adoption. VR keeps people engaged and entertained while also building brand loyalty, allowing advertisers to build a real relationship with the user. Why else is VR advertising considered such an effective medium?
Although the concept of extended reality (XR) is not exactly nascent, for many people it’s still a new and exciting technology to transform themselves into another world. Consumers are always looking for innovative ways to experience media and VR allows them to submerge themselves in an interactive and fascinating environment. Curiosity is a key driver for engagement and brand recollection. In addition to creating a special event character, VR ads placed in mobile games feel much less intrusive to the player as ads can be placed in a way that integrates them into gameplay seamlessly.
‘Rabbit Mountain monetizes 1M VR users with Admix’
Publishers and app developers who do not want to miss out on in-app advertising as a revenue source should be aware of the novelty factor of advertising in VR. Especially when talking to potential brand partners, it is helpful to present their product live and use placeholders as ad examples to help visualize the ad placement.
During the global pandemic, Asics launched its new shoe line in VR. Asics aimed at releasing the news at the start of the Tokyo marathon and 2020 Olympics. With the news of the Olympics being postponed, Asics settled for a VR launch event. One of the main reasons behind taking this step was that a simple live stream would build up language barriers and exclude potential customers. For journalists and consumers alike, the company wanted to focus on the experience and uphold the possibility of interaction with the new product.
VR is offering a whole new range of innovative tools to interact with the customer. Especially on mobile, the core product value can be enhanced through engagement via mini-games that increase the time spent with the brand. VR is offering a new playground for marketers and creators, giving them the opportunity to create a sensory experience for consumers. VR in ads gives storytelling through advertising a whole new meaning, as consumers can physically be involved in the experience.
Advertising in VR: What is Inhibiting Its Success?
Even though VR is offering immersive and creative opportunities for brand advertisers, a dependence on additional and often costly devices for consumers to experience the technology can be a hindrance. Most VR games are expensive to develop and the most common business model is paid content (similar to console games) in order to ensure the return on investment is high enough to warrant the cost of development. Due to the 2D nature of classic display banners and video ads that are tailored towards computer/mobile screens and content, the VR space also needs 3D solutions or creative approaches to fit into VR applications. Due to these restrictions, it may take some time before a significant scale can be achieved for VR advertising but the market nonetheless is on a slow but promising incline.
If you’re a VR game publisher or are interested in VR ad inventory, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.