What Goes Into a VR Ad Experience?

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With nothing more than some basic VR glasses attached to my iPhone, I'm transported to The Conjuring 2 as I watch the three-minute trailer. I feel like I’m in the movie, beginning with the creepy music effects. I'm not sure what is going to happen next, and just that feeling of uncertainty is making my heart beat faster and triggering my senses with giddy anxiety. I know it's not real, but it seems real enough. Everything -- from the furniture to the cracks in the walls -- is just like the movie, and these details of the experience make an impression.

This is advertising in VR. The example involving The Conjuring 2, which allows users to experience Enfield firsthand, was produced by SunnyBoy Entertainment for Warner Brothers, who partnered with Paper Triangles to create the first VR horror movie trailer, to create the first VR horror movie trailer. (Full disclosure: Paper Triangles is a VR/AR Association member.) The trailer has racked up over 13 millionYouTube views and 4.3 million Facebook views.

How To Create a VR Ad Experience

Well, the are several options available now for brands to create a VR, AR or MR experience. The first would be to go to any one of the current production studios. Anzu.io, Blue Visual Effects, CreateAR and many others work in the AR space specifically for brands. Another option would be to create the experience in-house and build a team dedicated to VR, AR and MR work.

Features And Functionality

In this case, creators needed to replicate the set of The Conjuring 2 in VR, which consisted of fusing live-action with CG technology into a stereoscopic VR setting. The result was a remake of the Enfield house in VR form, which made the house look and feel like real life.

Gamification of a branded experience (i.e., an ad) or eye-gaze features to direct the experience can be considered for engagement. The end goal is to surprise and delight the user inside the experience. For examples, using Microsoft's HoloLens allows creators to use spatial mapping, gaze and gestures as tools to immerse users in a branded experience.

How Do You Launch And Measure Success Metrics?

The type of experience you create will determine what platforms are available to distribute your content and how to effectively measure metrics.

In another example, Adverty built a VR/AR advertising platform for brands via an easy-to-integrate, non-intrusive native form of advertising. In 2017, the company launched a Christmas VR campaign for Coca-Cola using virtual out-of-home billboards inside the snowball-throwing VR game Merry Snowballs from game studio Hatrabbit Entertainment. It is a true VR experience, using headsets supported by the mobile and desktop VR platforms, and the ad units are placed non-intrusively and seamlessly in the game design. 

Metrics can be measured in the following ways:

• Viewability gives you metrics so you can see the number of views your ad has received.

• Reach is fairly standard, but "resonance" gauges thought and feeling about your ad while "reaction" tracks in-store lift in sales.

• Verification provides third-party data to keep things transparent.

Why does this matter? For now, VR, AR and MR may seem like a novelty. When you mention them to friends or businesses, they, in turn, immediately reference the headset or some type of gear. But what is certain is that the technology behind all three is getting closer to becoming mainstream. More than 1 million headsets were shipped in Q3 2017, and it's expected that over 2oo million units will be sold by 2020. And it's important to remember that headsets are shared devices in homes, schools and entertainment venues. Without a doubt, once a person tries one of the experiences, they are instantly transformed into a smiling, eyes-wide-open user.

For advertising, this is dollar signs and rainbows. Both enterprise and retailers alike will be eager to happily invest in the new medium of communication to get closer to their loyal customers and build new relationships with potential customers. After all, why would you miss an opportunity to tell your story if all you have to do is make the user feel connected to your brand experience?

 

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Google Signals Moves in VR Advertising

The Mad Men of VR are coming. Google just released ‘Advr,’ a virtual cube that will show ads by a user tap or gaze. The idea is much like a pop-up but for VR platforms. The SDK is available on an invite only basis but it gives a glimpse of the new normal for VR Advertising. However, human behavior is what will truly drive change in Advertising. We already know that the user or in this case, audience comes first. So the ad must be easy to engage with. We also know if the user journey or touchpoints can provide insight into user/audience ‘intent’ then we can meet the want or need better. As a result, the ad must serve a purpose within context. And finally we know that timing is everything. If a person is searching for a specific product or service and has only a limited amount of time then an ad of convenience would be perfect. Smart and creative ads will connect with users/audience in these moments in VR just like they do in traditional platforms. But just like on traditional platforms, nobody necessarily likes any old pop-up.

Join Google and other VRARA members including ADVR, AdVir, burgeon(digital), KitestringvizLlamazoo, Orange, Retinad, Yahoo, You Are Here, YuMe in our Advertising Committee to work on best practices, guidelines, and standards for VR in advertising.