VR Advertising Is Inevitable - Here's What You Need To Know

Virtual Reality, once the crazed idea of science fiction writers and Back To The Future 2, has been quietly becoming a part of our all-too-real reality. With millions of Americans (typically Millennials and Gen Z) owning VR headsets, the growing number of daily users of AR and VR is projected to grow exponentially to 1 billion by 2020. Though there are still many unknown factors, the lack of native advertising is one of the largest frontiers of digital advertising left unexplored.

Marketing Campaigns Are Already Utilizing VR Experiences

Given how many users are on VR currently, marketing campaigns for movies are already being developed specifically for VR. Taking the form of interactive gaming experiences, these free to play games allow the user to take the role of the protagonist, Spiderman Homecoming: Virtual Reality Experience being a good example. While they have been generally panned by critics and provide very truncated gameplay, the seeds for Virtual Reality advertising have been sown.

Reusing Your Static Video Ads Won't Cut It

The best advertisements will always be the most adapted, so adding 360 degrees to your existing video advertisements will not be enough to create effective VR advertisements. VR is an inherently participatory medium, so any native advertisements have to justify the experiences they offer. Given how easily static video advertisements can be passively viewed, the jump to VR advertising will not be a seamless one.

How To Design VR Advertisements

When designing native VR advertisements, have answers to three questions:

1. Where Is The Center of Attention?

And more importantly, how are you keeping the user's eyes on target? With the ability to look anywhere within 180 or 360 degrees, there has to be clear signalling to make sure the user is having the optimal experience.

2. Is The Experience Worth It?

Evaluate the setting, narrative, and perspective. Is there enough entertainment value to keep the user engaged? If not, seriously reconsider your ad. If you are unsure, seriously reconsider your ad. Negative responses to your advertisement are compounded by VR, as your audience is "trapped" inside of your ad until it's over.

3. Are You Leveraging VR Properly?

 Virtual Reality specifically lends itself to forming emotional connections with the user through participation. If your audience is taking part in your ad or just being given a silent role to play (whom the characters communicate with), VR will supercharge the impact. Leaving them ambiguous will only cripple the potential of your advertisement. 

Colin Berry

Written by Colin Berry

Vibrant encouragement and biting criticisms can be emailed to me at colinberry@newfiremedia.com