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VR’s Potential for Advertising? New IAB Report Examines Its Key Strengths and ChallengesWhile virtual reality of often portrayed as the potential new face of entertainment, more than a few are deeply interested in its potential for advertising and marketing.

In fact, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and its Mobile Marketing and Digital Video Centers of Excellence just released a comprehensive report on this very topic.

Is Virtual the New Reality?: A Market Snapshot of VR Publishing and Monetization” explores virtual reality’s promise and pitfalls as the “the next big thing” in digital advertising.

The report contains interviews with two dozen leading voices in advertising, publishing, VR software, and developer platforms that offer key takeaways, lessons learned, and future plans in the emerging virtual reality field, including thoughts on augmented reality and 360-degree video.

“The opportunity for immersive storytelling, shopping and product demos, and the medium’s power to stir emotions in a new way, were all cited as some of virtual reality’s major strengths,” the IAB says.

But despite the fact that VR technology is improving and hardware is becoming cheaper and easier to access, interviewees said that the current rate of adoption leads to monetization challenges given the limited audience.

“Many also cautioned that the extraordinary level of hype surrounding virtual reality leads people to expect to be “wowed” by their first VR experience, even though it is still a nascent medium,” according to a media release from the IAB.

With VR being such a new platform, advertising capabilities are just now beginning to emerge.

“We have only scratched the surface of what virtual reality, augmented reality, and 360-degree video can offer as advertising channels,” said Anna Bager, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mobile and Video at IAB. “The Pokémon Go phenomenon has raised the profile of AR and VR, bringing the power of the medium into the mainstream, just as major brands and publishers have begun to tap into its breathtakingly immersive capabilities. IAB is committed to helping drive VR forward as a robust marketing platform—and terminology, definitions, and emerging ad formats are all in the works.”

Virtual reality innovators and technologists providing opinion and observations for the report included ABC Integrated Marketing, AOL, DigitasLBi, Google, Groove Jones, Hulu, Immersy, Kinetic Worldwide, LiveNation, Mediavest/Spark, National Geographic, The New York Times, Opera Mediaworks, Publicis Media, Retinad, StartApp, Time Inc., Turner Sports, and Unity Technologies.

IAB plans to convene a VR Summit in Q4 to surface key issues around publishing, monetization, and user experience, as well as discuss potential consumer research and guidance for buyers and sellers.

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