How we challenge boring banner ads with the latest VR & AR technology

Philipp SteuerMarketing, Virtual Reality0 Comments

I’m a huuuuge fan of Space X. Elon Musk’s space travel company is constantly questioning the industry’s status quo. A status that remained the same for ages, at least since the moon landing. Not really surprising as there hasn’t been any true incentive, besides traveling to mars, which wasn’t imaginable a few years ago. To me something similar has happened to Online-Ads.

Common banner-ads — no development at all

After the release of 2D and video banners there has been an upgrade to a HTML5 banners at some point. Not to forget the horrible pop-up-ads and this click-force-rubbish which I don’t want to spend more time and thoughts on. What’s remarkable — With the over-optimization of ads the developers killed any amusement for the user.

Personally I am not against advertisements in general, as long as they a) fit into the context, b) don’t trigger sound automatically, and c) offer a clear visible option to skip. Commercials like YouTube is doing. Very soon they’re going to eliminate the non-skippable pre-roll ads, which I really appreciate.

Considering all the above, it’s not very surprising that Content Marketing and Native Advertising is on its rise. Advertising in general still is and always will be very important to fund content. A world without advertising sound amazing — but keep in mind that most of your favourite apps & websites wouldn’t exist without the author/creator earning money through ads.

But let’s talk about banner-ads again. We, my two co-founders Max, Nils and myself, founded VIRE a year ago. We’re on our mission to figure out how advertising might work in the future, in Virtual & Augmented Reality, as well as in mobile or in a browser. What we realized pretty soon — interacting with objects and being present in a virtual room is really fun. So we decided to build a platform that enables Product Placements in VR & AR. Here’s an example:

But while enjoying the hype about VR & AR, we have to admit: The industry needs more time to develop. There definitely is a market. Only one single VR publisher is able to reach more than 150.000 impressions per day with a few of his apps. But talking about the conventional mobile / digital advertising space these numbers are noncompetitive.

I’m very lucky to have a really good dev-team, since a few months we haven’t been dependent on VR or AR goggles anymore. Because everything we create also works in an everyday browser. That opens up a lot of new possibilities for us, especially considering the normal banner ads.

Ads that respond to your motion

Example: Simple 3D Object

Imagine you visit a website about the new Nike shoe or something interesting the brand is doing. The last promotion-page designed was about Breaking 2, when Nike tried to break the magical two hours mark of a marathon. You scroll through the page and articles and instead of a boring 2D banner there’s a 3D shoe that reacts to the position and movement of your mobile phone or tablet. If you’d like to you can spin the object around (360 degree) or interact with it. For further information you simply need one click on an overlay. That’s it! Thanks to latest VR & AR technology we were able to create exactly that, here’s the result:

Example: Complex scene with interaction

3D objects, like the shoe, work great for objects / products. But we also developed something more complex that enables a brand to present their work through an interaction and consequently to tell a story. We’re able to trigger activities through these interactions. Example: Ecosia, a search-engine that spends its ad revenue on planting trees. Of course it would’ve been easily possible to just display a 3D tree as product, but that would’ve missed the core of the service. So instead we produced the following:

Here’s another one — featuring a normal 2D video within a 360 environment, where we embedded a HTML5 video player:

The result: 400% better click-rate

While following our mission to monetize VR & AR spaces, we took the previous described and newly designed formats and compared them with common mobile banner ads through an A/B testing.

Usual banners have an average click-rate of 0.5. Our formats instead show a click-rate of 3.0–4.0, that’s a plus of 300% — 400% and indicates that these formats outperform the old designs.

The reasons for that are quite obvious: Our formats give the banner-ads a new depth. Simple banners are like a plain pictures on a wall — contentwise. Our ads instead are like windows, depending on how you are holding your smartphone, your perspective changes, you’re able to see more or less, like when you walk around a window. Of course the format that convinces through clicks and interaction gains more attention.

If you don’t want to play around with the ad, simply scroll down. Without anything popping up or freezing. (That’s it.)

Challenges & Future

Let’s talk about challenges that are certainly to face at the moment:

Filesize: Compared to usual banner-ads our solution need more data-volume. For that reason we only deliver the ads to user that are connected to WiFi.

Adaption: It’s our duty to convince agencies of the new possibilities, most companies do not care where and when their ads are displayed, as long as click and sales-numbers are compelling.

Creation: Another challenge is to ease the creation of the new ads. We are an ad-tech firm, no agency and we do not plan to turn into one. But we’ve already developed a technical solution — via drag & drop you’re able to place PNGs & JPGs on a plain 3D form. Our platform then creates a fully rendered ad-object. Same is valid for 360 degree rooms and animations.

We’re facing these challenges right now, but I am more than optimistic that we will solve them pretty soon. The main threat, to transfer VR & AR technology to mobile, is solved already. Hence we want to establish ads that entertain and are enjoyable, like in VR & AR applications. Please feel free to send me any ideas or feedback or if you’d like to get a demo for your agency or corporation please 📧 (philipp@vire.co) me.

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