Virtual reality is still a relatively new field in terms of how advanced the technology is and how many people use it. Early adopters are enjoying VR, but it’s still a long way off being as commonplace as the smartphones we all carry around.
Google wants to be prepared for if and when VR does get that popular, with its main focus being on how to offer advertising within a VR experience. So the company is using its experimental products workshop Area 120 to experiment with a VR ad format.
Area 120 experiments are carried out by Google employees using Google tech. So in this case the VR ads will be viewed on Google Cardboard and Daydream, but the Google blog post also menstions Samsung Gear VR.
The initial experiment to figure out the best way to present ads to a user can be seen by viewing this animated GIF. It’s a multi-sided cube, with each side offering access to a video ad. The user picks a side and chooses to watch the video. You could see such a cube being left on a table in a VR environment and opting to watch one of more videos unlocks whatever is inside the cube e.g. in a game it could be a weapon or stat boost.
Unlike existing apps, the ability to interact with objects acting as ads within a world may make them more compelling for the end user. That’s especially so if there’s a hidden reward inside. But for now, expect Google’s VR ad experiments to continue until it finds a format that users can’t help but notice and interact with.
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