The digital ad industry’s biggest trade group says consumers want to see more commercials they can immerse themselves within — as long as they’re done right.
A new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau on Monday pointed to substantial growth potential in the nascent world of virtual reality advertising, despite some marketers’ concerns that the technology is destined to stay a niche offering.
The IAB reached its conclusion through dozens of interviews with key people in the publishing and advertising industries as well as software and hardware firms.
“It’s becoming increasingly important and more and more talked about,” says Anna Bager, the IAB’s SVP of mobile and video. “We have to learn here. It’s a completely new virtual world.”
Successful virtual reality projects from publishers like the New York Times, Vice and Fox Sports have paved the way for sponsorship opportunities, product placement and interspersed immersive ads, the report says.
But there are also opportunities beyond conventional advertising for marketers willing to think outside the box. Auto or real-estate showrooms, travel brochures-come-to-life and virtual e-commerce storefronts are all ways in which marketers can use VR or augmented reality to provide something of use to consumers.
Offerings like these — content that isn’t necessarily advertising per say but is backed by a brand — could further blur the line between traditional ads and consumer media.
“It’s not necessarily about ads,” Bager says. “It’s about helping media companies create great content or specific content for your customers. That’s really where the bigger opportunity lies.”