Advertising finds a way into VR

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The team that created the largest app distribution platform on Facebook as well as iOS and Android has now developed a mobile Virtual Reality (VR) advertising platform.

Immersv, an early stage firm co-founded by John Gentilin and Mihir Shah, has come up with a way to help studios generate revenue and help consumers to find great VR entertainment and apps. The platform does this by allowing game developers to incorporate video trailers in free-to-play VR games.

This first-of-a-kind platform is an interesting development as the nascent VR industry is in the early stages of figuring out how to monetise VR. Immersve, is the latest firm looking to make its mark in virtual advertising.

“Virtual Reality has reached its tipping point, and just about the only thing holding it back is consumers’ ability to find great VR content. Our goal is to build a marketplace to help consumers discover great VR apps and experiences, and to empower all the artists, content producers and game publishers building VR content to turn their hard work and creativity into commercial success,” Mihir Shah, CEO of Immersv, said in a statement.

Immersv creates immersive virtual reality advertising experiences that can be viewed with mobile VR headsets. Developers can then integrate these advertising videos into apps wherever most appropriate, such as when the consumer first launches VR content, during natural breaks in the action, or as part of the native app experience. The ads can be 360-degree videos or played on a 2D screen in a simulated theater.

Trials have shown that Immersiv videos have a certain ‘stickiness’ in the sense that consumers tend to stay with the entire ad while it plays. On average the completion rate for Immersv videos was 79%, with some app trailers reaching rates as high as 88%. This is in comparison to completion rates of just 46% on smartphones and 54% for video ads on tablets according to a report from ad-serving platform Vindico. It seems that VR ads are able to grab and hold consumers’ attention.

More than a dozen virtual reality content developers have already integrated the Immersv SDK, including Archiact, Element Games, Lunagames, Alitech, Arloopa, and Meta3D. Established VR company, EON Reality, has also turned to Immersve to launch its latest platform, EON Creator AVR.

The Montreal-based analytics platform, Retinad, is taking its own approach to advertising for VR apps. The VR analytics platform helps VR content developers, primarily film and video games creators, to understand what users are looking at and thus what engages them. The data helps them to improve their VR content. A year ago Retinad closed an early-stage $500,000 investment to extend their platform. Retinad’s approach to VR ads is pre-roll ads that present users with an immersive advertisement at the start of the VR game or experience. The ads are not invasive, but blend in with the user’s field of view in the background. Interaction with the ads is triggered when the user looks at them and make the decision to Skip, Like, or get More Info.

In October last year, Airpush, the mobile advertising leader, integrated into over 150,000 mobile apps, announced its new platform for virtual reality, named VirtualSKY. VirtualSKY delivers immersive virtual reality advertisement experiences from the world’s top brands and advertisers into almost any VR app.