Debunking 360 VR Ad Misconceptions

As we mentioned last week, 360 VR advertising is an emerging marketing tool. Because of this, people who don’t really know much about it have developed a few misconceptions that have been preventing them from taking advantage of this highly engaging and immersive form of digital advertising. This week, we continue this theme as we debunk 6 more myths in 360 VR Ad Misconceptions: Part 2.

360 VR Ad Misconception #1: They’re too expensive.

Debunked: First, you don’t even need a 360 video or even 360 degree images to create a 360VR degree ad. Truth is, if you have 2D images and videos you already have in hand key components to create a highly engaging, immersive 360 ad that also has VR mode (see the ad below that had 85% engagement on mobile).  But if you do prefer to shoot some 360 content, it’s not as costly as you might think. As a recent NYT article pointed out, while a branded virtual reality experience that plays on a console based VR system (i.e., HTC Vive, Playstation VR, Oculus Rift) can cost upwards of $500K, a 360 degree video (which can still be experienced in virtual reality) costs a fraction of this – anywhere from $10K to $100K.

360 VR Ad Misconception #2: They’re too difficult to produce.

Debunked: 360VR ads can be created using your existing 2D or CGI assets as well as 360 imagery like photos or videos. When it comes to the latter, 360 camera technology and the software tools that support it have advanced tremendously just over the past 2 years alone and dropped in cost. The number of professionals who know how to use this equipment has also grown significantly. Odds are that wherever you are located, you’ll be able to find the right folks to do 360 image and video capture. Finally, if you want to go it alone, consumer grade 360 cameras like the Ricoh Theta or Samsung Galaxy Gear 360 are affordable options with suggested retail prices below $300.

360 VR Ad Misconception #3: 360VR ads work best when served programmatically.

Debunked: 360 & VR content is premium content and as such 360VR ads should be treated as premium ads. Initial industry studies reveal 360VR ad units garner significantly higher levels of initial and sustained engagement, brand recall, content recall, longer view times & more. 360VR ads are powerful for branding initiatives and as such why would you want to risk these appearing on sites or near other content that isn’t aligned with your brand? With the potential risks associated with programmatic (have you seen the press about big brands boycotting YouTube or fake news sites?), a premium 360VR ad deserves to be treated in kind and not as a cheap commodity that is served programmatically.

360 VR Ad Misconception #4: Your production pipeline isn’t set up for it.

Debunked: This is an example of people making something more complex than it really is. This is likely due to the misperception that when people hear the term “360VR ads” they’re thinking about ads that appear inside of VR experiences like those on the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Playstation VR or even the Samsung Gear. Now while we won’t argue that in-VR ads can be extremely effective and compelling, the fact is that until VR headset penetration hits critical mass, advertisers can’t achieve scale by exploring in-VR ads alone.

However, advertisers can achieve scale and reach consumers where they are today by running 360VR display or native ad units that can run on any browser, app, device, or platform. When it comes to these forms of 360VR ads, it’s important to keep in mind that while 360VR is a new format it’s not necessarily a different system. Publishing 360VR ads is essentially the same as publishing any form of rich media today using the same ad network and protocol. You create your ad, it gets integrated into 360VR ad technology (like Advrtas) so that your ad is viewable on any browser, device, app or platform and then a code snippet is produced. You use this code the same as you would the code for a standard rich media ad.

360 VR Ad Misconception #5: There are no standard performance metrics.

Debunked: 360VR ads deliver the metrics to which you’re already accustomed plus a whole lot more. If you’re looking for more consumer insights, 360VR ads inherently feature an entirely new set of data collection points. From heat maps that show where people focus their attention in a 360 ad experience to exactly how and for how long they engaged and basics that address viewability, 360VR ads offer a wealth of information that hasn’t been available till now.

360 VR Ad Misconception #6: There isn’t enough effectiveness research.

Debunked: While 360VR is a nascent content platform, there’s plenty of data making its way to market that indicates ads featuring 360VR content are significantly more effective than traditional advertising. Reputable research arms like Nielsen Media, Greenlight Insights, Business Insider and more are releasing more & more evidence supporting effectiveness. Check out our recent case study from a national campaign run 4th quarter 2016 for some impressive results. 

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