One of the biggest barriers that prevents companies from leveraging 360 VR ads is the belief that they are too expensive to make. That’s likely due to the misconception that 360 VR ads are just video. Consequently, this breeds hesitation to test these immersive platforms as many have been led to believe that the content production costs for 360 VR ads mirror that of highly elaborate VR experiences like you’ll find at Comic Con and other big shows. But as the The New York Times so smartly pointed out in a recent article, the costs differential between these types of executions and producing 360 video is significant. The more experiential VR productions which typically require more expensive hardware like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or Playstation VR, can run upwards of $500K, whereas 360 video (which can also be viewed in VR mode with more affordable devices like a Google Cardboard headset) is a much more affordable option that can range from $10K – $100K.
We propose that there’s an even more affordable option for creating 360 ads with virtual reality mode. The truth is that 360 VR ads don’t require you to have 360 video or even spherical 360 degree images. In fact, you can create engaging and interactive 360 ad units with 2D assets. Yes, you read that right – the same 2D assets that you use to create your standard banner ads today can be used to create a banner ad that features 360 degree and virtual reality content (aka 360 VR ads). To give you an example of what we’re talking about and to provide you with an opportunity to see for yourself the difference between the traditional display ad and one that leverages 2D images into a 360 space, we’ve created the Redbox demo below.
Why Go Traditional When You Can Go 360 With 2D
Below is your basic rich media display ad promoting a handful of titles available at Redbox. Now while the color red and movie images may grab your attention, odds are that the brand will see your typical results for a standard rich media display ad.
Now take a look at a 360 version of this same ad below that was created entirely out of 2D assets. It’s a bit more engaging don’t you think? First, the perpetual movement of the ad pulls you in, the 360 placard lets you know this is something new and different, and the exponentially larger ad canvas inherent in this new ad format enables much, much more product to be showcased. You’re free to explore the ad by moving your device left, right, up, down or by swiping your finger on your screen, you can enlarge it and even get more immersed by touching the cardboard icon in the lower right and going into VR mode.
In this example, when you touch a movie poster you’re led directly to the Redbox site where you can read more about that specific title and go straight to rent. Alternatively, the user could be led to a trailer for the film – in traditional 2D or 360, as well as other videos and/or experiences and then a CTA could lead them directly to Redbox to rent. If the studio promoting a film has created virtual reality content to promote the film that content can be featured here as well. And remember, users are always just one touch away from being completely immersed in VR.
With all this interactivity, odds are the brand will experience much more success with the display ad that features 360 & VR content than the one that does not. In past studies, 360 VR ads using 2D assets, similar to our example here, have garnered engagement rates on mobile that exceed 85%! When you consider the high engagement levels of 360 VR ads that have been created simply by leveraging 2D assets that brands and advertisers have today, capitalizing on the benefits of 360 VR ads has become a more affordable option.
A win for brands, agencies & publishers
This “risk-free” approach to trying out 360 VR for advertising is a win for advertisers, agencies and publishers. For brands, they can now reach consumers with an entirely new and highly engaging form of advertising that has been shown to significantly increase brand recall, content recall, intent to purchase, brand affinity and so much more. The icing on the cake is if they don’t want to or can’t take the hit to their budgets to create 360 videos or images, they can leverage the creative they currently have instead. Agencies have something that’s new, affordable and effective to pitch their clients. Publishers too can leverage the low cost benefit when selling this new premium ad unit to customers. With the combination of wins on all fronts, it’s only a matter of time before more and more and brands go this route as they capitalize on the high engagement and brand immersion levels of 360 VR ads that can appear on any browser, device, app, or platform.
Soon you’ll be able to create ads like this and more on your own when Advrtas launches their Ad Creator tool. Stay tuned for more information as we’ll start accepting reservations for the Ad Creator very soon. Till then, might we suggest putting on your creative hat or sharing this article with your creative team so they can start brainstorming the many ways they’ll be able to design engaging, immersive 360 VR ads using 2D assets, 360 videos and images, CG and more!