Los Angeles-based virtual reality startup Immersv thinks that there’s a place for advertising in virtual worlds: The company revealed its virtual reality (VR) ad platform Thursday, promising to bring some of the same advertising techniques that you might know from mobile apps to VR games and experiences.
Immersv ad units respond to the gaze: Look at them long enough, and you’ll be taken to a virtual movie theater where you got to see video ads for other VR games and experiences. Users also have the option to go to the VR platform’s app store to download the advertised app right away, all without ever taking off their headset.
“Advertising in VR is still in its very nascent stages, but based on the early consumer response to our ad units, it is clear that VR-based video ads work extremely well,” Immersv co-founder and CEO Mihir Shah told Variety. The company has seen completion rates of 80 percent — about double of what you’d see for regular mobile ads, he said.
Shah and his team know a bit about the world of mobile advertising. Many of them come from Tapjoy, a mobile advertising company that’s being used by more than 10,000 mobile apps.
Shah said that Immersv learned its lesson from the early days of Tapjoy: “One key lesson is that early adopters for ad platforms on any new medium like mobile or mobile VR is that app developers will be the primary advertisers, as they look to get distribution for their apps.” Giving developers a way to surface their apps, as well as make money with them, is key to helping the medium succeed, he argued.
Then again, monetization for VR is still very much untested, and may differ quite a bit from platform to platform. Users of Google’s Cardboard headset may be more willing to tolerate ads that someone who paid hundreds of dollars for a high-end headset.