- Oath, Verizon's mobile and digital content unit, introduced two extended reality ad formats at Cannes Lions on Monday: 3D and programmatic virtual reality (VR) ads, according to a press release shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The 3D ads let users explore objects from any angle and help them make more informed decisions about product purchases. LG, Three, Chevrolet and Peugeot are the brands already using the new ads in their marketing, per the release.
- Oath appears to be the first company to bring VR ads into the programmatic marketplace. The new offering lets advertisers extend existing display and video assets into fully immersive VR environments. Brands or agencies can also work with Oath to create custom VR experiences for U.S. and U.K. consumers.
Oath's new ad experiences add a major layer of sophistication to the extended reality space, allowing consumers to learn about a product or brand in a more immersive and content-rich fashion. By bringing the VR ads to a programmatic marketplace, marketers can more efficiently buy and place their advertisements on mobile platforms. This comes as the growing sophistication of audience-targeting capabilities is helping to drive an industry shift toward programmatic ad buying.
While VR has had some trouble living up the early hype of immersing people in computer-generated worlds, the technology appears to be making inroads to greater consumer acceptance, especially on mobile devices. The dearth of VR content has been a significant deterrent for consumers, considering the hefty price of specialized headsets and controllers, but companies like Oath are beginning to develop ways to bring VR experiences to platforms that consumers and brands are already familiar with. VR has the power to give brands a way to engage consumers with products and services and to help them make more informed purchasing decisions.
The VR business is forecast to show "very modest" growth this year, and will reach $38 billion in annual revenues by 2026, according to a 10-year forecast from Greenlight Insights cited by Digiday. Early adopters of VR advertising include Nokia, Mountain Dew, Honda and Macy's. The key impediments to VR ads have been the extra expense to develop creative for the platform without much ROI.
Like Oath, Facebook and Google are developing VR technologies to boost greater consumer acceptance. Facebook last month introduced a less expensive Oculus headset priced at $199, and Oculus TV that lets viewers stream Netflix and Hulu. Oculus Venues lets people attend live concerts, comedy shows and sporting events. Google this year introduced a new line of cameras to capture VR content.