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Virtual reality devices and the metaverse will eventually take over the telephone, TV and social media to become the dominant consumer device and gateway to the Internet. However, getting there requires some significant technological advances in virtual reality, augmented reality and the metaverse, the results of which could open the way for new advertising opportunities and ways to measure performance. And new standards, controls and regulations are under development to ensure a privacy-focused, user-friendly future of advertising.
Our phones are being replaced by extended reality
Eventually, one device, most likely glasses, will be able to combine virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in one, augmented reality (XR), will replace our current devices. In the same way that we depend on smartphones, laptops and other devices for so many things today, we will rely on our XR goggles for almost everything.
Conveniently, with built-in eye tracking and gesture controls, the device is indistinguishable from regular glasses, eliminating the need for users to wear a bulky headset.
Virtual environments open up new advertising opportunities
But the real difference between smartphones and XR devices is that everything will be a ubiquitous 3D experience, which also creates new opportunities for advertising. Browsing the internet will be like going to the park or hanging out at the mall.
Imagine walking down the street and seeing someone wearing a cool shirt. Your XR device can show you a product tag with all kinds of details about it, such as the brand, price, colors, and even the ability to buy it by simply looking at “add to cart” and blinking. And so a purchase is literally made in the blink of an eye.
Brands will have virtual locations that act as counterparts to their brick-and-mortar stores, where users can choose to visit virtually or physically while taking full advantage of the XR opportunities to purchase items, try on clothes, or even almost anything they can buy. to adjust.
We are already seeing brands experimenting with VR and AR today. At the start of the pandemic, American Eagle used Snap’s AR technology to create a virtual pop-up storeallowing customers to browse clothes as if they were in the store, without leaving their rooms.
When the campaign ended, American Eagle sold more than $2 million in products, which doesn’t seem like much compared to their $1.3 billion in revenue earned in the fourth quarter of 2020. But what’s amazing is that they were able to to make a profit. 50 million impressions of Gen Z. And that’s just one example, there are other brands like Ralph Lauren† vans and Zenni Optical leveraging VR/AR devices to reach audiences in creative, innovative ways.
Brands and advertisers in the metaverse will capture the attention of their audiences using virtual experiences such as theme parks, curated events, and concerts and shows. In fact, Ariana Grande and Travis Scott both held virtual concerts in Fortnite. Travis Scott’s Fortnite Concert Deserved It Selling $20 Million in Merchandise, over 10x more than his best show in the tour, and nearly 40% of the total tour revenue. What was once a popular video game is quickly becoming a valid advertising platform.
Even typical car commercials will evolve. Instead of simply running video ads showcasing the car and its features, people can actually test it in the metaverse on racetracks and obstacle courses built by the brand and advertisers. These kinds of experiences wouldn’t be feasible in the real world, but in the metaverse, advertisers can create unique experiences.
As technical capabilities improve to handle larger virtual environments, people will be able to move seamlessly between virtual and physical environments. Imagine that instead of having to physically go to a store, office or factory, users can just put their headset in VR mode and immediately visit the desired locations.
New ways to measure advertising success with virtual reality devices
One of the really interesting aspects of XR advertising is the myriad of ways advertisers and brands measure the success of their campaigns. In a hyper-connected virtual reality environment, users can interact with almost every part of an ad, giving advertisers new insights into their campaign performance.
Instead of tracking users, brands and advertisers can track interactions with ads:
- Have people tried the product or ad?
- Do people zoom in on parts of an ad, and on which parts?
- Do people change the colors or design of the ad?
- How many views, clicks, or purchases came from an AR product tag?
While the questions may seem strange now, XR devices with built-in eye tracking and gesture controls open up a world of metrics for advertisers to measure performance.
In addition to the new performance metrics, conversions such as online purchases or subscriptions, click redirects, and other traditional KPIs still provide meaningful insights into ad performance.
Connected all day long
Putting on and removing our glasses is the first and last thing we do when we wake up and go to sleep. We are connected all day long. If one of the biggest challenges for brands and advertisers is to reach their target audience at the right time, in the right place, on the right device, how incredible would it be if consumers now use the same device for almost everything? Fortunately, we are not far from there.
However, for VR/AR to become mainstream, people need to be able to switch between VR/AR without interruption.
The good news is that many tech companies are already working to create a seamless XR experience for consumers. While the current XR landscape may seem fragmented, organizations like the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) are leading the standards and terminology of the digital advertising and media industry to make disparate systems and platforms work together. This allows users to switch between VR/AR as they do with apps or devices.
New Advertising Controls and Regulations
Contrary to what has happened with most new media, the advertising industry needs to tread carefully and respond to consumer behavior and preferences rather than overwhelming users with intrusive advertisements. Guided by laws and regulations, advertisers, brands and ad technology companies are working together to create new, industry-wide standards and solutions to ensure the new era of VR/AR advertising maintains a privacy-focused yet easy-to-use experience.
New addressing solutions that do not rely on personal identifiers, such as The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0 (UID2), LiveRamp’s RampID and avatars, enable brands and advertisers to reach their ideal audiences using any DSP, SSP and ad exchange while retaining of privacy – cooperative.
Contextual Ads Tools
Contextual advertising tools will improve the user experience by providing them with relevant, engaging advertisements. Natural Language Processing (NLP) allows AI to “hear” and “read” what is being said or displayed. Advertisers can then provide the AI with contextual information, which AI can use to determine the best ad for each impression.
Soon, advertisers will be leveraging the capabilities of AI to create endless ad iterations using brand-approved assets, thanks to Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO). And with machine learning (ML) algorithms, the speed at which AI can not only create, but also improve its own performance, will exceed human capabilities.
As VR/AR devices become more and more capable and so does the metaverse, it is imperative that laws and regulations be created or updated to reflect their everyday use. Ultimately, VR/AR devices and the metaverse will become an extension of our bodies and our reality, so for people to integrate it into the mainstream, it’s vital that laws and regulations protect people’s data and privacy equally. protect as healthcare and financial data.
But how do we know that change is happening and that it is more than buzzwords? There are already laws and regulations around the world to protect users, their privacy and data in today’s digital environments.
In the US, the California Consumers Protection Act (CCPA) gives California residents greater control over their data, inspiring other states to propose similar laws. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU has been put in place to ensure that user data is properly secured, that users can switch on or off, and that extra precautions have to be taken when transferring data outside the EU. And Canada’s anti-spam laws (CAN-SPAM) prevent users from getting spammed with ads.
The Virtual Age of Advertising
Switching between VR/AR experiences and all-day access to the metaverse, using only glasses, will be the only device people use. And that will open up some really exciting and creative advertising opportunities. Meanwhile, advertisers are getting many new ways to measure campaign performance that are truly indicative of their success.
It sounds like science fiction, but for it to become a reality, the advertising industry and technology companies need to develop new standards to connect platforms seamlessly. In addition, it is mandatory to ensure that people’s privacy and data are protected with robust laws and regulations for VR/AR devices and the metaverse to achieve mainstream adoption.
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