VR and AR experiences are becoming more accessible to digital users as lens-tech solutions, cloud computing, and mobile networking infrastructure advance. Despite the global excitement surrounding the metaverse and the relevant advertising potential it can unlock, businesses’ willingness to experiment with immersive ad campaigns has been limited to top-tier conglomerates until lately.
Many mid-sized market players are still hesitant to take a leap of faith and explore newly emerging opportunities to engage with their customers outside of the static 2D environment, whether it’s due to a lack of interoperability between existing technologies on the market or a lack of understanding of who to target and how to measure immersive ad campaigns.
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Is this to say that the new era of immersive advertising has yet to begin, or will it be postponed until 2023 or later? Despite the fact that the jury is yet out on the matter, most analysts are positive about their predictions.
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Popular trend: gamification
Whether it’s a quick interactive experience provided via in-app outstream ads or a video interstitial, or a full-fledged animated game targeted at activating the brand on desktop or mobile, gamification will continue to be a strong trend in MR advertising in 2022.
Yes, a product launch or sponsored entertainment event held within a VR game, as well as the introduction of sponsored gear for VR characters by fashion businesses — which has become increasingly popular in recent years — are all part of this pattern.
Accelerating trend: shoppable XR
According to a Nielsen survey in 2019, more than half of consumers want to use AR and VR technology to evaluate products. This tendency isn’t going away anytime soon. More crucially, shoppable XR is soon becoming one of the key accelerating trends in immersive advertising for 2022, propelled by the rapid advancement of lens technology.
As expected, the major ad-tech vendors have provided brands and agencies with a large toolkit of functional capabilities and particular shoppable advertising. Of course, some of them may not catch on, but others, such as Google Swirl, YouTube’s Beauty AR try-on, Snap’s Lens Carousel, and Unity’s Product Explorer, have proven to be game-changers for the online retail business, and are expected to maintain their top positions in 2022.
A gradual increase in AR-capable DOOH commercials, notably in shopping malls, as well as the development of try-on features offered in brick-and-mortar establishments, are two more trends to watch this year.
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Emerging trend: mass-market, mixed-reality ads
A brand’s launch of an immersive advertising campaign has never been a low-cost undertaking. IAB experts recommended starting with a $10,000 test-run budget last year. If the achieved outcomes met the teams’ expectations, companies were urged to increase their budget.
However, based on what we’ve seen over the last few months, the immersive ad-tech business is progressively moving its focus to a broader group of advertisers. This has already resulted in the emergence of developer tools that are considerably more accessible. A large number of AR assets are available in the Spark AR Studio, Google’s Web Designer Kit capabilities, and a variety of 3D model collections are available for purchase in multiple formats at Sketchfab for a reasonable price.
More importantly, as the immersive advertising niche expands, owing to the introduction of more affordable AR/VR devices and the broader penetration of 5G, this trend will become even more apparent as the year progresses.
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