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Google experiments with VR advertising

News, 30 June 2017
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MOUNTAIN VIEW: Google has unveiled Advr, an experimental project from its internal incubator Area 120, which allows video ads to run in 3U/VR, using a consumer-controlled cube-like format.

Announcing the development on the company's blog, Google said it was reacting to developers who are hoping to monetize VR applications, and has begun to experiment with "what a native, mobile VR ad format might look like".

Google emphasized the demand from both users and developers to "avoid disruptive hard-to-implement ad experiences in VR".

The initial idea presents a cube to users, within the Unity platform, with the option to engage with it and view the video ad. The user opens the cube player by tapping it or gazing at it for a few seconds; the video player will allow users to watch and then easily close the video.

"Our work focuses on a few key principles - VR ad formats should be easy for developers to implement, native to VR, flexible enough to customize, and useful and non-intrusive for users," the company said.

The company reports "encouraging results with a few test partners", though it declined to mention who they are. The goal, TechCrunch reported, is to enable Advr functionality across Google's own Daydream, and Cardboard products as well as Samsung's Gear VR.

Though the idea is not an indication of the final product, the move is illustrative of the future demand for VR ad solutions. In February, Adobe displayed its project for advertising in VR at Mobile World Congress.

Though customers expect rapid adoption of the technology in the future, sales have not yet followed suit.

Google's plug-in arose from the company's in-house startup workshop, Area 120. Back in May, Recode reported the opening of the workshop with a particular focus on developing new ad tech, for which it is difficult to find funding in the current environment.

Data sourced from Google, TechCrunch, Variety, Financial Times, Recode; additional content by WARC staff

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