Surprise of the Day: Viewers Actually Like Ads in VR

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Steve Anderson
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Surprise of the Day: Viewers Actually Like Ads in VR

In a move that proves that virtual reality (VR) is such a great new novelty that people will interact with just about anything presented in VR, a new report from Immersv says that people like VR enough to prefer ads shown in VR to the point where they'll increasingly interact with said ads.

Yes, VR is so attractive that people will even interact with ads in VR, and thanks to that point, VR ads are actually more attractive than those found on either desktop or mobile devices. It turns out that ads on Immersv's platform are generating about a 30 percent click-through rate, although here, it's more accurately described as a "gaze-through rate." That beats mobile by a factor of 30 at one percent, and desktop by better than twice that at 0.4 percent. Immersv actually drives 12 new installations for every thousand ads viewed, which beats the one install for 2,000 for mobile and the one for 10,000 on desktop. Users are even vastly more likely to watch the video to completion, with a better than 80 percent completion rate.

These are of course staggering numbers by any scale, though given that VR is largely a new medium--sure, it's been around for decades in one form or another, but this is the first time we're seeing it largely commercially available instead of rented by the minute--that's probably driving the effort. Remember that, back in the early days of film, people dressed up for a night at the movies and would have watched just about anything. Consider "Steamboat Willie"; people couldn't get enough of that and by today's standards it's almost unimaginably primitive, let alone the kind of thing you'd put on a suit and tie to go see. It's much the same with VR; in these early days, viewers are likely so enamored with the medium that they'll interact with any new material.

Suggesting that this will hold into 2017 isn't unlikely at all. Suggesting it will hold much beyond that, though, may be a little less likely. We'll likely see these rates drop with every passing year, especially as advertisers rush to glut the market with ads that they're sure will be a hit. Users will likely tire of VR ads in short order, and these impressive click-through rates probably won't hold. Stranger things have happened, though, so there's a chance it could hold.

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