How The Future of Advertising is VR

How the future of Advertising is VR

By  Colton O'Dwyer

November 28, 2016

    "Mr. Watson - Come here - I want to see you"


            These were the first words spoken on the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. These words would forever change the way we communicate, sparking a revolution virtually overnight. Unseen at the time, were the vast applications this invention would come to provide. More than 100 years later, a slew of evolutionary advancements in the phone has graced us with the iPhone and the Pixel, but Bell’s original idea remains intact. With virtual reality and 360 photos + videos rapidly gaining popularity, will these technologies usher in a new era of advertising communication? What better way to connect to your audience than to fully immerse them into the experience?


Interest for “Virtual Reality” over the past 12 years.

            Many companies have seen the potential of 3-D 360-degree virtual reality technologies, but no company knows this more than Google. Google was very interested in what a 360 video could do for a brand. In terms of advertising, they were interested to see if 360 video would increase viewer metrics. To answer these questions, Google partnered with Columbia Sportswear to create an ad campaign that involved a full 360 video of a Chilean ski-session. Columbia released the Ad in the traditional 2D format on YouTube, accompanied by the 360 video, and let the numbers do the talking. First, take a look at the video in the traditional 2D YouTube Medium, and then compare the difference. The difference in how the Ad makes you feel is something quite ineffable, and instead of trying to put it into words, I’d rather show you.

                 Now imagine that you pop on your Microsoft Hololens or HTC Vive VR headset and you experience the same ad. Just the sheer immersion alone, would make you that much more willing to buy a product, click a link, or watch a full video. And that’s exactly what Google found—The 360-video had a higher click-through-rate, indicating that viewers were more interested in watching the full version. Furthermore, the 360-video had a higher interaction rate, driving more users to “share, subscribe, and view other videos” (41% more actions were taken than the traditional ad)

                I know what you’re probably thinking: That video is cool and all, but Columbia probably had to shell out some dough to produce it, many companies wouldn’t be able to afford to offer a 360 video like that. That’s a fair point, but we mustn’t forget that we have a device that is capable of capturing 360 degree photos right now—our smartphones. More and more companies are turning to 360 technologies to show off their storefront, sell products, and much more. Imagine a day when you could put on your VR headset and take a full 3D tour of an apartment without ever having to leave your house, now pinch yourself because that day has already come. VR is on the brink of exploding into the mainstream and I look forward to watching it revolutionize the Advertising landscape. Part of me wishes Watson walked back in and said:

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