Monetizing VR/AR: Case Studies and Lessons Learned from the Advertising Industry

Room B5

I’d like to focus my talk on my top lessons learned (backed by case studies) from working in VR/AR’s first sticky monetization model: advertising. Big brands and publishers are starting to use 360/VR/AR in their marketing and have been finding great success even though many of them are just starting out and experimenting. As brands are finding success in VR/AR advertising, I believe immersive content will become mainstream–people are willing to pay…and are.

In this talk, I’d like to share what I’ve learned works and doesn’t to help ensure that developers, content creators, brands, and publishers alike can learn how to use these mediums and sustain their businesses financially with advertising.

I’ll provide color on the following:

Case Studies
1) Publishers: How the NYT and HuffPost began offering premium ad inventory by selling VR/AR/360 ad formats
2) Brands: Home Depot, Universal Pictures, and U.S. Army: How different brand verticals are testing interaction to help drive different call to actions (buy furniture, see movies, recruit soldiers)

Big Lessons Learned on Immersive Content and Media/Ad Economics
1) Understand big media’s current struggles to get a sense for how VR/AR fits into their content strategies: Big media companies and publishers are desperate for growth right now and have been relying too much on social media to drive audience engagement; investing in new technologies like VR/AR is a way to innovate their content and advertising strategies
3) Fit story with format: Branded storytelling is different in VR/AR: it’s great for showcasing new environments, product demos, but it’s not great for quick linear storytelling paces; build an experience that is focused on discovery and embraces the audience’s agency
4) Engagement and Conversions not Impressions: VR and AR provides a new kind of interaction, so developers need to provide and analyze the metrics these mediums afford, like hotspots and heatmaps
5) Avoid the Install: Embrace mobile VR and AR and avoid headsets, at least in the near term; take away any friction

Life Track