Why VR Ads Could Be the Next Playable Ad

Post By Hannah Downing

As I wrote in a previous post, playable ads are an ad format that has many benefits, especially when it comes to their high rate of retention and quality conversions. One of the many reasons this type of ad resonates so well with consumers is because they get to interact with the ad, which may be the reason why some companies are starting to look at the potential of a VR ad space.

Wired recently reported that Unity, a VR development company, announced Virtual Room, a new VR ad format that it plans to roll out later this year. Wired made a good point regarding Unity’s new product: it’ll likely be very expensive to create, as the VR ads and experiences that Unity describes are complex and aim for high quality.

However, the price of this new ad format may not be as much of a problem as some might think, as big-name companies will likely be willing to pay for ads in this format as it starts emerging along with the interest in VR and number of VR users overall.

If product companies, like Apple and Google, can get more people excited about VR and convince them to spend their money on VR products, then companies like Unity would surely start picking up business. This does not seem too impossible, as Statista reports the use of VR products, from tethered to standalone to screenless, is projected to reach almost 65 million users in 2020. On top of reaching a large audience, VR ads would likely do well with consumers because of the same reasons playable ads do so well with consumers—they’re interactive. Just as with playable ads, interactive VR ads could excite consumers and grab their full attention in a way that other advertising efforts struggle to achieve.

The type of ad format that Unity is hoping to create, as described by Wired, involves an interactive ad world or room that users would be a part of. This goal is ambitious, but also makes sense. Why settle for placing simple static ads or videos into a VR world when you can manipulate it to directly engage your audience?

VR ads would also likely have the same high retention and quality conversions that playable ads have, as much of what Unity described to Wired seemed to be opt-in ads, where users can choose whether or not to enter a doorway leading to the full ad space. While this tactic may seem less reliable to some, this approach is what has made playable ads so valuable, because those who do opt-in are more likely to stay engaged from the beginning to end, including converting and continuous in-app engagement.

As with playable ads, users will likely look forward to interacting with VR ads. TechCrunch’s Oren Cohen compared the anticipation and excitement of playable ads to Super Bowl ads—they’re enjoyable enough that users seek them out—and VR could see the same response.

However, developers and marketers will have to build trust with consumers, because trust is what not only keeps them coming back to Super Bowl and playable ads, but also what keeps their enthusiasm alive. Without trust, users might be cautious and less attentive.

Overall, VR has a place in the advertising world that offers great opportunities for both consumers and marketers, as long as the hype for VR continues and marketers work from the very beginning to build that trust. If these two things can be sorted out, VR may just become the new playable ad.

Google and Apple Protecting User Data

Post By Hannah Downing

Google and Apple have been making strides when it comes to creating a safer, more transparent app space for consumers. For Google, this comes in the form of a new strategy to weed out the bad apps from the good ones. For Apple, this means specifically creating restrictions when it comes to user data, such as location services, and restricting this data to certain types of apps.

As Abner Li recently wrote for 9to5Google, Google is implementing a comparison strategy to find apps that may be requesting data from users that is irrelevant to the functioning of the app and, therefore, should not be requested. Google wants to stop this kind of data collection because they think this data is often being shared, too, which they see as unfair and unsafe to the consumer. To make this process as efficient as possible and to minimize mistakes, Google is using machine learning to execute this strategy. Apps are categorized by similar functionalities and any app with differences within that group is flagged for Google to look into further. As an example, Li quoted that Google might flag a coloring book app that is requesting and sharing a user’s location if no other coloring book app even requests this kind of data, especially since something like location would likely not be relevant to the success and functionality of a coloring book app. Google is also adding to their efforts to restrict data collection by limiting how frequently background data can be collected from a user within a certain amount of time.

Apple is taking a different approach to protecting user data, specifically location. James Hercher recently reported for Ad Exchanger that Apple’s new iOS update, due in September, will feature a blue bar appearing at the top of iPhone and iPad screens when apps are tracking the user’s location in the background. The update will include more options for users to control when each app is allowed to track their location. There will also be more restrictions for certain apps regarding location, such as only allowing apps one request to “always” track a user’s location.

These changes show a clear effort on both Apple and Google’s part to emphasize the safety of consumer data and each user’s experience overall. We’ve seen multiple instances of this new emphasis on the user rather than developers or marketers lately, including upcoming changes to the App Store and Google Play, that allow for more relevant and clear information to be displayed to users, further allowing for informed decisions to be made by users. In the end, both app developers and marketers are going to be held to high standards as these platforms continue making changes to accommodate the user and users will get the experience they deserve.

Customer Service and Consumer Re-engagement: Facebook Announces Next Steps with Messenger Ads

Post By Hannah Downing

Mary Meeker predicted it in her 2017 Internet Trends report and now we are seeing it: the shift of customer service to chat platforms. This is because advertising is shifting to chat platforms, as well. As reported in a recent VentureBeat article, Facebook recently announced that it will be extending its test of ad placements on Messenger to a worldwide audience. Let’s look at some of the benefits and things to consider of this emerging ad format.

One of the major benefits to this ad format is the direct access it gives businesses to potential customers from the ability to start conversations in the Messenger app through the ad. Facebook also reports that sponsored messages sent in the Messenger app will only be for businesses that the user has previously engaged with in some way. These aspects make this ad format very valuable, since reengaging potential or past customers can be difficult to achieve in general.

However, the ease and importance of conversations in this ad format means this is going to put great emphasis on each business’s customer service department. While this format could be great for generating leads and directing them towards converting, it could also backfire if a business does not have an adequate support team setup to handle whatever volume of conversations come their way.

Similarly, it is not clear whether the conversations that occur because of ads run in the Messenger app will factor into the rating of each business’s Messenger response time, as is often visible to users when they visit a business’s Facebook page. If this rating feature could be affected by the Messenger ad format, then businesses have even more reason to make sure their team is ready to handle the volume of conversations that may come through the app.

In the end, more businesses should consider advertising in this format, as the potential benefits are high, especially the direct interaction between businesses and consumers. This ad format could add more of a personal touch to advertising and the guiding of leads down the conversion tunnel, as well. If you’re a business that is not on Facebook already, join the 70 million other businesses and see if this ad format is right for you. Contact Oplytic to discuss and determine the best mobile marketing strategy for your company and if this includes Messenger app ads.