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As lens-tech solutions, cloud computing and mobile connectivity infrastructure gradually evolve, the accessibility of VR and AR experiences to digital consumers is increasing. However, in spite of the global hype around metaverse and the relevant advertising capabilities it can unlock, businesses’ willingness to test out immersive ad campaigns has, until recently, been mostly limited to top-tier conglomerates.
Blame it on the lack of interoperability between existing technologies on the market, or the insufficient understanding of who to target and how to measure immersive ad campaigns, but many mid-sized market players are still reluctant to take a leap of faith and explore newly emerging opportunities to engage with their customers outside the static 2D environment.
Does this mean that the new era of immersive advertising is yet to begin, or will its launch be delayed until 2023, or even later? Even though the jury is still out on the subject, most analysts are rather optimistic in their forecasts.
Solid trend: gamification
Whether it’s a short interactive experience introduced via in-app outstream ads or a video interstitial, or a full-fledged animated game aimed at activating the brand on desktop or mobile, gamification remains one of the solid trends in the MR advertising niche for 2022.
And yes, a product launch or a sponsored-entertainment event run within a VR game, and the launch of sponsored gear for VR characters by apparel brands — which have grown increasingly popular over the past years — are also significant parts of this pattern.
Accelerating trend: shoppable XR
Back in 2019, a Nielsen survey revealed that more than 50% of consumers were eager to utilize AR & VR tech to assess products. Today, this trend isn’t going anywhere. More importantly, fueled by the rapid development of lens tech, shoppable XR is quickly becoming one of the key accelerating trends in immersive advertising for 2022.
Quite predictably, the key players in the ad-tech market have been equipping brands and agencies with a massive kit of functional capabilities and specific shoppable ads. Some of these may not stick, of course, but those like Google Swirl, YouTube’s Beauty AR try-on, Snap’s Lens Carousel and Unity’s Product Explorer have become real game-changers for the online retail industry, keeping their top positions in 2022.
In addition, the other trends to pay attention to this year are a gradual increase of AR-capable DOOH ads, particularly in shopping malls, as well as the expansion of try-on features offered in brick-and-mortar stores.
Emerging trend: mass-market, mixed-reality ads
The launch of an immersive advertising campaign has never been a cheap endeavor for a brand. Last year, IAB experts recommended getting started with a $10,000 test-run budget. Companies were then advised to add more money to that budget if the achieved results fit the teams’ expectations.
However, from what we’ve been tracking over the past months, the immersive ad-tech industry has been gradually shifting its focus on a slightly wider cohort of advertisers. This, in particular, has already resulted in the introduction of comparatively more accessible developer tools. A bulk of AR assets offered in the Spark AR Studio, Google’s Web Designer Kit functionality, a multitude of 3D model collections available for purchase in various formats for quite the reasonable price at Sketchfab, etc.
More importantly, as the immersive advertising niche continues to grow, driven by the launch of cheaper AR/VR hardware and the deeper penetration of 5G, this trend will be getting even more noticeable as the year goes on.
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