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Google is experimenting with what ads will look like in virtual reality

Similar to how the shift from desktop to mobile required different monetization strategies and ads, the rise of virtual reality content will require another rethink. Google, which is still primarily driven by advertising, is already experimenting with ad designs for the new format.

Area 120, Google’s internal experiments workshop, is beginning to tackle this problem with a project called Advr and comes as developers are “looking at how to make money to fund their VR applications.”

The first concept for an app advertisement presents users with a small, rotating 3D cube that is plastered with the application’s icon and screenshots. Tapping or gazing at the object for a few seconds will launch a promotional video.

The video displays as a floating 2D screen and expands/collapses into the cube with a neat animation. When closed, a floating sign with a link to download the app will drop down from above.

The team is keeping several key principles in mind throughout the development process, including:

  • VR ad formats should be easy for developers to implement
  • Native to VR
  • Flexible enough to customize
  • Useful and non-intrusive for users.

Google lists Cardboard on Android and iOS, Daydream, and Samsung Gear VR as possible platforms for these ads, with an early-stage SDK available for testing. The group is already working with some test partners and is opening sign-ups for an early access program.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: