At Area 120, Google's internal workshop for experimental ideas, we're working on early-stage projects and quickly iterate to test concepts. We heard from developers that they're looking at how to make money to fund their VR applications, so we started experimenting with what a native, mobile VR ad format might look like.
Developers and users have told us they want to avoid disruptive, hard-to-implement ad experiences in VR. So our first idea for a potential format presents a cube to users, with the option to engage with it and then see a video ad. By tapping on the cube or gazing at it for a few seconds, the cube opens a video player where the user can watch, and then easily close, the video. Here's how it works:
Our work focuses on a few key principles - VR ad formats should be easy for developers to implement, native to VR, flexible enough to customize, and useful and non-intrusive for users. Our Area 120 team has seen some encouraging results with a few test partners, and would love to work with the developer community as this work evolves - across Cardboard (on Android and iOS), Daydream and Samsung Gear VR.
If you're a VR developer (or want to be one) and are interested in testing this format with us, please fill out this form to apply for our early access program. We have an early-stage SDK available and you can get up and running easily. We're excited to continue experimenting with this format and hope you'll join us for the ride!