At Area 120, Google Experiments with Advertising in Virtual Reality

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Area 120 is Google’s internal workshop for experimental ideas. Shrouded in a veil of secrecy, Area 120 tackles early-stage projects and iterates test concepts.

Currently, the workshop is looking at native advertising inside of virtual reality.

“We heard from developers that they’re looking at how to make money to fund their VR applications,” says Aayush Upadhyay of Area 120, “so we started experimenting with what a native, mobile VR ad format might look like.”

The team’s 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,” explains Neel Rao of Area 120.

Google believes VR advertising should be easy for developers to work with, native to the reality, and non-intrusive for users.

The company has invited developers to play with ad formats for its VR platform, Daydream.

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