“At the moment we see it more as a billboard, where you need strong viewability and messaging,” he said.
The use cases within VR games ironically harken back to old-school out-of-home marketing. Signs on walls are easy to pre-set as ad units, and inventory can be manufactured by, say, erecting a water tower or billboard in the background.
Rovio games like “Angry Birds” have spawned a full licensing business involving films and other forms of entertainment, so in-game billboards work with its marketing agenda.
Measurement and viewability can be a challenge in AR or VR apps, though, because the standard verification tools, such as Moat, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify, don’t support the category.
Adverty has its own internal VR measurement tool to measure lighting conditions and how or if a placement is viewed in the app, Bakos said. The company also plans to work with the IAB, other trade groups and measurement companies to standardize the potential ad channel.
By the end of the year, Bakos said he expects added scale and interest to drive CPMs for AR and VR inventory upward of $100, even if buyers remain case by case and don’t trade actively in the format.
Rovio is waiting for a breakthrough in the VR life cycle before adopting it as a platform for its own game development, Heijari said, “but it will be interesting to see if we keep the niche investment going on a persistent basis.”