Case Study

Advertising in VR: Market Players

Иван Смирнов

In our previous article we overviewed the present state of VR-market, particularly, in the sphere of mobile devices, and touched some of the technical aspects of delivering the ads to mobile apps. Now let's move further — to the latest solutions, which advertising market offers to the new ecosystem.

Companies making ads placement in VR-environment can be counted on one hand. If truth be told, programmatic ad buying market consists of three big categories (excluding the advertisers and app developers):

  • DSP/SSP — companies, providing the technical aspect of the VR-ads placement into the apps. We will dwell upon these companies below.
  • Production studios — design studio producing the relevant content. VR technologies require more technical efforts when producing the advertising materials. From this perspective, we can mention a significant increase in the number of platforms for the VR-content placement (Omnivirt), production studios, stocks and self-services (Adtile).
  • Advertising agencies — experts in the field of advertising, who master the new equipment amongst the first, and offer it to their clients. The technical level for the production and development of high-quality content should be tallish, so the requirements for the agencies working in the sphere of VR will grow quickly. VR strongly pushes the advertising towards the programmatic buying. But, by the virtue of the VR-technology itself, the advertising materials can't be created automatically unlike the classic media or e-commerce.


Usually, adtech-companies, working in the sphere of VR, encompass SSP and DSP, or even an analytics service. But things will change in the near future with the realization of support of the new formats by the adtech-giants and the appearance of highly tailored services of analytics.

Today, with only a few exceptions, the list mainly consists of new names:

Until recently, all known advertising cases in VR/AR reduced themselves to promo-videos in 360° format or mini-games containing promo materials — McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Volvo, Marriott. Even Jack In The Box fast food company, in cooperation with Omnivirt platform, launched a live stream in 360° format from its restaurant via Twitch and Vice services.

Adtech companies deliver the advertising content directly into the smartphones by using the built-in SDK, while marketing agencies usually publish the video or the game via one of the public platforms and distribute it through the classic media and reviews. Relatively speaking, that is the main difference between the cases, mentioned above, and the ones, listed below.

Unfortunately, not every service is able to provide the audience with real cases. Mainly, because not all of them make advertising “virtual” in the full sense of the word. It even seems that “Closure or Merger” will be the only choice for the majority of companies from the list above in the future. However, the mere appearance of such services indicates the potential of VR-adtech sphere and some interesting cases we can discuss even now.

Fibrum и StartApp

The most illustrative is the joint case of Fibrum and StartApp. StartApp SDK is built into the classic VR app — Rollercoaster. During a predetermined scene, the user sees the hotspot, which, by focusing the look at it, reveals into a full VR-unit containing Game of War advertisement.

The app is available via the following link:

Fruity Pebbles и StartApp и VirtualSky

An example of a classic corn flakes advertisement by Pebbles — it was launched in two networks supporting the 360° video format (StartApp and VirtualSky). 30-second video was played as a preroll-video in the apps of the ad network. Users, after running an app, were informed of the necessity to turn the phone into a horizontal position and to insert it into the helmet to watch the video. Not the advertisement itself or the 360° format, but the fact, that the video was delivered to the end-user with the use of VR-technologies, is notable in this example.