News: Unity Bulks Up Advertising Capabilities with Responsive AR Ads

Unity Bulks Up Advertising Capabilities with Responsive AR Ads

Augmented reality has taken the advertising industry by storm, but the technology has a steep learning curve. Luckily for advertisers, Unity is here to flatten the curve a bit.

At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019, Unity unveiled Responsive AR, a new ad format that enables non-developers to create interactive AR experiences.

Starting with 3D-rendered interactive content, Responsive AR ads gives end-users the opportunity to introduce additional AR components throughout the duration of the experience. By beginning with interactive content, the Responsive AR ads help advertisers engage users who don't opt into the AR experience.

Responsive AR ads draw users in with interactive content before offering an AR experience. Image via Unity

"AR is arguably the most powerful storytelling medium ever. Yet, the technological barriers, the lack of control, and fear of the unknown are hindering its usage," said Tony Parisi, head of AR/VR ad innovation at Unity, in a statement. "Responsive AR Ads are a friendlier, less intimidating approach to implementing AR into campaigns that is tailored to increase opt-in rates for advertisers while improving user comfort by putting control in their hands."

The new ad format arrives with the publication of data from a survey of advertisers commissioned by Unity. With about 1,000 respondents participating, approximately 63% of respondents reported difficulty in implementing AR advertising campaigns, with technical complexity (24.6%) and cost (39.1%) cited as the biggest hurdles.

To get started using the Responsive AR tool, users need to install the Unity Monetization SDK from the Unity Asset Store and then build the ad into their app or game through Unity.

"Augmented reality is becoming ubiquitous and creative marketers and advertisers are already establishing the use cases that have made the rest of the industry pay attention," said Julie Shumaker, vice president of advertiser solutions at Unity.

"This survey reveals one very important thing: there is a disconnect between the growing demand for AR solutions and the pace at which advertisers, marketers, and creatives are becoming comfortable with the technology. We need to improve AR familiarity among creatives -- both in terms of technical competency and highlighting the cost-effective solutions that are available today."

With its 3D engine powering approximately 60% of AR and VR experiences, and its ad network serving more than 11 billion (according to Unity) AR ads per month, Unity is in as favorable a position as any to help usher advertisers into the AR age.

In addition to its AR ad units, Unity has created its AR Foundation toolkit for cross-platform mobile AR app development, and its forthcoming Project MARS AR development environment will add another arrow to its quiver of tools for AR experiences.

Cover image via Unity Technologies

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