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HTC Vive courts brands claiming it knows when virtual reality users look at ads

Black Mirror tackles the issue of immersive ad targeting

HTC Vive, one of the leading virtual reality headsets, is looking to entice advertisers with the news that it can fully track ad viewability – on account of the hardware literally being able to tell where the user is looking.

While virtual reality – and as a result, VR advertising – remains in its infancy, the company will be able to offer unparalleled levels of immersion and can use any incumbent revenue to attract app developers to its platform.

The announcement, made on the Vive blog, will likely not be welcomed by consumers who are already spending upwards of £750 to secure the hardware.

With the tracking software, brands and advertisers could theoretically pay for impressions after they’ve occurred.

The company said: “Ads that appear in immersive VR environments can not only provide more effective impressions, they can also track whether the users have viewed them or have turned away their gaze. Accordingly, the multiplied effect of effective impressions and verified viewings will bring you higher advertising revenue.

“Ads that are seen by users in an immersive VR environment can not only meet the user’s needs by means of precise re-targeting, but can also be detected if they are viewed effectively by users. Therefore, promotion of your applications would have much more effective impression, which not only arouses the attention of potential users and enhance brand image, but further attracts interested users directly to download your apps in the VR environment.”

Developers can opt into the service with ad-funded apps supplied through the network.

Virtual Reality offers brands the chance to get in user's headspace, Arthur Tindsley a London-based creative technologist at AOL UK, shared his thoughts on this: "If we work hard now to find the best, and right, ways to engage with audiences through this new medium on behalf of brands, it can only be a win for the marketing industry in the long run."

On the software front, Adobe Primetime has been experimenting with what advertising could look like in the virtual space.

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