- Swiss International Air Lines debuted a web ad that uses augmented reality (AR) to show an immersive view of its new business cabin, according to a press release shared with Mobile Marketer. Smartphone users can navigate a computer-generated version of a jet's interior and tap on "hot spots" to view more information about dining and video entertainment choices onboard.
- Swiss worked with media agency Mindshare and immersive interactive technology group Coffee Labs to create the immersive WebAR vertical video ad. They developed the AR experience, which doesn't require a separate app download, using the Google Marketing Platform. Clicking on a banner ad opens the AR experience that begins by showing a virtual flight attendant transposed over a smartphone user's real surroundings, as a video demonstration shows.
- Because the WebAR ad is embedded on the mobile web, instead of a separate microsite, it's more likely to be seen by mobile viewers, per the announcement. An average of 80% to 90% of users opt out of looking at an AR experience on a separate site, Swiss said.
Swiss International Air Lines' AR ad is another way to engage mobile viewers and inspire them to book travel in its new business cabin. The WebAR ad unit aims to eliminate the friction of sending viewers to another website for an interactive experience, reducing the likelihood that people will tap out of the vertical video ad. Immersive content also gives users more control of their experiences than a standard ad does when learning about a brand, delivering a more personalized interaction.
Vertical video is vital for mobile campaigns because many smartphone users are most familiar with swiping through social media feeds with a single hand. Fewer than 30% of mobile users turn their phones sideways to watch an ad, and those that do only watch about 14% of the ad content, according to a study by agency Media Brix. Facebook in 2016 introduced vertical video ads, a format pioneered by image-messaging app Snapchat, to make its ad platform more effective with mobile viewers.
Swiss's immersive ad arrives as worldwide spending on AR/VR is set to grow 68.8% to about $20.4 billion in 2019 from last year, according to estimates from the International Data Corporation. Airlines including KLM, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic have showcased their planes' interiors with immersive experiences such as 360-degree videos that show what it's like to fly with them before customers book a ticket. Last winter, Canada Mountain Holidays (CMH) similarly used 360-degree video ads to promote its skiing and hiking trips that included a virtual helicopter drop-off.