Virtual reality advertising: The effects of presence and object interactivity on purchase intent
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Advertising constantly adapts to any emerging on or offline platform where it can engage with consumers. Looking at the past 20 years, advertising has moved from focusing on television to focusing on computers, and from computers to smartphones with more than 50% of the revenue coming in from the latter in 2016 (IAB, 2017). Given this trend of advertising to migrate towards emerging technologies the purpose of this research is to investigate if head mounted displays and virtual reality environments are suited for advertising purposes based on key psychological concepts such as object interactivity, mental image creation ease and vividness, and presence. An experiment was carried out comparing the level of purchase intent achieved by being exposed to advertising in three different conditions: a virtual reality environment, a 2D video ad and an in-store experience. The experiment was undertaken in the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin, Ireland where participants (N = 74, 32 male and 42 female, ages 20-44) were recruited and distributed randomly to one of the three conditions. The results suggest that there are several significant correlations between object interactivity, presence and purchase intent and that VR can be an effective advertising platform.
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