Niantic launches ‘Rewarded AR’ for branded in-game AR ads

In Augmented Reality News

June 20, 2023 – Niantic, a provider of augmented reality (AR) technologies and the creator of Pokémon GO, has recently announced that it is launching its new ‘Rewarded AR’ ads format during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, for which the company is also the official AR partner.

Rewarded AR ads is a new ad product from Niantic, which uses a smartphone’s camera to immerse players within branded content in the real-world around them. The AR ads are powered by Niantic’s AR development platform, 8th Wall, which has been used by several leading brands to create WebAR marketing campaigns which, in turn, have engaged millions of people globally, according to Niantic.

Niantic is now offering Rewarded AR ads in its real-world games like Pokémon GO. Players engage with interactive experiences within these ad units while they move around in the real-world to unlock rewards within the game. Niantic stated that this in turn will help to better reach players near key physical locations, delivering branded AR experiences that lead to improved results across the funnel.

The company stated that Rewarded AR ads were designed to:

  • Increase brand impact through immersive product storytelling;
  • Assist with the purchasing decision through AR visualizations; and
  • Encourage conversion and sales by driving foot traffic in-store.

To help streamline the AR ad development process, Niantic has created partnerships with key development agencies to offer brands a fully-managed creative production process.

“AR offers an exciting new way to engage people powered by fresh innovation in spatial computing. Niantic’s platform features mobile augmented reality advertising formats that blend seamlessly with the real world,” said Erin Schaefer, VP Sales and Global Operations at Niantic. “Audiences can engage with Rewarded AR ads to have immersive and enjoyable brand experiences, discover new products, or engage with interactive features. This helps to better reach people near key physical locations, delivering immersive brand experiences that lead to improved results.”

Circle K’s AR ad success within Pokémon GO 

Niantic noted that early branded AR ad campaigns have shown strong performance, citing convenience retailer Circle K, which successfully piloted Niantic’s Rewarded AR ads with the goal to increase brand awareness and product consideration for its new coffee offering.

Players of Pokémon GO were presented with the Rewarded AR ad as a floating balloon in-game. After tapping on the ad and opening their mobile camera, players interacted with a 3D Circle K coffee cup they placed in the space in front of them. After interacting with the larger than life product visualization, players were prompted to get a physical cup of coffee at a nearby Circle K store. The Rewarded AR ad campaign resulted in an average engagement rate of 76% and an average completion rate of 95% for the experience, according to Niantic.

“We are always looking for meaningful new ways to engage with our customers and give them compelling new reasons to make Circle K a part of their day, and our collaboration with Niantic on Pokémon GO has opened up some exciting possibilities,” said Margaret Barron, Vice President of Global Marketing for Circle K. “Rewarded AR integrates Circle K into this wildly popular gaming environment with timely and relevant offers that enhance brand awareness and loyalty, and we’ve been very pleased with the results so far.”

Niantic stated that its Rewarded AR ads help to deliver deeper consumer engagement for brands, driving stronger brand impact over static banners or video ads alone. In an early user survey conducted by Niantic this year, the company found that people preferred Rewarded AR ads, with roughly 80% of players indicating that AR Ads are “a good idea.”

Niantic will be showcasing its Rewarded AR ads at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this week. For more information on Niantic, its 8th Wall platform and new Rewarded AR ads solution, please visit the company’s website.

Image credit: Niantic

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.