Niantic wraps users in ads with Rewarded AR

Niantic wraps users in ads with Rewarded AR

Pokémon Go creator Niantic wants to encourage users to make more effective purchasing decisions with real-world ad formats.

Leading AR company Niantic (Pokémon Go) is working on new advertising formats that catch potential customers in the real world. First, they catch a few virtual coffee beans in front of a real green field in a mini-game. Shortly after, the ad asks if they'd like to stop by the real coffee shop around the corner. That's how an early example of Rewarded AR works, merging the ad format with the outside world.

"Audiences can engage with Rewarded AR ads to have immersive and enjoyable brand experiences, discover new products, or engage with interactive features," said Erin Schaefer, vice president of sales and global operations. The goal is to drive foot traffic to neighboring stores, for example, to increase sales and conversion rates.

AR advertising in Pokémon Go

The immersive product storytelling is designed to support the purchase decision through AR visualizations. The technical basis for the format is Niantic's augmented reality development platform 8th Wall. In the iOS and Android title Pokémon Go, the novel advertising is already available on the map and unlocks rewards in the game.

Two screens of the new AR ads from Niantic.

Niantic's new interactive AR ads are designed to help users make local purchasing decisions. | Image: Niantic

Niantic is showcasing its "Rewarded AR" applications at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity through Thursday, June 22. To make the development and implementation as efficient as possible, the company has already partnered with several key agencies, he said.

Early experiences have been promising, he said. In the Circle K campaign mentioned earlier, he said, players first played with an oversized virtual paper cup and then were asked to get a real one at the café – almost like a scavenger hunt.


"The Rewarded AR ad campaign resulted in an average engagement rate of 76 percent and an average completion rate of 95 percent for the experience," Niantic reports.

In a 2023 user survey, about 80 percent of respondents said they thought AR ads were a good idea. So at least players of titles like Pokémon Go or Peridot don't seem to be as annoyed by AR ads as they are by traditional formats. By the way, Peridot recently added the Amazon Anywhere store for physical goods.

Sources: Niantic (1 and 2)