Groundbreaking Virtual Reality Research Showcases Strong Emotional Engagement for Brands, According to YuMe and Nielsen

VR Provides Uniquely Immersive Platform for Delivering Highly Engaging Content, According to New Neuroscience-Based Research

NEW YORK--()--YuMe, Inc. (NYSE:YUME), the global audience technology company powered by data-driven insights and multi-screen expertise, and Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN), today released a new neuroscience-informed research report demonstrating how the unique power of virtual reality (“VR”) platforms present marketers with incredible potential, as well as new challenges, in delivering highly immersive experiences that can elicit strong emotional engagement. It also reinforced the need to align content with the right platform to produce optimal consumer engagement.

The research featured content from an entertainment advertiser and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). Consumers experienced the content, which originally was developed for highly immersive platforms, in three distinct environments – mobile VR, 360-degree video on a flat screen and flat, two-dimensional TV screens. Content on VR produced the highest emotional engagement, showcasing the rich, exploratory experiences that brands can develop. But it also reinforced the challenges in connecting consumers with key branding moments in a platform that can encourage self-driven discovery. The report offers practical advice for advertisers and media companies who are looking to incorporate new immersive and experiential ad formats into their campaigns.

“Advertisers need to artfully balance freedom of exploration and storyline flow in new immersive environments to deliver highly engaging viewer experiences,” said Stephanie Gaines, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, YuMe. “As an industry we’ve spent a lot of time deep in the conversations about virtual reality. Now is the time, however, to move from hype to action -- and this report clearly shows the path to incorporating these powerful new formats.”

Powered by the integration of Nielsen’s biometric, eye-tracking and behavioral coding technologies, the study shows that VR presented participants with the opportunity to play director, navigating through experiences in their own, unique ways. Brands must understand this journey in order to effectively divert attention to key branding moments, without interrupting the experience.

“Brands have more platforms than ever on which to connect with consumers, and this study showcases how virtual reality presents a unique opportunity to deliver a highly-engaging experience with the right content,” said Dr. Carl Marci, Nielsen’s Chief Neuroscientist. “We’ve used neuroscience technology for years to study and understand consumer engagement with different platforms. We’ve also identified the importance of tailoring content specific to the intended platform in order to realize optimal consumer engagement."

Key takeaways from the study include:

  • With content optimized for the platform, VR can deliver higher emotional engagement than flat environments, including 2D and 360-degree experiences
    • VR elicited 27% higher emotional engagement than in a 2D environment and 17% higher emotional engagement than a 360-degree video on a flat screen.
    • VR viewers are emotionally engaged 34% longer than when they view the same content in 2D and 16% longer than when they view the same content in 360-degree video on a flat screen.
  • Immersive content in VR and 360-degree experiences needs to balance freedom of exploration and flow to convey the narrative
    • Content that provides viewers with the opportunity to explore a virtual world can deliver increased engagement, but storyline flow is critical for effectiveness. Since viewers are in control of their own experience, attention is easily diverted to aspects in view (scenery, landmarks) apart from the primary storyline.
    • Guided exploration is critical for brands to convey their message and leverage branding opportunities.
  • VR requires a new breed of content directors
    • Immersive environments offer viewers the opportunity to play ‘director’ of their experience. This creates new challenges and opportunities for those directing content creation; they must leverage new techniques while re-considering what may not translate well from linear environments.
    • The use of audio and language are critical for guiding viewer attention and narrative flow.

“Las Vegas is a leader in the tourism industry, and continues to pave the way by finding creative and innovative ways to embrace the latest technology and trends, most recently through virtual reality,” said Cathy Tull, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Users are able to explore what Las Vegas has to offer in a virtual setting and gain the excitement needed to book their own Las Vegas adventure. The results of the Nielsen and YuMe study demonstrate strong emotional engagement from immersive VR experiences and reinforce why we believe virtual reality is the future of vacation planning.”

“Our research with Nielsen shows that VR and 360-degree video, done correctly, provides a very high level of viewer emotional engagement,” said Paul Neto, Senior Director, Research, YuMe. “It also shows there are no shortcuts to the most effective video engagement -- VR and 360 experiences are at their most effective in driving audience engagement when content is of very high quality and content developers leverage the specific strengths of each format. By putting the audience first, and focusing on creating an immersive and highly engaged experience, brands have the opportunity to realize higher levels of engagement and greater branding success.”

Study Background

150 study participants’ emotional responses were gauged by Nielsen’s neuroscience team, with eye tracking identifying their gaze and eye movements and a biometric monitoring device measuring electrodermal response and heart rate changes, as well as behavioral-coding methods. Participants were monitored while watching a scene from an entertainment advertiser and two short clips from LVCVA on mixology and an aerial helicopter tour of the Las Vegas strip. Consumers viewed these clips in three different environments: an immersive VR experience on a headset, a 360-degree video on a tablet, and video on a conventional, flat screen TV.

Additional details regarding the research can be found here:

About YuMe

YuMe, Inc. (NYSE: YUME) is a leading provider of global audience technologies, building relationships between brand advertisers and consumers of premium video content across a growing range of connected devices. Combining data-driven technologies with deep insight into audience behavior, YuMe offers brand advertisers end-to-end marketing software that establishes greater brand resonance with engaged consumers. It is the evolution of brand advertising for an ever-expanding video ecosystem. YuMe is headquartered in Redwood City, California, with worldwide offices. For more information, visit, follow @YuMeVideo and like YuMe on Facebook.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen's Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry's only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit

Forward Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including those in management quotations. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the words "may," "will," "expect," "intend," "plan," "objective," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "project," "potential," "continue" and "ongoing," or the negative of these terms, or other comparable terminology intended to identify statements about the future. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements about research findings as they relate to the different immersive content platforms; the future of VR; growth strategies; market trends; and quotations from management. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that could cause actual results and the timing of events to differ materially from future results that are expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences are discussed under "Risk Factors" in YuMe's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2016 that has been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), and in our future filings and reports with the SEC. The forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to YuMe as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.


YuMe, Inc.
Stephanie Gaines, 408-642-8441


YuMe, Inc.
Stephanie Gaines, 408-642-8441