Augmented RealityApplicationGuest Post

Google Swirl Redefines Advertising With Its 3D Ad Format

Google’s 3D ad format called Swirl meshes programmatic advertising with next-generation content.


The biggest ad platform in the world is now open for immersive content. Last June, Google released a new 3D ad format called Swirl, which meshes programmatic advertising with next-generation content. Previously available only through Google team, Swirl was released to all brands yesterday, on July 9, making it available to all advertisers.

Users will now be served banner ads that feature 3D models and animations that are interactive and dynamic. New mediums like AR and VR will usher in dramatic new forms of advertising, such as AR cloud-based persistent placements and Metaverse-like second worlds with digital real estate and billboards.

See Also:  6 Brands That Use AR and VR Advertising Successfully

But the good old internet isn’t going away; banner advertisements aren’t going away. They will evolve to include the 3D and AR worlds. The Swirl unit is the first major step.

Let’s talk about how it works. When a user scrolls down a page, the Swirl uses a parallax effect to dynamically spin the content. This parallax has been used in rich media before, but when added with 3D models and animation, it is showcased in its best form. The user is invited to interact with the content…swirl, zoom, move, inspect the product with your finger, right inside the banner ad. This level of immersion with content is only possible in 3D. The user isn’t a passive receiver of advertisement, but an active participant.

3D Increases Engagement, Awareness, and Purchase Intent

Google has beta tested the new Swirl unit for months and the results have been excellent.

One Nissan execution used to showcase its Pro Pilot technologies resulted in 8 times higher engagement than rich media benchmarks, 5.8 point increase in brand awareness, and an 8.7 point increase in purchase intent. Even more impressive, this specific creative had the same dimensions of a standard display ad unit, 300×250. On July 9th, Google opened the platform to all advertisers who will have access to new Swirl templates in Google Web Designer.

Marketers and analysts might argue that comparing these types of units to standard display advertising isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, but we’d argue they are wrong. Swirl isn’t granted extra digital real estate or takeover functionality, it’s competing in the same ring as standard digital ad inventory, and it’s winning.

Now, imagine how easily this unit can translate to other major advertising verticals – see the detailed designs and fabric on a T-shirt, trigger your appetite by viewing a panini then order delivery, check out a dream home (inside and out).

This experience requires a new level of creativity, one that breaks out from the confines of a flat image and adds depth and dynamism. Brands who want to be innovative and showcase their products, provide transparency, and create a magnetic experience, will migrate to this new medium.

Spicing Up Your Ad Strategy Without Spending More

More good news – this new Google ad unit is offered in classic banner ad sizes – 300×250, 300×600, and 336×280. The great news – it can be bought programmatically through DV360, Google’s self-service ad platform.

Brands can use their existing creative budgets and ad spends to pump out this next-generation content. It doesn’t require a new ad strategy, so the uptake can be quick. It also features full-screen mode (if the user really wants to play around with it) and traditional Calls-to-Action to allow pass-through to a page of their choosing.

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While it won’t require a full new strategy, it will have to spur innovative tactical thinking. How do you best utilize a platform like this? What is it about a 3D model that will bring your product to life and engage a user? How can your content bring about that 8X user engagement? These are the types of questions that brands and agencies should be asking themselves.

This is just a first step into a far more immersive ecosystem of advertising. Snap and Instagram have created platforms for super successful and innovative AR campaigns, and now Google has opened the door for the largest platform – the banner ad.

Guest Post

About the Guest Author(s)

Mike Cadoux
Mike Cadoux
General Manager | QReal | + posts

Mike Cadoux is the General Manager of The Glimpse Group subsidiary QReal (formerly, a 3D and augmented reality content creation and distribution platform that usher's brands into the immersive media world. Previously, Mike worked as the Managing Director and Co-owner of Peak Organic Beer Company. He graduated from Pomona College.

Matt Maher
Matt Maher
Founder | M7 Innovations | + posts

Matt Maher is the founder of M7 Innovations where he guides brands and executive teams through the ever-changing media and technological landscapes - from AI and Voice technology to AR and VR. He formerly served as VP of Innovation at Assembly - AdAge’s 2018 Agency of the Year - and has given keynote presentations at CES, SXSW, industry panels, and private client events.