IAB Compass: Navigating Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality


How to get the most out of IAB Compass

Between them, AR/VR, connected TV, gaming and shoppable advertising are providing advertisers with new and exciting ways to bring brands to life, resonate with consumers, and drive sales. IAB Compass is your essential manual to understanding the future of these four channels and how you can harness them most effectively.

Download the full report or use this page as a way to find out more about forecasts and actionable recommendations.

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User uptake of AR is relatively high


of UK adults have used AR


of 18-25s have used AR


of 18-25s are regular users

The findings in under 3 minutes

What to expect next from AR/VR?


of ad industry participants are interested in exploring AR in the next 1-2 years


agree that immersive experiences using AR and/or VR will become mainstream by 2027


estimated UK ad spend on AR by 2026

AR & VR advertising forecast

AR and VR are already large markets and are expected to see high growth, with AR advertising becoming a significant market.

The global market for AR was estimated to be worth c.£12bn in 2021 and VR worth c.£8bn, covering hardware, software, advertising, and entertainment. With investments in technology and applications, and interest across many sectors of the economy, the market is expected to see rapid growth, with AR reaching £40-65bn and VR reaching £15-25bn by 2026.

Within this, the global AR advertising market was estimated to be worth c.£2.5bn in 2021 and is expected to grow to up to c.£7.5bn by 2026. Assuming the UK takes a similar share of this to digital advertising more generally, the UK AR ad market stood at c.£100-150m in 2021 and is set to grow to c.£250-350m by 2026. This forecast considers that ad budgets may be constrained in the near term, given macro-economic challenges slowing experimentation in new areas like AR and VR. Investment in VR advertising is negligible at present.

Speculatively, the mobile AR ad market could grow faster than this. This could be driven by a new app that sees much higher user adoption, and/or new campaign tactics that are successful and widely adopted by advertisers. In VR, significant improvements in hardware and/or reductions in price - possibly driven by large industry players investing in the space - could drive rapid consumer adoption (increasing the number of VR headsets installed globally to 60-70m by 2026, up from 20-25m in 2021), with advertising opportunities following.

To find out more about the forecasting please see page 19 of the full report, which contains more detail.

The AR & VR opportunity & what to do next

Immersive AR and VR experiences offer innovative ways to engage consumers. As we have established, AR adoption is already relatively high, particularly among younger audiences. Tapping into this, advertisers can - and are - creating engaging, interactive experiences that work across the marketing funnel.

As technologies improve and consumer adoption rises, this opportunity is set to grow and VR advertising will also emerge. Although nascent today, immersive experiences will become an increasingly important way for advertisers to stand out and get results.


What should advertisers & agencies do?

We recommend that advertisers new to AR and VR identify ways to use AR to support marketing and, when it comes to trying these out, plan carefully and partner with specialists to support creative.

Building on this, advertisers should explore different uses of AR that focus on offering utility to consumers, as well as tracking how the market (including VR) develops.

Recommendations for advertisers & agencies

  • Build understanding of AR in marketing
  • Identify specific opportunities to use AR
  • Plan distribution alongside creative
  • Ensure experiences offer utility
  • Partner with specialists
  • Track trends and developments

To find out more about the recommendations please see page 21 of the full report, which contains more detail

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AR was the start of media with ‘depth’ that the metaverse will likely become... all the big tech companies are continuing to work on this [including] Apple, Google, Microsoft and Meta... and games engines like EPIC and Unity too.

Phil Rowley, Head of Futures, Omnicom Media Group

Explore IAB Compass in full

  1. Executive summary
  2. What is AR & VR advertising?
  3. Consumer uptake of AR & VR
  4. Advertiser uptake of AR & VR
  5. Future developments in AR & VR
  6. AR & VR advertising forecast
  7. The AR & VR opportunity & what to do next

Download the full report to explore the following chapters on AR/VR, as well as what to expect in CTV, gaming and shoppable advertising

Download the full report

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