Software Development Under Control

AdSoft Features

Marketing and advertising inside of virtual worlds can represent a challenge on many levels. A major issue is the distributed nature of virtual worlds. Technological limitations preclude audience centralization, and a centralized audience has been the pillar upon which traditional mass market advertising campaigns stood. Where before the audience was fairly well guaranteed to be in a specific reachable space, either via radio, television, magazines, or the various types of display advertising, now within three dimension virtual worlds the metaphor begins to break down. The audience no longer has mass effect as only a limited number of individuals can even be in the same virtual place at the same time. This creates a dilemma for marketers and advertisers looking to expand into this new and rapidly expanding medium.

On the traditional web based Internet, web pages have developed their own real-estate of top banners, side banners, pop-ups, and the like. The mass audience forms impressions from exposure to these central sources, which are readily turned into metrics based on the one-to-one nature of pages and navigation clicks. Virtual worlds have no such one-to-one relationship. There is the full range of three dimension space within which the avatar can move wherever and whenever they wish. This makes tracking and analysis of impression activity problematic.

AdSoft addresses these issues with the development of the first metrics backed mass distributed display based advertising platform for virtual worlds. The AdSoft system solves the problem of distributed audience with ubiquitous placement. By having your message everywhere, you can be seen by traditional mass-media numbers of people. The metrics problem is solved by using the enterprise capable virtual world metrics capture and analysis tool, V-Tracker which has been extensively customized for the AdSoft system. The AdSoft system includes advertising content management, advertising rotation queue management, terminal management, and reporting, all coupled with a multi-tier role based security system. All of these tools are available over the Web, with zero in-world activities necessary to change which ads specific terminals are displaying. A rotation of ads can be set up to run across 1000 terminals, or play on just one, providing the ultimate flexibility.

AdSoft represents over two years of effort, with work on Version 1.0 starting in December 2005. Now in Version 2.0, AdSoft is processing over fifteen million impression minutes per month on the Second Life platform and is available for immediate porting to other virtual worlds.

Ubiquitous Placement for a Distributed Audience

Viewable Range

Banner ads on the web have defined formats, font sizes, layouts, and color schemes. There are whole ranges of studies that have been conducted discussing the effectiveness of banner placement and user attention. None of this work has been done for Virtual World advertising. There are many areas that need to be researched, but some items seem obvious at first glance. The most obvious is that the further away you are from a prim in the virtual world, the less likely you are able to see it. Even with a View Distance setting of 256 meters, a smaller prim may not show up if the user is standing only 60 meters away. Even larger prims that do show up at that range may not be legible.

Code4Software currently uses focus groups to determine appropriate viewable range for display ads. Smaller ads typically have a view range of 30 meters; larger ads have viewable range set up to 50 meters. Our formats also have an ad hoc rule that we've been using, and that is the Primary Surface of the ad is the ‘come-on’, that which attracts attention, and the Secondary Surface is more detailed text. If the 'come-on' works, the resident can fly closer (or pan their camera) and read the detailed text. Our research shows that this technique is more effective than simply repeating the same texture on all four sides of the display prim. All traffic that is within the viewable range for more than one minute will be tracked as impression minutes. Any click regardless of range will be recorded as a request.

Impression Minutes

Each terminal is in fact a V-Tracker scanner and is tracking surrounding avatar traffic on one minute intervals (pulse).Each pulse will seek traffic out to the viewable range and record the avatars detected to the database. For every minute the avatar is exposed to the advertisement, an Impression minute is recorded. If there are several ads being displayed, several impression minutes will be recorded, one for each of the ads displayed. This allows each individual advertisement to have an accurate count of unique avatars that could have seen the advertisement.

Unique Impressions

A unique impression is the single instance counting of an avatar key during a range of time (Day/Week/Month) regardless of how many impression minutes they generated over the course of the range of time. If an avatar was around an advertisement for 200 minutes over the course of a month, a monthly report would show a single Unique Impression for all of that activity.


When an avatar touches the display prim, they will receive the interactions as defined by the Ad Def for the advertisement that is currently displayed on the display prim.These are the two Ad Types that were defined in the Ad Def, and just because the avatar touches the prim and receives the offers as defined in the Ad Def, it doesn’t mean that that the avatar accepted the offers.If the avatar is offered to be redirected to a URL often will result in the avatar selecting the 'Cancel' option. All of the Ad Types generate offers and do not actually perform the giving or redirecting/teleporting. It is up to the user to accept the offer.


When the avatar accepts the offer, they take the object, note card, or landmark, or teleport to the specified location, or navigate to the URL offered. Through a variety of mechanisms these click-though activities are tracked and correlated to the avatars that performed the initial requests, giving complete a complete click-through data stream.

Captured Data

During each data capture event at a minimum the following data is collected:

Avatar First Name
Avatar Last Name
Avatar Key
Avatar Position Info (Region, X, Y, Z)
Terminal ID
Advertisement ID
Time Stamp

Depending upon the Ad Type additional information may be recorded.