The Impact of 3D Modelling in Today’s Advertising: A Deep Dive into How 3D Modelling is Reshaping the Way Products Are Advertised

22 Sep, 2023 | 8 minutes read
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(3d rendering of hand holding megaphone, digital marketing social media)

A 3D model refers to a mathematical representation of any 3-dimensional object or surface using specialized software. The model contains data on coordinates, textures, lighting, and other properties that allow the object to be rendered and displayed in 3D.

3D modelling in advertising has become an invaluable tool to realistically visualize products and environments. It provides a much more immersive experience compared to traditional 2D images and illustrations. The level of detail and control in 3D modelling enables advertisers to fully showcase their products, highlight specific features, and place them in realistic settings.

This powerful visualization drives engagement, trust, and ultimately conversion and sales. Viewing a product in 3D provides more information to the customer and reduces uncertainty in buying decisions. It is the closest thing to experiencing a product first-hand without handling it physically.

Breakdown: Traditional Advertising vs. 3D Advertising

Traditional 2D advertising relies on images and video footage taken from fixed perspectives. While this provides a representation of the product, customers are limited to those angles and can’t fully examine the product on their own. There is a lack of interactivity and immersion.

In contrast, 3D modelling enables interactive 3D environments. Customers can manipulate and move the objects seamlessly as if handling them physically. Every detail is rendered realistically. Customers can zoom, rotate, and view the product from any angle. This level of freedom and control engages customers for longer and builds trust.

3D environments can also be used to place products in realistic settings and contexts. For example, a 3D model of a car can be placed in a 3D environment of a street or showroom. This helps customers visualize the product in intended real-life scenarios.

The Evolution of 3D Models in Advertising

Primitive 3D modelling and rendering techniques existed as early as the 1960s, but the lack of computing power restricted practical use. As computers evolved in the 1990s, 3D modelling, and animation became more viable options for advertising. Luxury car brands like Toyota and Nissan were among the first to use 3D vehicle models in ads.

In the 2000s, major advancements in CGI and animation software brought highly detailed 3D product visualization into the mainstream. Brands like LG, Samsung, and Sony used 3D TV and phone models in ads. The gaming industry also drove the use of 3D environments and special effects in ads.

The 2010s saw the rise of interactive 3D applications, AR/VR, and real-time 3D engines. This allowed for web-based interactive 3D product experiences. Ikea’s 3D room sets and configurators demonstrated the potential for interactive 3D shopping.

Current Use of 3D Advertisements: Brands Making an Impact

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Today, advanced interactive 3D ads are used by leading brands across industries:

  • Cars – Nissan, Toyota, Mercedes, BMW use detailed 3D models of cars instead of photos in ads and websites. Customers can customize the cars in 3D.
  • Fashion – Online fashion brands like Farfetch allow users to view clothing on customizable 3D models. Customers can view fabrics, prints, and drapes in realistic detail.
  • Furniture – Ikea, Urban Ladder use interactive 3D models of furniture and rooms. Customers can arrange furniture and visualize it in the context of a 3D room.
  • Jewelry – Brands like Pandora allow users to customize jewelry like charms and bracelets in 3D. The realistic materials, lighting, and angles provide a detailed view.
  • Electronics – Samsung and Apple use 3D models of phones, TVs, and other gadgets. Customers can view features and details closely.

The Future: Predictions for 3D Modelling and the Advertising Landscape

Industry experts predict exponential growth in 3D advertising as the technology improves further. Lightning-fast rendering and streaming will enable highly complex 3D brand experiences on any device. VR and AR will make product experiences more immersive.

Now, customers are able to realistically visualize products in their own intended environments – e.g., visualize furniture in a 3D model of their own living room.

With the line between advertising and shopping blurring, 3D product experiences will evolve into functional virtual stores. Customers may be able to shop realistically in highly detailed virtual 3D brand stores and showrooms.

Why Businesses Use 3D Modelling in Advertising

There are several key reasons why 3D modelling provides major benefits to advertisers:

  • Increased customer engagement – The interactivity and realism offered by 3D models holds the customer’s attention for longer. This drives up engagement metrics.
  • Higher conversion rates – Being able to examine products closely in 3D reduces uncertainty. This increases intent to purchase and conversion rates.
  • Flexibility – Products and environments can be rendered from any angle and configuration in 3D. This flexibility in presentation helps advertisers showcase the most attractive views.
  • Visual storytelling – Using 3D environments, advertisers can place products in realistic settings and contexts to tell a visual story around the brand.
  • Cost-effectiveness – While complex 3D modelling has high upfront costs, the visual assets can be reused across advertising campaigns. This makes it more cost-effective than repeated photoshoots/video production.

Critical role of 3D Modelling in Visualizing Product Details

One of the biggest advantages of 3D modelling is the ability to showcase fine details that get missed in 2D product photos. This is especially beneficial for products with complex designs and mechanics.

For example, a 3D model can accurately showcase the complex internals of a smartphone down to the placement of individual chips and components. Customers can virtually disassemble the product to view these details.

Similarly, the intricate stitches and fabric details of clothing are best represented through 3D modelling of the clothing. This level of zoom-in detail is impossible to capture in 2D photos.

For premium products, the ability to clearly visualize fine details builds trust in the quality and craftsmanship, reducing perceived risk in the purchase.

Bringing Products to Life: How 3D Modelling Enriches the consumer experience

3D modelling empowers advertisers to transcend static 2D images. They can create life-like 3D environments that realistically respond to user actions. The products come alive in these experiences.

For example, in a 3D car ad, customers can open doors, pop the hood, adjust seats, and customize trims. The car responds realistically as if it were an actual showroom model. This interaction enriches the experience and connections formed with potential buyers.

Similarly, for a 3D model of a luxury watch, advertisers can enable customers to play with the mechanisms – rotate the bezels, tweak the hands, zoom into the intricate watch face, and feel the realistic materials. This creates a sense of ownership even before purchase.

The Power of Immersive 3D Advertising

The interactive nature of 3D modelling lends itself perfectly to immersive marketing campaigns. Brands can craft engaging stories and worlds around their products in 3D.

For example, a sports apparel brand can render the product worn by a 3D avatar performing slick moves in an aspirational virtual setting like a street basketball court. The customer can view the apparel and environment from any angle.

Luxury brands can render their products in aspirational virtual environments – e.g., jewelry rendered in a swanky virtual yacht or private jet interior. This builds desire by associating the brand with exclusive experiences.

Such immersive 3D experiences are more memorable and exciting than passive 2D ads. They can be distributed through AR/VR apps and interactive 3D ads.

Augmented Reality (AR): Taking 3D Advertisements to the Next Level

Augmented reality (AR) takes immersive 3D advertising to the next level by integrating it with the user’s real-world environment. AR overlays digital objects and information onto the user’s surroundings in real-time.

For example, an AR advertisement can overlay a life-size 3D model of a car on the user’s driveway or street visible through their phone camera. The user can walk around and examine the 3D car model from different angles as if it were physically present.

Furniture brands can allow users to visualize 3D models of their products in their actual living spaces. Users can move and arrange the virtual furniture freely and see how they fit.

Such AR experiences create a deeper connection with users by blending the product into environments they are familiar with. This drives greater engagement and conversion.

AR is projected to be integral to the future of mobile advertising with the technology becoming more accessible. 3D modelling provides the ultra-realistic virtual objects that make AR brand experiences possible.

3D Models as Interactive Tools for Enhanced Customer Engagement and Higher Conversion Rates

A key advantage of 3D modelling is the ability to make product experiences interactive. This interactivity holds customer attention longer and leads to higher engagement and conversion:

  • Configurators – Customers can customize products like cars, furniture, electronics by changing materials, colors, features etc. This makes them more invested in the purchase process.
  • 360 Views – 3D models can be rotated 360 degrees for a detailed examination from any angle. Customers feel more informed about the product.
  • Zoom – Highly detailed 3D models allow deep zooming into specific parts. Micro details become visible, reducing uncertainty.
  • Realistic animations – Doors, wheels, switches etc., can be animated to showcase functionality. The product comes alive.
  • Contextual backgrounds – Placing 3D models in appropriate 3D environments make them more relatable. This drives purchase intent.
  • Touch/drag interactions – On touch devices, dragging/touching 3D models creates a tactile connection. This approximates the real in-store experience.

These interactive features make products more exciting, memorable, and real. Customers have fun exploring the models at their own pace, driving engagement metrics.

Preparing for the Future: A Call to Action for Modern Advertisers

3D and AR advertising are proving to be dramatically more effective for customer engagement and conversions compared to traditional 2D methods.

Brands that embrace these futuristic technologies early will have a strong competitive advantage. Creative teams and advertisers need to proactively incorporate 3D and interactive real-time engines to upgrade their marketing. The bar for visual quality and realism will continue to rise each year.

It is prudent for brands to start experimenting with 3D configurations, AR experiences, and interactive content pipelines now to be prepared for the industry shift.

This is where working with specialized 3D visualization companies like IWEnvision can give brands a head start. IWEnvision offers end-to-end 3D modeling services tailored to the needs of our clients. Our expertise in interactive 3D ad production and real-time 3D engines empowers brands to quickly roll out cutting-edge 3D and AR campaigns. By partnering with IWEnvision, brands can get a competitive edge and reap the benefits of next-gen 3D advertising immediately.


What are the benefits of 3D marketing in the digital marketing landscape?

The benefits of 3D marketing in the digital marketing landscape are considerable. 3D marketing enables unprecedented product design clarity and detail, allowing customers to visualize products better than traditional 2D representations. It can immensely increase user engagement and greatly improve user experience. It also allows for precise product rendering which assists in the development of prototypes, making 3D marketing a powerful tool for businesses.

How does 3D design augment the traditional advertising methods?

Incorporating 3D design into traditional advertising methods has the power to revolutionize the way products are presented, elevating the standard product images to dynamic 3D models of your products. This not only allows customers to better understand the product, but also provides an interactive and enhanced user experience which in turn increases engagement and overall customer satisfaction.

What is 3D visualization and how does it contribute to 3D marketing?

3D visualization refers to the process of creating graphical content using 3D software. When used in advertising, 3D visualization can bring concepts to life, giving marketers the ability to showcase their products in an entirely new light. This consequently enhances the product’s appeal, improving overall marketing strategies.

How does augmented reality tie into 3D and AR advertising?

Augmented reality (AR) superimposes digital content onto the real world, enhancing reality and offering a new dimension of interaction. When combined with 3D advertising, AR can offer an immersive user experience, enabling customers to see how a product would look in their own space, thereby significantly improving purchase decision-making and customer satisfaction.