Members of IAB Game Advertising Committee took the stage today at the New York Media Festival to discuss some key hurdles that keep many brands out of game advertising and ways that the game industry needs to reframe the conversation to better highlight the benefits of game advertising to marketers.
The Premium Nature of Games – Agencies don’t fully understand the premium nature of game advertising. The problem is that definition of premium means different things as we look at mobile web vs. in-app and most of the 3rd party verification or tracking companies are focused on mobile web and desktop and the in-app ecosystem isn’t a focus. We need to help agencies understand that game advertising is premium advertising.
Reframing the Conversation: The education should be on engagement, attention, time spent, metrics and results…and by doing so, mobile in-app advertising wins. The sell and focus should be on these measurable KPIs vs. calling out gaming out of the gate.
Creative Delivery – Agencies may feel there are too many technical challenges around creative delivery due to fragmented mobile market and differences with desktop. This can inhibit inclusion of game advertising as part of a brand’s media mix.
Reframing the Conversation: It’s never been easier to advertise with games. Current standards based creative support via VPAID and newer flavors of MRAID and HTML5 usage greatly diminish technical challenges to creative delivery. An example of this is that different ad networks provide various solutions including custom units. Utilizing IAB standards for VAST, VPAID and MRAID can ensure successful delivery.
KPIs – Many traditional media brands fail to recognize the powerful, positive emotional responses mobile games can elicit from people and, thus, have not yet leveraged available game-centered ad products that allow them to tap into that emotion. There is an education gap that we need to bridge.
Reframing the Conversation: The sell side needs to encourage marketers to go beyond the CPM and site lists and instead focus on engagement and emotion – reaching your audience at scale through impactful creative at impactful times. There are many game-based ad formats available, including Rewarded Video solutions and our Playable Ads, which allow brands to tap into the emotional aspects of mobile gaming to garner positive association and promote brand messages.
Viewability/Bots – As with any digital advertising, marketers want their content to be seen by humans, not bots – and they want to make sure their ads are viewable. In many cases, they want to transact on 100% viewability. Agencies are not aware of the inherent high viewability and guaranteed bot-free audiences afforded by in-game advertising.
Reframing the Conversation: The industry can work to reinforce the fact that in-game, in-app rewarded video inventory is inherently viewable and opt-in. An example of this is how we integrate with Moat to be able to report on and bill on viewable video in mobile games. This means we can guarantee 100% viewability and 100% bot-free audiences for advertisers.
Engaging Content/Brand as Hero – Agencies do not always think of games in terms of content that can illicit the same engagement and emotion that brands seek out through formats like television. There are many ways for brands to interact with games from offer walls and full screen videos, to in-game advertising and custom branded games and they each can achieve different brand objectives depending on the strategy. Agencies need to understand that some game ad formats are commoditized placements focused on direct response while others are designed to reach the upper funnel goals of brand advertisers.
Reframing the Conversation: The industry needs to do a better job helping agencies to understand that high impact brand experiences are available through games that are focused on designing ad placements along with the overall game design where the brand becomes the hero for the user. As an example, when brands are looking to make a meaningful connection to their audience via brand awareness campaigns, we pitch games as a way to deliver their brand message at an emotional moment since game developers have the unique aspect of managing a game loop. Where by design they can move a user through an environment and be able to predict the state of that user. If the brand message can align with that emotional moment, the player will have a memorable positive experience with the brand. The industry needs to show more examples of this type of advertising, with proven results, to attract more brand advertisers.
Despite the fact that the data is rock solid to prove the diverse audience, consumer engagement and effectiveness of game advertising, many agencies and marketers run from advertising on games for all the wrong reasons. To dispel the myths and address potential confusion surrounding game advertising, it’s time for the game industry to reframe the conversation to help the buy side become more understanding, receptive and excited about advertising with games – the most engaging content out there.
The IAB Game Advertising Ecosystem Guide and the IAB research study “Mobile Gamers: Who They Are, How They Shop and How to Reach Them” provide additional information about gamer and game advertising landscape.