Gametech is levelling up
In-game advertising has been around since 1978, but until recently high technological barriers prevented advertisers and game developers from unlocking its potential. The core challenge was making this space scalable, flexible, and measurable, in a way that connects with fan bases and doesn’t compromise studios’ IP. With the gaming sector predicted to draw 2.6 billion consumers globally – from a diverse range of demographics – and forecasted to generate over $164 billion in 2020, brands can no longer afford to ignore this channel in their digital ad campaigns. Gametech is making this revenue more accessible, through innovations in how advertisers can optimise the user experience, build accountability into their campaigns, and leverage cross-promotional strategies.
Tapping into influencer tactics
Influencer marketing has taken the digital advertising industry by storm; 17% of companies reportedly spend over half their marketing budget on this strategy. Through partnering with influencers or even micro-influencers for niche markets, brands build more authentic and trusted connections with their target audiences. The outcome of influencer marketing speaks for itself, as 89% of advertisers claim its return on investment (ROI) compares to or exceeds other strategies.
The same benefits are applicable to gaming audiences, with channels such as YouTube offering advertisers a valuable digital touchpoint. Although live-streaming service, Twitch, is still emerging as an influencer marketing space that targets gamers, major brands are beginning to demo certain tactics, for instance sponsoring streamers. Approaching new opportunities with a similar mindset to YouTube and other high-engagement channels, brands can promote awareness, trust, and direct response from target consumers.
Metrics are the health bar of in-game advertising
Of course, effective experimental marketing wouldn’t be possible without measurable results. Too often brands apply the same metrics to in-game advertising as they do to digital advertising, but the possible outcomes for in-game strategies are broadening. More unique, channel-specific metrics will help advertisers quantify the impact of their media budgets with greater accuracy, which in turn will produce greater uplifts to ROI.
For example, brand recall and visual engagement are key outcomes that can define premium placements for in-game ads. Programmatic buying for this medium is still relatively new, which means players in this corner of the ecosystem need to clearly outline frameworks for measurement, creative guidelines, and pricing structures to build impactful advertising campaigns in all genres of gaming. But now the technology is out there for the industry to consolidate these processes.
Immersive brand experiences
A growing number of brands are including Augmented Reality (AR) in their ad campaigns, prompting the forecast that the global AR market will value $70 billion by 2023. Previously AR experiences were restricted to apps, but with technologies such as WebAR, this new tool can be used by browsers on all major operating systems.
The success of app-based AR in the gaming sector is already apparent through the likes of ‘Pokémon Go!’, but advertisers can master the new, browser-based version of this technology to provide immersive brand experiences elsewhere online. By creating an engaging environment for target consumers, brands can generate stronger connections that don’t break the high levels of trust which gamers currently have in the medium.
There is a bright future for in-game advertising, as developments in technology will continue to shape the possibilities and outcomes of this channel. Brands shouldn’t view this sector as niche, instead adopting sophisticated and tailored strategies that allow them to maximise its potential. Gametech is changing in-game advertising from a complexity into an opportunity, which brands can now embrace and integrate as part of their strategies.
By Liz Cassidy, Account Executive