To be honest, I know little to nothing about gaming today. My knowledge and interest peaked around 1997 with the release of N64’s Goldeneye (which I beat with a “little” help from GameShark Pro invincible cheat code). So when I found myself at IAB’s “How To Get In the Game,” last month I wasn’t sure what to expect; but I left with a better idea of gaming today and how brands can best utilize advertising in the gaming world.
We are all gamers
For many people, when they think of gamers, they picture a teenage boy sitting in his parent’s basement playing on a console or PC. While that may have been true in the past, with the explosion of mobile gaming today nearly everyone is considered a gamer. While 62 percent of the population self-identifies as gamers, if you have a game on your phone, whether it’s Pokémon Go or Words with Friends, you’re a gamer. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 48 percent of gamers are female. The average player is 31 years old and has been gaming for 14 years, but everyone from young kids to grandparents are gaming these days.
Since virtually every group is represented in the gaming community, your brands should take advantage of this large and varied audience. It’s now possible to engage consumers across age and gender groups – you just need to do your homework and know who is playing and on what platform.
Find the added value
Ari Brandt, CEO and Co-Founder of MediaBrix, emphasized the importance of adding value to the user experience – especially in the gaming environment. It doesn’t matter how great the creative is, if the audience isn’t receptive, they are immediately going to look for the ‘X’ button on any interstitial ad.
Ari presented a case study with Kingsford Charcoal and Sonic the Hedgehog where MediaBrix identified a moment of need in the game and then gave the brand an opportunity add value. In this case, an interactive ad appeared when a user ran out of lives. If the user completed the Kingsford ad game, he/she was given another life.
The results were amazing: 90 to 100 percent completion rates and an average of 26.6 seconds engaging with the brand.
Take advantage of VR and AR
And what gaming post would be complete without a nod to virtual and augmented reality gaming? With Pokémon Go’s explosion in July, many of us have now experienced augmented reality games. And brands are finding creative ways use this technology. During the presentation, Afdhel Aziz, Director, Special Projects at Absolut labs presented an immersive VR game that Absolut created in partnership with deadmau5. It was a way to expand on its #AbsolutNightlife theme. To offset some of the costs, Absolut also offered limited edition Absolut deadmau5 virtual reality cardboard headset that could be ordered.
According to the press release, “In the game, you take on the role of the electronic music superstar as he attempts to go on an epic night out. Beginning in his garage, your aim is to navigate him through a series of gameplay challenges which combine live-action, motion capture and the latest videogame technology. And, if you can make it past all of the obstacles en route to the club, the game ends with an epic 360° deadmau5 concert complete with an exclusive new track – Saved.”
The key is to find unique ways to bring your brands’ perspective into reality. With VR and AR, consumers can live through and with your brands.
The video game industry is an often misunderstood sector of the modern media landscape. But if they’re game, savvy brands have an opportunity to harness this powerful medium and its passionate community.