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Anzu Speaks: The Impact of COVID-19



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Anzu explain how their business is handling the COVID-19 outbreak and how the gaming industry is adapting 


As the coronavirus continues to spread, business is anything but usual. In these uncertain times, in-game advertising platform, like most companies, is making key adjustments to its operations. But for a company in the video game and digital advertising industries, this unique situation also presents unique opportunities. Here, Anzu’s team talk about the impact that COVID-19 is having on their work and their lives.


Itamar Benedy, Co-Founder and CEO

With people around the world literally locked in their homes, more video games are being played than ever before. According to Verizon, video game usage during peak hours in the US has gone up 75% week-over-week since social distancing rules were enacted. As consumers need to find new ways to connect with others while deciding what to spend their money on in this uncertain economic time, games offer the highest overall value (hours/social connection/quality).  

And with increasingly large segments of the population hanging out inside video games and esports, brands are taking note. This is good news for Anzu, who serves as a connecting force between advertisers and game developers. We’re proud to be able to assist advertisers, many of whom are scrambling to re-think their ad spend allocation, by offering them direct access to their audiences where they are present - inside the games. On the other hand, we feel great about helping game developers create sustainable income streams that don’t harm the user experience, especially given the current decrease in sales of hard copies.


Natalia Vasilyeva, VP Marketing

It’s a challenging time for everyone and marketers need to make the right choices and tweak their strategies accordingly - I am currently adapting the way Anzu interacts with our core audiences.

The good news is that fast-paced changes are nothing new in the advertising world, even though the current situation is more acute than what we are used to. The advertising world is very dynamic - companies are always on alert to new trends, privacy regulations, rising players, technologies, etc. Either you adapt to changes, or you’re out. For this reason, I believe that the industry will weather the changes brought on by COVID-19.

In fact, COVID-19 may be the catalyst that makes big changes happen. Marketers face many difficult decisions in today’s advertising environment. Until now, they have been hesitant to enter gaming. But if there was ever a time to make that move, the time is now. The coronavirus outbreak has impacted the whole world and the way consumers interact with products and brands. Gaming, one of the hobbies people can still afford, from a financial and time perspective, has seen a huge boost. I think that the current scenario will serve as a kind of push for all the hesitant advertisers and brands to be where their consumers are: inside the gaming worlds.


Alex Yerukhimovich, VP Sales

When taking stock of the current situation, with all of its uncertainty and confusion, we at Anzu recognise how truly lucky we are to be in the gaming industry. I’m proud to say that business is good, and doing business is easier than before. Everyone is more available while working from home, and thus much more responsive. I can't recall ever having before as many calls and correspondences as I had in the past couple of weeks! This, thankfully, is contributing to the rapid growth - many advertisers are coming to the same conclusion: now is the perfect time to start advertising in games.

Though the majority of the gaming industry is seeing a major boost, one thing that's naturally on the decline is the sales of hard copies of games - digital copies are being downloaded instead. It seems probable that COVID-19 will change consumer behaviour forever. Those individuals who always preferred hard copies will likely get used to the process and convenience of shopping for digital copies, and won't look back.


Hendrik Menz, Brand & Agency Sales Director

With the sporting calendar on hold, mobile, casual, and cloud gaming are on the rise. I’m seeing this first-hand in my conversations with current and potential partners. Everyone is looking to get a piece of the gaming pie.

On a personal level, with schools and daycare closed, the organisation of the day needs to be adapted to the needs of the family. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially given the complete understanding from business partners who are themselves dealing with the same challenges. There is a good chance this crisis will change work culture forever. The hectic routine has come to a stop. Here lies a unique opportunity to review our general approach to work-life-balance and refocus on the essentials necessary to lead a productive and happy life.

By is an in-game advertising platform that brings the sophistication of advertising into video gaming and esports by seamlessly integrating non-intrusive ads into the gameplay. With Anzu’s state-of-the-art programmatic technology and real-time data, brand advertisers can deploy real-world ads in IAB-recognized formats through exclusive inventory of top video games that promise brand safety and ad viewability. With Anzu, gaming studios have limitless advertising opportunities without interrupting the gameplay that gives them full control over content, ad formats, and analytics. Backed by BITKRAFT Esports Ventures, WPP, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures, Anzu strives to transform gaming and esports into a premium revenue engine, promising a native advertising and monetization programmatic solution the video gaming industry has long waited for. 

Posted on: Thursday 9 April 2020