Unlocking the Creative Potential of Virtual Gaming Worlds
Anzu.io - Natalia Vasilyeva, VP Marketing & Margaret Kerr-Jarrett, Content Manager
How can advertisers harness the personalisation, high engagement and creative possibilities of in-game ads to resonate with this growing and diverse audience? Anzu.io explains
Open your eyes. Around you, a vast landscape stretches into the distance. Below you, the concrete is steady under your feet. You straighten yourself up, look into the distance, step inside your vehicle, and take off, weaving between buildings, past billboards, and straight into a scene more magical and more real than anything you ever could have imagined.
Are you in a dream?
No, but you’re not far off. The video games of 2020 are more realistic than ever before and, inside the virtual worlds, anything is possible. This is clearly a big moment for gamers, who have grown to expect the best, and for game developers, who have been working tirelessly to create game-changing experiences since the early days of Tetris and Mario Cart.
And what about brands?
How can brands leverage the power of video games to connect to their audiences who, more and more, are found in games? It's a fact: gaming is now as much a part of pop culture as social media and celebrities. 2.7 billion people play games on a regular basis, half of which are women and 70% of which are over 18 years old, with the average age being 34 years old according to our research.
These gamers are diverse, engaged citizens: 56% have creative hobbies such as drawing or singing, 32% play a musical instrument, and 59% are civically involved. Brands can’t afford to sit by the sidelines and simply ignore these numbers. They need a way to speak the language of the game, bringing their powerful messaging to their gaming audiences in seamless, natural ways.
But what would that look like?
You’re back in the game. When you hit the gas pedal and zoom away, you naturally gaze at the buildings nearby. But this time, just like in a real-world scene, you focus on and absorb real-world brand ads on the walls and billboards. As you fly by others driving on the road, you scan the posters and logos on their vehicles. You see brands you know and recognize, or maybe new brands whose ads are specifically tailored to you through personalisation and hyper-targeting. Until now, you may never have seen a truly personal, targeted ad, one that is completely relevant to who you are, and where you are.
Now, only with your full privacy consent, video games can bring you ads that reflect your real-life location and interests. Because the ads are as much a part of the environment as any in-game object, you view them positively, associating the brands with the high-level experience of the game. Your experience has been enhanced. Your relationship with the brands has been enhanced. You’re still playing for your game, and you’re happy.
What was different the second time around?
For one, you, the gamer, were pleasantly surprised by the new and familiar brand ads naturally blended into the gaming environment. Even better, the ads had no negative effect on your user experience, but rather enhanced it with realism, familiarity, and relevance.
Now let’s go deeper, behind the scenes, and see what’s happening.
Today, as the ad tech, video game, and advertising industries meet and collaborate more than ever before, brands are utilising this cross-pollination to connect with their audiences inside video games in deep and meaningful ways. And the diversity and sheer vastness of the gaming industry provides opportunities for advertisers of all shapes and sizes to connect with their target audiences.
Today, all populations play games, it's just a matter of what type. Though both genders play all kinds of games, research shows that overall, men favour the strategy, sports, action-adventure, and shooter games, while women enjoy a broader genre of games, including puzzle, simulation, and arcade. In addition to carefully choosing what type of game to advertise in, brands can use the ad tech providers they know and trust to enhance audience verification, measure advertising effectiveness, and verify ad viewability.
And the icing on the cake - the introduction of programmatic technology makes it simple for brands to bolster their multi-touchpoint campaigns with an in-game advertising strategy. The best of the digital advertising world has now fused with gaming, giving advertisers the comfort and confidence to experiment with this burgeoning, global channel.
Got it? Now let’s get back in the game.
The confluence of gaming and natural, immersive ads represents a new era of digital advertising. But as you, the gamer, continue to play, you may not even realise how revolutionary your gaming experience is. And that’s a good thing. That means that your experience is seamless, the ads are viewable and welcomed, and everyone has won.
As a frequent gamer, defined as someone who plays for 10 or more hours per week, you spend six times more money on entertainment and media than your non-gaming counterparts. You are entering new life stages. Maybe soon you will become a parent or homeowner. You have a high income and high aspirations. Clearly, you are someone who brands want to connect with. And now, with the rise of in-game campaigns and the introduction of sophisticated measurement and metrics, you are.
Guide to Digital Innovation 2020
Introducing our Guide to Digital Innovation 2020. From shoppable video to gaming experiences, the new guide gives first-hand insight from 36 IAB UK members on the most innovative digital ad solutions and how brands can effectively harness them.