Once upon a time, most mobile games carried ads. That was before in-app purchases were introduced.
Now the landscape is a mixed economy, but one of the leading publishers, Activision Blizzard, has only just got in on the in-game advertising game.
That is why its Activision Blizzard Media recently launched a new initiative aimed at making it easy for advertisers to buy in-game ads.
“Most advertisers are surprised to find that we actually haven’t had ad opportunities in our games up until very recently,” says Jonathan Stringfield, VP, Global Business Marketing, Measurement, and Insights at Activision Blizzard Media, in this video interview with Beet.TV. “It’s largely been funded through in-app purchases.
“While that’s made a good business model, we knew that there was a lot of potential for advertisers to integrate with the core audience.”
The push is being driven out of King, the mobile game company Activision acquired in in 2016.
Previously, analysts pegged King’s possible advertising revenue at $500 million per year, when it had higher engagement, Motley Fool reports. Now Activision will need a bigger, all-over drive.
Stringfield describes the ad model being offered.
“Gaming is new for a lot of advertisers, (so) we’ve really tried to make it as simple as possible,” Stringfield adds. “Essentially it is a rewarded unit that, for at certain points in the game, whether it’s pre level or perhaps they’ve had a tough time and they need a little boost after the level… someone can opt to see an advertisement for a booster that will help them in their gameplay.
“Then the ad will play as if like any other video unit that they might be playing on Facebook or another mobile environment. So essentially, we’re not requiring advertisers to make any kind of specialised mobile units or anything that’s very unique to the game. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to be, one, integrated with our franchise, but two, kind of dip their toes into the world of gaming.”
Whilst it may be straightforward for a media agency to shovel its existing video ads from other media in to games, there may be a big question mark over how well such arrival will be received by players.
But Stringfield insists the ads “can even improve the concept of the game”
“What we’ve found is that, if we can coax marketers to be respectful of the context and respectful of the players of the games, that when they are integrated in a way that is rewarding the players and enhancing their gameplay experience, it tends to pay outsized results in terms of brand recognition, in terms of sales lift, in terms of a number of KPIs that we look at and that are associated with the bottom line impact for brands,” he says.
This video is part of a series of interviews conducted during Advertising Week New York, 2019. This series is co-production of Beet.TV and Advertising Week. The series is sponsored by Roundel, a Target company. Please see more videos from Advertising Week right here.