Sponsorship has generally been the approach brands have taken with regards to gaming but they stand to gain more from targeted, in-game ads, according to the owner of franchises as varied as Call of Duty and Candy Crush.

Activision Blizzard claims that one in three consumers plays online games and that it has 272 million players engaging with all its mobile games. And with its advertising arm – Activision Blizzard Media – brands can access inventory on those.

Speaking to WARC, Greg Carroll, Activision Blizzard’s Commercial Director EMEA, explained that misperceptions are the biggest hurdles to getting brands and agencies to invest in in-game advertising.

“It’s the stereotypes of what people assume gamers are – that misperception of kids in basements,” he said. (For more read the full article: Understanding Activision Blizzard’s approach to in-game mobile advertising.)

But consider a game like Candy Crush, he argued. “That audience – 55%-plus female with an average age of 34, is a hugely powerful audience. They control a lot of the household budget.”

From another perspective, “the franchise Call of Duty has done roughly double the revenue of Star Wars, [and] it’s bigger than all the Marvel films put together”.

Those sorts of figures add weight to his contention that gaming is a “runaway locomotive”.

“Either get on it or get out the way,” is his advice.

Activision Blizzard offers an opt-in experience with rewarded video – “you can play all 5,000 levels of Candy Crush and never see an ad, it’s completely up to [the user’s chosen] experience,” says Carroll.

“Because people are invested in the game, they understand what they’re getting,” he added. “They know that their time is going to be rewarded, and that’s a big difference with the ad world in general.

“There’s a triangulation,” he explained: “keeping the consumer happy, keeping the player happy, and it’s going to do great things for brands, because [users are] going to pay that much more attention.”

An example comes from a new product launch for Nestlé’s KitKat which delivered a 40% uplift in brand recall compared to an average of 7%-8%.

Sourced from WARC