Livewire’s Brad Manuel and Indy Khabra explain how the wide audience spectrum provides a platform for smart creatives to build a bridge to APAC gaming audience.

Globally, 83.2% of internet users aged 16–64 play video games on any device and 31.9% of primary internet use is for gaming. Read that back and let it sink in. Now consider the gaming audience is approximately three billion users globally and 1.6 billion users in APAC (Global Digital Trends, We Are Social, 2022). 

The APAC region is diverse in the way its users and marketers engage gaming, from game genres to new ad formats. The advertising and marketing industry is looking at gaming marketing as the gateway to an audience that doesn’t connect with traditional media like generations past. 

Gametech is catching up and maturing with measurement tools building trust and enabling reinvestment from initial test budgets to larger considered longer-term marketing budgets using the entire gaming ecosystem. Attribution and brand lift studies can report against user journey, ad recall and intent to purchase delivering the reporting metrics that have become table stakes.

Early this year, IAB Intrinsic In-Game Measurement Task Force, led by a joint effort between IAB, the IAB Tech Lab and the Media Rating Council (MRC), released measurement guidelines for intrinsic in-gaming advertising to establish an updated framework that helps the ecosystem standardise for future growth.

As media investment allocation across channels both traditional and digital continue to adjust to meet changing user behaviour, gaming is now at the forefront of that change being included in marketing mix modelling. As customer lifetime value, brand affinity and loyalty remain priorities for marketing strategies post-pandemic, gaming is getting significant attention to help solve those challenges.

New and innovative ad formats

In-game ad formats are sitting on the cutting edge of engagement. An area innovating at a rapid pace is immersive marketing, or what we call the web2/web3 virtual worlds (i.e., Roblox, Sandbox) enabling another degree of connection that brings real world elements to a user’s experience.

If we take console gaming as an example, which is inclusive of standalone game systems and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) headsets, as well as game systems connected to television displays, the new innovative formats include digital video in-game ads (DVIGA) and advergames (custom-built video games with a sole purpose of promoting a brand or product).

Our exclusive partnership with Anzu helps advertisers in APAC reach audiences through blended in-game ads within Roblox’s most popular experiences. Roblox is a global metaverse where millions of players gather to create, share and play together in immersive worlds. As of January 2022, the platform has over 40 million games covering every genre imaginable.

Currently, advertisers working with Livewire across Roblox can now reach over 12 million daily active users in APAC. Its turnkey solution allows advertisers to run display ads and gifs, at speed and scale across multiple Roblox games in minutes, many of which are exclusive.

Several years ago, media in video games lacked the complexity of technology to target, measure and report on impressions, viewability and click-throughs. The significant improvement in technology and range of formats now provides leading targeting, without third-party cookies.

The new ad formats include an expansion from previous in-game static billboards and rewarded video formats now boast in-game audio with companion click-through banners, in-game video billboards and interactive end cards within game, providing multi-funnel usage opportunities.

The misunderstood “hyper casual gamer”

Part of growing up gaming includes the requirement to educate media investment teams, planners and traders about “hyper casual games” and why marketing’s misunderstanding of these games overlooks a huge audience.

According to WARC “hyper casual games are seeing the fastest growth” and have some of the largest impressions and audiences that are targetable and measurable, allowing engagement with the casual gaming audience.

To their brands’ detriment, many media buyers treat “hyper casual” as a dirty word, yet the behaviour of these audiences is what buyers and brands misunderstand, and therefore miss an evergreen audience and significant white space. We can think of these audiences in two different ways.

Hyper casual mobile: Loyal

Games like Activision Blizzard’s Candy Crush have existed for more than 10 years, with players loyally returning day after day, year after year, continuing to place the game in the top five to 10 titles in gaming markets, regardless of language or geography.

This player may be described as hyper casual. Although there is no denying the power of a game that returns users to multiple play sessions each game day after day, this loyalty is something many TV shows and podcasts dream of replicating over the duration.

Hyper casual mobile: Roaming

If being loyal to one game for a significant time frame each day/week for years on end is one end of the spectrum, the alternative is players who roam between hyper casual games after completing them.

The fragmentation of the mobile gaming audience in this way is why Livewire’s marketing strategy – utilising a range of in-game assets across static, audio and rewarded audio/video to focus on audience rather than game for varied funnel strategies – can be more targetable, measurable and engaging to attention than traditional media forms.

The “what” and “why” of gaming marketing is a fast-trending topic that marketers in APAC index to as either first-timers or those that are endemic but want to do more.

Regardless of where a brand sits in the gaming maturity index, the audience spectrum, from kids safe gaming to hyper casual to competitive e-sports, provides a platform for smart creatives to build a bridge to the gaming audience in APAC.