If you’re looking to reach all new heights for your marketing strategy, you may want to look towards what has become one of the largest tools right now: video games. No longer are video games something that only a few people enjoy, trapped at home on their consoles or computers.
The world of video games has expanded beyond comparison. You can even play video games right on your smartphone during your morning commute.
Video games have become so powerful that the direct impact that they have on marketing and consumers is unparalleled. Let’s take a look at video games and the strategies that companies can employ to utilize this untapped market.
Why Invest in Video Game Advertising?
According to research, over 150 million Americans alone play video games of some kind. Worldwide, there are an estimated3.24 billion gamers who play video games either regularly or at least some of the time.
Whether they be casual gamers who only use their smartphones, or committed gamers who buy entire setups for their Xbox and PlayStation, there are millions upon millions of people in every part of the world that enjoy playing a game in their free time.
Not to mention, there are people who love video games who never pick up a console on their own. Twitch, a streaming service that has become known for content creators streaming themselves playing video games, has 140 million active users every single month.
Streaming video games account for the bulk of Twitch’s content. League of Legends alone ranks in at a combined 42 billion hours watched.
On YouTube, there is a brand of content creators known as “Lets Players”. They record themselves playing video games and upload them for their subscribers to watch. One of the most well-known Lets Players on YouTube has over 110 million subscribers. And smaller Lets Players still amass followers in the multi-millions.
That’s a lot of eyes on the games. And using in-game advertising to advertise means that you’re going to get a lot of eyes on your brand, whether it be from people playing the game themselves or from people who are watching others stream it. This allows for huge potential in terms of making your brand far more visible.
Need to Know: All About Gaming Advertising
If you’re ready to step into the world of in-game advertising, then you need to know a few of the basics first. When it comes to in-game advertising it’s important to know the audience that you’re trying to reach. There are several gamer profiles that benefit from different advertising styles.
While most of the world has gotten used to advertisements everywhere they go, there are still subsections of users that are actively hostile towards advertising. You want to make sure you know how to advertise within the game in a way that won’t actively put off your potential consumers.
Know Your Gamer Profiles
There are generally four recognized types of gamers. Each of these profiles engages with video games in a different way, which means that not every ad campaign will universally work for each gamer.
Casual gamers are the ones that make up the bulk of the gamer population. These gamers likely own one or two consoles and a handful of favorite games. They’re not likely to be buying and playing every new game that comes out but will enjoy their favorites. These players play 1 to 2 times a week for a few hours at a time.
Committed or Hardcore Gamer
Committed or Hardcore gamers tend to be in their mid-twenties or early-thirties and play video games are least 3-4 times a week for several hours at a time. They’re very invested in gaming as a hobby and tend to play on computers and consoles. They’re also more likely to own multiple consoles and spend a higher than usual budget on new games.
Mobile gamers are people who play games exclusively on their smartphones. These gamers can range from a few hours once or twice a week to hardcore daily play. It depends on the type of game and whether this person would be considered “casual” or “committed” if they owned a console of some type. Mobile gamers have a wide age range from young teens to women in their 40s and 50s.
The last type of player is the person who is deeply invested in video games but doesn’t actually play themselves. These observers spend multiple hours a week watching other people play video games, either on Twitch or YouTube. They consume the game through other people but are just as invested in the storyline and gameplay.
The Three Types of In-Game Advertising
Now, let’s take a look at the three types of in-game advertising. Gaming advertising is a fairly new phenomenon with the explosion of new games that have diverse virtual worlds for players to explore, which give advertisers new space to dig into this world of digital advertising.
Static In-Game Advertising
When most people think of in-game advertising, they think of static advertising. Static ads have always had a steady stream of popularity in the gaming industry. This is when ads are placed inside the game as a form of product placement. These ads are planned out during the development stage of the video game so that they are integrated seamlessly into the environment of the game.
Usually, these static ads allow players to interact with them in some way, or are integrated as part of the storyline. Static ads are perfect for ad campaigns that are looking to reach a global audience. They typically stay within the game for however long the video game continues to be manufactured and played.
Dynamic In-Game Advertising
This style of gaming advertising is much newer and is exploding in popularity now that games can be downloaded onto computers and consoles and connected to the internet for updates. Dynamic game advertising is when brands purchase real-time advertisements within the 3D environment of a game.
These ads usually show up in places that people would expect to see advertising in the first place: billboards in cities, on buses, at stops, on flyers on the walls of buildings, etc. These gaming ads allow brands to run promotions that may be time-sensitive, which is something they can’t do with the static model. Dynamic ads are the cutting edge of gaming advertising.
“Advergames” is a mash-up of “advertising” and “game”, and it’s just what it sounds like. Advergames are games that are entirely based on advertising a specific brand or product. These games can range from small mini-games within larger games, to entirely fleshed-out 3D games. They can even be made into their own mobile game.
Advergames are a great way for brands to build a connection with their audience. The gameplay and storyline are largely used to promote the product at hand, but if done well, gamers will almost forget that they’re playing an advergame.
However, if advergames are an avenue that your brand wants to pursue, you’ve got to take it seriously! Your audience won’t thank you for a poorly designed game just to push a product. People tolerate being advertised to because it’s part of day-to-day life, but they have no reason to pick up your advergame and play it.
Make sure you give your audience a reason to play your advergame. Don’t skimp on the gameplay or storyline just to make a quick buck! If you connect with your audience in a real and authentic way, they’ll always come back for more.
Other Types of Gaming Advertising
In the game, ads are the most popular type of gaming advertising, but there are some others that make the cut and are worth mentioning.
Ad banners are a great way to get advertising across without being too intrusive to the players’ gameplay. Ad banners are usually found on mobile games, and take up a small portion of the top or bottom half of the screen. Some studies show that these ads have a 30% higher click rate than ad banners found on the web.
Through-the-line, otherwise known as “link chasing”, is a type of advertising that requires the player to follow some sort of link in order to explore further. Usually following these links sprinkled throughout the game deepen the lore, but doesn’t hinder the player from continuing the game. These fun link chasing experiences will lead a player to more game lore as well as a behind-the-link advertisement.
How to Successfully Implement In-Game Advertising
Now you know your gamer profiles and the types of advertising that you can choose when it comes to running a campaign within the world of video games. Your ad campaign has to take into consideration the type of player you’re looking to target, as well as the type of video game you want to advertise within.
First, you want to select your platform.
Console? PC? Mobile? With so many different styles of gaming, how do you decide? Advertising within one platform might not translate to another.
You’re likely not going to be able to run the same ad campaign on multiple platforms without tweaking it just a bit. It’s better to focus on one platform at a time and get a feel for how in-game advertising works for your brand.
Next, you need to target your audience.
If you’re going to run an ad campaign in a first-person shooter game, you’re probably not going to want to target people about skincare products or makeup brands.
While you might reach a few people who want to check out your product, your ad is probably going to flop. Know the audience within the game that you’re advertising and target them appropriately.
Then, you want to choose the format of your ad.
You’ve got your platform and your audience, now you need to select how you’re going to implement this ad into the game. Are you looking for long-term advertising that comes with static in-game ads, or are you seeking something more dynamic?
Whatever you choose, make sure it isn’t so intrusive that your audience associates your brand with negative connotations.
Finally, make it meaningful.
Players aren’t going to thank you for having an intrusive ad that breaks them out of their gameplay. You want to make sure that when you spend the money to take out ad space in an in-game world that you’re respecting your future audience.
If you’re looking for help making the perfect ad, Billo is always a go-to ad creation tool. Billo is full of professional video creators that can make your ad cohesive and meaningful.
Video games are the gateway to the future of advertising. So many people play video games throughout the world on a weekly basis, with some people playing for multiple hours, multiple times a day. Even people who don’t actively play video games themselves often find ways to consume the content within them, either through YouTube Lets Players or through Twitch streamers.
Video game advertising is mostly an untapped resource for companies that are looking to expand the reach of their audience. A good marketing campaign placed within the world of video games is likely to expand your audience and reach by a good few million at the very least.
Video game marketing has come up with three main ways to implement brand advertisement within the game. In-game advertising is generally considered unobtrusive because of how seamlessly the advertising fits within the environment, gameplay, or storyline.
Whether your brand is looking at static or dynamic in-game advertising, you’re bound to find a place for your ad that works for both you and the player. Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, an advergame might just be the way to go in order to connect with your audience.