Mobile Gaming: A Safe Haven for Marketers
A recent report by eMarketer highlighted how frequently marketers are exposed to issues around brand safety. Compounded by growing hesitancy around digital advertising, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal, brands should remain vigilant when it comes to making the most of digital spend. How can marketers ensure their ad spend is going to brand-safe inventory, in the first place? As it happens, some of the safest inventory is at the tip of your fingers, in the form of mobile gaming apps.
Mobile is an increasingly important channel for marketers to reach consumers — the statistics speak for themselves. According to Statista, mobile devices now account for 40% of all web traffic in the US. A recent comScore report also revealed that mobile users account for over 60% of digital minutes in the US — more than twice the minutes consumed on desktop.
At home, at work or during travel, mobile devices often serve as consumers’ go-to distraction. It goes without saying that gaming apps are popular among US consumers. In fact, Google Play gaming apps recorded 17.84 million users as of February 2018. In the same month, the audience reach of Candy Crush Saga was over 9 million. No wonder consumers are spending more time in-app than anywhere else on their phone.
In terms of brand safety, the gaming space is a highly controlled environment. In the case of gaming apps, there is very little chance that brands will appear next to dangerous or immoral content. As the majority of in-app mobile ads naturally appear in full-screen format to complement game-flow, unexpected or undesirable content won’t interrupt the brand experience, giving advertisers 100% share of voice. That equates to huge potential for advertisers.
How to Make the Most of Mobile Gaming App Inventory
Now you’ve identified the safe advertising inventory with massive reach. But what’s the best way to make those ad dollars work their hardest? There are a few things to bear in mind, when it comes to making the most out of mobile gaming app inventory.
First, give a thought to the mobile gamer’s mind-set, and respect it. Consumers are more likely to be relaxed while playing games on their phones — so don’t annoy them with a poor advertising experience. For example, ads should only appear during natural breaks in the game. It pays well to stick to shorter ads: 30 seconds can feel like an eternity, when the gamer only needs another six points to get to the next level!
Second, think about the right ad format for mobile. Don’t shy away from using the full screen, as this will make for a more powerful ad experience. Use rich media formats and video ads, as these offer the greatest impact. If using horizontal or vertical video, remember to match the format of the game, so that users don’t have to turn their phone to watch the ad properly. You may also need to be prepared to communicate your message without audio — in the context of gaming, consumers may be in public spaces, where audio is turned off.
Third, make your ad formats fully immersive within the game. Think about incorporating reward-based formats in your advertising, offering payoffs — like coins or other items of value in the game. This allows users to actively exchange their time and engagement with your ad to further their own game experience. To truly integrate your ads within the game, consider working with the gaming app’s creators. Bear in mind that the team who runs the app can offer insights about the game and its audience that are second to none.
Brand safety issues are unlikely to disappear any time soon, but mobile gaming stands as a major opportunity for marketers looking for reliable and brand-safe inventory. By respecting the mind-set of the mobile gamer, marketers can leverage this inventory to drive engagement and improve advertising experiences.