Game and Advertising : In-Game Advertising

Advertising in business is a form of marketing communication used to encourage, persuade, or manipulate an audience (viewers, readers or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to take or continue to take some action. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common. Advertisers often seek to generate increased consumption of their products or services through “branding”, which involves associating a product name or image with certain qualities in the minds of consumers. Advertising is at the front of delivering the proper message to customers and prospective customers. The purpose of advertising is to convince customers that a company’s services or products are the best, enhance the image of the company, point out and create a need for products or services, demonstrate new uses for established products, announce new products and programs, reinforce the salespeople’s individual messages, draw customers to the business, and to hold existing customers. With the Internet came many new advertising opportunities. Popup, flash, banner, popunder, email advertisements (all of which are often unwanted or spam in the case of email) and advergaming are now commonplace.

A game is structured playing, usually undertaken for enjoyment, sometimes used as an educational and entertaining tool, and now game used as new rising media for advertising . Key components of games are goals, rules, challenge, and interaction. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 42% of gamers say they play online games one or more hours per week.

Advertising in video games normally falls into one of three categories which are derived from a historical categorization technique normally applied to traditional media:

  1. Advergame,
  2. In-Game Advertising,
  3. Though The Line Advertising.

Various methods have been used to integrate advertising into video games to advertise products, organizations or viewpoints. With the growth of the internet, advergames have proliferated, often becoming the most visited aspect of brand websites and becoming an integrated part of brand media planning in an increasingly fractured media environment. Advergames theoretically promote repeated traffic to websites and reinforce brands. Users choosing to register to be eligible for prizes can help marketers collect customer data. Gamers may also invite their friends to participate, which could assist promotion by word of mouth, or “viral marketing”. Games for advertising are sometimes classified as a type of serious game, as these games have a strong educational or training purpose other than pure entertainment.

The advertising industry has generally embraced IGA (In-Game Advertising) and advergaming as effective ways to reach 16 to 34-year-old males. IGA (In-Game Advertising) is seen as an important means of gaining access to a generation of young males who use gaming as their relaxation activity instead of watching television. And so Advertiser risk can be partially mitigated through benchmark-based advertisement payments on game units sold or a refund agreement if a certain number of game sales are not reached. But it is also difficult to plan in-game advertisements because game development generally takes longer than the development and implementation of an advertising campaign; typically, most static advertisements must be disclosed to the developers at least eighteen months before a game is released. Lee and Faber found that the primary factors for player-retention of IGA are location of brand messages in the game, game involvement, and prior game-playing experience.

Gamer reaction to IGA has also been mixed. A 2009 study by an advertising company found that 80% of consumers correctly recalled an advertiser and 56% had a more favorable impression of the advertiser because it allowed them to play a free game. However, companies have found that gamers do not want distracting advertisements when they have already paid the retail price and/or a monthly subscription fee.

It was generally recognized that the media context in which the advertisement is embedded may influence advertising effectiveness. During the past few decades, much research has been done on the effects of relevance between advertisements and their surrounding media context on viewers’ memory and attitude toward the advertisement. In previous studies, the concept of “relevance” or “congruity” has been conceptualized in a variety of ways to examine the relationships between the advertisement and program-induced mood. Regarding the effect of animation on user attitude, most previous studies have reported that animated ads generate more favorable ad than static ads. The superiority of animated ads on attitude may be explained by the vividness effects. Based on Jen-Hung Huang and Tzong-Ke Yang study into the congruity effects on memory, they expected an incongruent in-game billboard to be remembered better than a congruent billboard.

However, much work is still needed to maximize the effectiveness of in-game advertising. It is important for advertisers to know what mechanisms would be more effective for in-game advertising. More specifically, it would be important to know
which factors might contribute to improve game player’s memory for the embedded messages. Are some placements more persuasive than others? A better understanding of these issues is critical to the effective use of in-game advertising.

References :

  2. Game
  3. In-Game Advertising
  4. Advertising