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Advergaming: Next on the Mobile Marketing List?

  |  June 29, 2006   |  Comments

Gaming, advergaming, and the role both play in the mobile marketing value chain.

There's been a lot of hype lately about gaming, advergaming, and the role both play in the mobile marketing value chain. Brands can use mobile games for brand awareness, premium content revenue, product placement, and so on. Games can help integrate fun and entertainment into the mobile consumer's experience, driving overall adoption of mobile and brand participation.

Mobile Gaming

Face it. Mobile games are pricey. Costing anywhere from $2 to $8 per download, consumers are downloading them but perhaps not to the extent the industry originally thought they would. According to M:Metrics (PDF download), consumers cite pricing, choice, and lack of interest as the top reasons for not downloading more games. Only 2.7 percent of U.S., 4.2 percent of U.K., and 2.5 percent of German mobile subscribers downloaded a game in March. Mobile gaming is still a small portion of the overall mobile content sector.

How can games be made more economical for consumers? Perhaps the easiest and most talked about method is to subsidize games through advertising. By watching an ad before the game or allowing brand product placement within a game, consumers can download the game at a discount or for free.

Mobile Advergaming

Advergaming basically promotes a product or service throughout the game. Many brands already leverage advergaming in campaigns. CoverGirl recently offered visitors to its site a mobile game download for "Girls' Night Out Solitaire." Site visitors received $1.00 off the $5.99 mobile game download just for visiting the site. If consumers entered the UPC code for the LashExact product, they received $2.00 off the game download. CoverGirl also tempted visitors to the site with tie-in promotional prizes. The game not only featured brand sponsorship but also included brand or product placement within the game.

Teen Expectations

Research just released from Mobilitec's global research project, The Lab, looks at how teens use mobile content. Mobilitec discovered teenagers expected to be marketed to on their phones, similar to how the Internet, TV, and other media work. In regard to gaming, teens anticipate and expect advertising, special offers, email, and SMS (define) messages advising them of new games, incentives, and ways to rate and share games (viral marketing).

The poll also shows teens are surprised there aren't more games that tie into the brands they recognize (they're actually looking for looking for television and movie references). Teens expect advertising in their gaming experience, particularly if it leads to discounts or incentives.

According to M:Metrics, though, males 18-34 are the largest audience for game downloads. So though teens may be open to the advertising, how will older demographics feel?


Advertising dominates every sphere of our life: the Internet, television, outdoor... Ads are everywhere, and mobile is no exception. Ads are being rolled out or trialed in messaging, mobile Web, video, and downloads. As with every other advertising medium, ads will play a role in the mobile channel. It's simply a question of how and when.

What opportunities do games present to the brand? A source of premium content revenue? Maybe. A chance to connect with consumers and build brand awareness on an ongoing basis? Yes. An opportunity to integrate advertising and product placement into games to further expand the message to the consumer? Definitely!

Advergaming presents an opportunity for brands to reach the consumer. If the demographic target is ideal and fun is a focus, try offering games as part of your mobile marketing mix. Lots of partners available who have the expertise to help out.

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Laura Marriott Laura Marriott is executive director of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), which works to clear obstacles to market development, to establish standards and best practices for sustainable growth, and to evangelize the mobile channel for use by brands and third-party content providers. The MMA has over 250 members worldwide, representing over 16 countries. Laura has over 14 years' experience in the high-tech industry. Prior to joining the MMA, she served as Intrado's director of marketing, where she was responsible for the development and delivery of Intrado's mobility products and service. Laura previously served as director of business development at Cyneta Networks and Cell-Loc Inc.

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