Report: In-Game Ads Already Plentiful, Accepted

  |  July 23, 2007   |  Comments

A comprehensive study on in-game advertising finds 81 percent of gamers are exposed to at least one ad every other minute.

Ads are already a ubiquitous and accepted part of the gaming experience, according to research commissioned by Double Fusion and undertaken by Interpret.

Across a variety of game types, 81 percent of gamers are exposed to at least one ad every other minute, and 75 percent see ads at an even greater frequency -- at least an one a minute. While the industry standard counts a cumulative 10-second exposure as an impression, the study finds exposure of half-a-second is "sufficient for a gamer to notice an in-game ad."

Among the report's other findings are that gamers notice ads and accept their presence as a natural part of the gaming experience, and that gamers are receptive to advertising from brands they use or aspire to use, even if the brand hails from beyond the game's context.

"Ads from relevant brands to the demographic do convey a sense of trust and compel the desire for further information and purchasing intent," said Jonathan Epstein, president and CEO at Double Fusion.

Executions are more successful where there is less ad clutter. An eye-tracking component to the study, conducted by EyeTracking Inc., identified the most noticeable areas of the screen. Traditionally ads are placed in the corner of the screen, yet locations closest to the viewing area, typically the middle, or horizon, of the screen, garner the most awareness. Double Fusion calls eye level on a screen the primary camera plane.

"Larger ads do better than smaller ads, but it's more important to be on that plane," said Epstein.

The goal of Double Fusion's study was to test the engagement of different types of ad placement across multiple genres of games, and develop metrics to assist advertisers and game publishers in optimizing in-game placements.

A two-phased research approach was deployed. Qualitative research, in the form of discussion groups, was used to inform the quantitative component. A second stage involved eye-tracking studies and interviews to evaluate engagement. The study was conducted in the Los Angeles, New York, and London markets and looked at 36 unique ads executed across several titles and game categories, including first-person shooters, sports, racing and action genres. All titles contained advertising though not all titles were part of Double Fusion's network.

The in-game ad market is poised to reach $2 billion in spending by 2012, according to a recent Parks Associates forecast. With measurable results, Epstein hopes media buyers will see gaming as an integrated channel. "We don't want to be part of your game buy; we want to be part of your media buy," he said.

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Enid Burns

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