Ad-Supported Casual Games See Clicks

Some 90 percent of people polled on RealNetworks’ RealGames casual gaming site said they’re willing to watch in-game, streaming video ads when it means free game play.

The increase in ad revenues seen by RealGames and other sites is not only due to casual gamers trying to get entertainment for free, but also an apparent openness to ads. While 90 percent say they will watch :15 or :30 video ads before a game or in between levels when it means free game play, 34 percent say they will often click on the in-game ads to learn more about the products advertised, the study found.

The study suggests demand for more targeted advertising is crucial; 34 percent of survey respondents prefer to watch ads relevant to their needs. For a site serving an audience that’s 81 percent female, and 65 percent between the ages 35 to 64, half expressed a preference for ads for entertainment activities such as movies and music; 30 percent would accept ads for hair care and skin care products; and home cleaning and weight loss products come close behind.

RealGames doesn’t use behavioral targeting at this point, “But we are looking at this and this extensive survey we did is furthering those initiatives. As we saw [the audience was] interested in those specific types of advertising,” said Houtzer, senior director of new media at RealGames.

Of the 550 titles downloadable games in RealGames’ catalog, 40 are ad-enabled and the number is growing. RealGames said it will also participate in Google’s AdSense for Games beta for Web-based games on its network of sites including RealArcade.com, Zylom.com, GameHouse.com, Atrativa.com, GameTrust.com, and MrGoodLiving.com.

Older titles are more likely to return higher impressions, contrary to what’s observed in retail video games. “When a user downloads an ad-enabled game with unlimited time, she plays the game over and over,” said Houtzer. “These games created months ago are often creating impressions today. These games grow over time, the games enabled the longest are generating the most impressions.”

The survey was given to 1,500 RealGames players who clicked on an ad asking them to take the questionnaire.

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