ComScore to Study Online Impact of Massive’s In-Game Ads

Massive Inc. has partnered with ComScore to track the effectiveness of in-game ads on gamers’ online behaviors. The agreement marks the first time comScore has combined ad data from a console gaming platform — in this case Microsoft’s Xbox Live system — with Internet behaviors.

Through comScore, Massive’s advertisers will obtain data on how in-game ads have motivated gamers to conduct branded searches and visit Web sites, among other actions. The Microsoft-owned in-game ad network previously conducted over 85 independent brand lift studies, but to date it hasn’t studied the influence its ads have on online behavior.

The partnership required comScore and Mirosoft to develop a new methodology whereby anonymous IDs of Xbox LIVE users are tied to online profiles. They’re calling the approach AdEffx Action Lift for Gaming.

“Historically Xbox Live has been a walled garden,” said Mike Hurt, SVP at comScore.

He noted the deal’s impact on Web-based games is not profound because in-game ads hosted on Web sites can be tracked in the same manner as any online ad.

The companies have already completed at least five AdEffx trials, and they shared details of the best-performing ones. For one TV channel advertiser, an in-game campaign led to a 280 percent increase in visits to its Web site, versus a control group. A movie rental brand used in-game ads to drive a 125 percent rise in branded search queries. And in-game ads promoting a movie resulted in a 17 percent lift in visits to entertainment sites after seeing ads. The specific brands were not named.

Eventually comScore intends to publish aggregate data showing the broad online impact of in-game ads on a normative basis. JJ Richards, general manager of Massive, said advertisers are more interested in category-specific research. He said Massive would provide that.

Richards said in-game ad spending has not fallen during the recession. Seven industry categories the company tracks have increased their spending year over year — including the struggling automotive sector, he said.

“In a downturn, as spend goes down you reallocate spend to things with highest ROI and measurability,” he said. “This is all about measurability.”

Massive will unveil the comScore initiative today during its second annual Microsoft Advertising Gaming Upfront event in New York.

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