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Strategies to create an in-game mobile advertising campaign

April 19, 2013

By Joseph DeLuca

Marketers and advertisers are slowly starting to get it: they are finally beginning to tap into the lucrative mobile space to reach consumers.

According to a report by Gartner, mobile ad revenue will balloon to $11.4 billion this year. This is a welcomed sign for publishers and developers looking to monetize their content via advertising, as well as brands trying to reach today’s inundated consumer.

An increase in ad spend only tells part of the story when it comes to the emergence of mobile. There is a direct correlation between mobile advertising spend and time spent by consumers on such devices.

EMarketer reports that U.S. consumers spend 127 minutes a day on mobile applications which is an increase of 35 percent from last year.

Get into the Game
A highly lucrative platform to reach consumers is gaming apps which make up 43 percent of time spent within all apps, accumulating 55 minutes per day.

While online gaming may be on the decline, mobile gaming continues to soar.

EMarketer finds U.S. mobile gamers will make up 42 percent of mobile phone users by the end of the year, and 32 percent of the U.S. population.

By 2016, mobile gamers will represent 67 percent of mobile phone users and 53 percent of the population – something I am sure many players within the gaming industry thought would never happen.

Not only are there a lot of mobile gamers, they are playing in a lot of different places.

A study by PopCap Games found not only do 69 percent of mobile gamers play at home on the couch and 57 percent play at home in bed, 63 percent play as passengers while commuting and 55 percent play while waiting for an appointment. This is the type of knowledge that is great to have when you are trying to plan your advertising strategy.

I myself, an estranged gamer from my teenage years, am caught playing games while trying to sleep or on my daily commute to work. Gamers are no longer made up of pimple-faced adolescents. As a matter of fact, mobile gamers are predominantly female.

Provide consumers with value
One emerging format that is providing benefits for advertisers and publishers alike is the value-exchange advertising platform.

The value-exchange format offers consumers access to premium online content in return for opt-in brand engagement. This provides a means for advertisers to reach a wide and highly engaged audience, while publishers are given a way to monetize non-paying users.

The value-exchange model has worked particularly well on the mobile platform because users are not only spending significant time within apps, but are also highly engaged in their mobile activities.

Unlike other platforms such as television, mobile users are completely immersed into the activities being carried out on their device. So, the only way to effectively reach them is by interacting with them in their personal mobile space.

In fact, research from Google finds that 82 percent of users notice mobile ads. The value-exchange format has seen conversion rates as high as 90 percent-plus, with click-through rates to retail sites up to 30 percent.

Cross-platform campaigns
To get the most out of a mobile advertising campaign, you must combine it with an integrated cross-platform campaign. After all, many consumers can be found multitasking, especially during their free time.

The Gartner study states, “consumer multitasking will drive preference for multiplatform approaches, which will blur the lines between channels and make it difficult to eliminate category overlap.”

Nielsen found that 88 percent of tablet owners and 86 percent of mobile owners use their device while watching TV. Such campaigns have been proven to be very fruitful with brand recall increasing 70-300 percent, according to Videology.

Here are five strategies to consider when creating an in-game advertising campaign:

1. Videos optimized for each screen (desktops, tablets and smartphones)
When it comes to cross-platform campaigns, it is not a one-size fits all solution, especially when it comes to video. The correct fit must be incorporated for each type of device it will be viewed on.

2. Short loading/buffering times

We live in an instantaneous society. Consumers are too busy and lack the attention span to wait. Careful consideration must be made from the technical backend to ensure the quickest loading times including, video size/length and required plugins.

3. Custom skins around the embedded player
It has been statistically proven that these sorts of ads have a higher conversion rate when a custom skin is applied to the embedded player. This increases engagement and immersion.

4. A clear post-view call to action
You want the consumer to carry out a desired action. The best way to do this is by making it clear, direct and simple. Tactics such as large easy to understand text and varying colors are proven to be effective.

5. A lucrative reward
Make sure what you are offering is worth the time and effort of the user. Not only will offering a substantial reward increase conversion, it will also boost brand sentiment since you are giving value to the consumer.

FOR THOSE THAT think the mobile space is quickly approaching its growth potential, think again.

Gartner projects worldwide mobile ad revenue will reach $24.5 billion in 2016.

As more money and competition enters the space, it will be increasingly more difficult to connect with users, thus innovative ad formats such as the value-exchange model will be at the forefront of advertising in the space, simultaneously connecting brands and consumers while monetizing mobile apps.

Joseph DeLuca is marketing and PR manager of SponsorPay, Berlin, Germany. Reach him at

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