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Gaming Ingame Attention

Attention in-game: 6 things advertisers need to know to play it right

IAB UK

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September 7, 2023 | 6 min read

Attention is increasingly dominating industry conversations about measurement and gaming is no exception

With highly engaged players (who, according to IAB Compass, play for an average of seven hours 33 minutes a week in the UK), gaming offers advertisers a unique and creative outlet to capture consumers’ attention.

Here, we ask members of IAB UK’s Gaming Group to share insights into how gaming performs when it comes to attention; why it’s a metric that matters; and what other media can take from how gaming drives high attention scores.

Attention translates to real-world business outcomes

Nerissa MacDonald (EVP global sales, Anzu): “Gaming is an immersive, captivating, and lean-in experience with no second screening because players are fully focused on gameplay. We recently published the results of an extensive study into attention in gaming with Lumen revealing that, on average, in-game ads drive 98% viewability vs. Lumen’s digital ad norm of 78%, and they are viewed for an average of 3.1 secs vs. Lumen’s digital ad norm of 2.9 secs.

"The study also explored how attention levels translate to real-world business outcomes, finding that, on average, in-game ads drive 49% prompted recall with a high of 97%, and after seeing an in-game ad, six in 10 players are likely to make a purchase.”

Gamification techniques make content more captivating

Jonathon Troughton (CEO, Frameplay): “Other media channels can draw inspiration from gamification techniques to make content more captivating. The opportunity to gamify engagement patterns comes down to discovering the core loop of a specific channel and creating a way to playfully incentivize the audience.

"Mobile gaming has grown to surpass PC and console gaming in the past decade, which makes gaming more accessible than ever. To maintain attention, media channels must adapt their content to fit the mindset of the user. Whether it's mobile, PC, or console, the device in which a channel is consumed can influence the experience and context. Consider the environments and the mentality of the audience when tailoring messaging. Rather than competing for attention with intrusive ads, serving relevant content to the right audience will yield more impactful results.”

Better experiences = better attention

Lewis Hadley (VP of marketing, Bidstack): “Advertisers need to get to grips with attention metrics or risk falling behind. The simple confirmation that a piece of branded content could’ve been seen is no longer enough on its own. Instead, attention can gauge the power of ad placements against business outcomes. Did it have a tangible impact on the viewer? Did it deliver against campaign objectives?

"When it comes to viewability and attention, gaming shows the value of ads that fit into the user experience without disruption. In-game ads, for example, deliver constant re-engagement and higher cumulative viewability. It’s not straightforward for all media to replicate the active attention of gaming, but it is clear that better experiences increase average dwell time, attention per 000 impressions and brand recall.”

Players that ‘snack’ are also delivering

Joanne Lacey (COO, AdInMo): “Games are lean-forward entertainment; their interactive nature keeps players absorbed, creating an immersive environment to engage audiences. With 80% of gameplay sessions lasting +20 minutes, mobile in-game advertising formats drive high viewability and attention metrics. Gaming also offers a real-time data environment to better understand player behaviors that can enrich both addressability and measurement.

"In a recent study of AdInMo’s proprietary metric PlayerDwellTime, a baseline for potential attention was established with the weighted average time-in-view 7.3 minutes per player per day. Attention over-indexes in genres such as racing and real-world games, although players who ‘snack’ - e.g., play hyper-casual games - can also generate up to four minutes of attention per day.”

Advertisers can be the in-game hero

Christian Facey (CEO & Co-Founder, Audiomob): “The video game industry is projected to reach $384bn by the end of the year in the US. With over 3 billion active players, mobile gaming has the largest market volume at $286bn. And, with the marriage of mobile gaming and the advertising industry, ads can be integrated into mobile games so seamlessly that they feel organic during gameplay - opening the door for more user engagement.

"Mobile gaming already demands much of our attention, with a 2022 report by DATA.Ai. showing that 81.2 million hours were spent consuming mobile games weekly, in the UK. This is why advertisers now prioritize finding ways to integrate their brand into the actual gameplay - for example, a car game where the fuel stations have Shell branding. As explained best by Audiomob’s business developer Niklas Lürken, “they [the advertiser] can be the hero in-game”".

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