Audio advertising: What opportunities are there in gaming?
By Marsha Fischer, VP, strategic partnerships at AdsWizz
Warning: never come between gamers and their games.
Conventional wisdom might tell you this is a lesson usually learned the hard way if you’re the family member, partner or friend of someone who plays games. While brands may be eager to get in front of this highly-engaged, ever-growing, and increasingly lucrative audience, gamers are traditionally reluctant to interact with conventional ads and sales messages.
It’s not hard to imagine why brands are keen to take advantage of the growing gaming industry: last year, there were 177.7 million monthly gamers in the US alone. And North America is dominating the gaming market globally, with revenue projected to reach $5.7bn by 2030.
Unsurprisingly, as the size of the gaming industry continues to grow, so does the in-game advertising market, which is anticipated to generate $17.6bn in revenue by 2030. Media buyers have their eyeballs glued on this market, with 93% intending to run in-game advertising by 2025.
Consider this an opportunity for brands to get creative, to reach these coveted yet hard-to-reach audiences. Since audio and gaming are highly effective in capturing audiences' attention and engagement, audio advertising is an excellent solution for offering gamers a unique ad experience.
Gaming and audio are complementary
The challenge with introducing ads anywhere is making sure they’re not disruptive to users’ experience. For gamers, this is especially true because when playing a game; they are fully immersed in that world and are reluctant to interact with any distraction, including advertising.
In-game audio has already proven very popular with gamers: IAB UK’s recent survey found that 75% of consumers prefer audio ads within games instead of video and banner ads that pause gameplay.
This aspect is a large part of the appeal of audio: instead of a banner ad or a pop-up video that fills the whole screen, the game’s soundtrack gets surpassed by an audio ad at determined times during gameplay. For example, a user can play their game and hear about a new product or service in the background.
The seamless, non-disruptive experience makes audio advertising in gaming so compelling; gamers can listen to an ad without it interrupting gameplay, unlike video ads that require them to pause, watch and listen.
From the advertiser’s perspective, in-game audio ads offer a few format options, such as interstitials or native ads. Advertisers are in control of the audio ad experience they want to deliver, supported by different types of inventories and the broad availability of programmatic options to measure their campaigns.
A game-changer in the advertising space needing a tailored adtech solution
Gaming can become the next frontier for audio advertising, provided it delivers a seamless, personalized ad experience. Ad content must be highly relevant to the player to guarantee engagement and interest. A great example of this is the Ariana Grande concert held in Fortnite. Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, provided brands the opportunity to connect with the Gen Z and Millennial cohorts through a mainstream pop artist.
Gathering contextual information about the audience and developing appropriate approaches will be crucial. Gamers are not a homogeneous mass; they have a myriad of sub-groups with various gaming experiences. Brands looking to use audio should explore which robust and accurate advertising solutions could give them the best chance of airing the relevant message at the right time to the right audience.
Moreover, gaming inventory could present an opportunity for video demand, in addition to the audio inventory, allowing buyers to package it all together and optimize their targeting. While engagement, acceptance, and awareness are high for in-game advertising, meaning video game content consumers are more likely than internet users to buy products and influence the purchasing decisions of others, a few hurdles remain before unlocking its potential.
To further guide buyers and publishers while also confronting pervasive tech challenges, advertising solutions need to augment the capabilities of their targeting tools, for example, identifying the device type players are using to ensure the best audio ad format.
For audio ad tech to better understand gaming demand and interest, the industry needs to align with our stakeholders to identify those blind spots and attributes not supported by the platforms and enhance the in-game ad monetization, which is critical for attracting publishers.