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Understanding intrinsic in-game advertising: Why comparisons often fall short
November 16, 2023
In the ever-evolving world of digital advertising, one innovative format stands out from the rest: intrinsic in-game advertising. While many try to compare it to other advertising formats, such as out-of-home (OOH) or connected TV (CTV), it is important to recognize that gaming is a completely different environment and presents advertisers with entirely new opportunities to make meaningful connections with their audiences that have previously not been possible due to the constraints and rules of the 2D space.
Why it's different from other ad formats
Unlike traditional advertising formats, intrinsic in-game advertising seamlessly integrates into the gaming environment and is non-clickable, creating a more engaging and natural user experience. This unique blend of entertainment and marketing makes intrinsic in-game advertising a powerful tool in the digital advertising sphere.
A new study released last month from performance marketing solution Wunderkind found that 70% of shoppers believe advertisers don’t respect their digital experience, with a further 95% reporting that their content consumption is interrupted by intrusive ads. Nine in 10 (92%) shoppers also said they felt ads were becoming more intrusive.
We are moving towards a world where advertising must complement rather than detract from the consumer experience and make sense for the consumer and the environment they are in. When we asked players what the most important thing to consider when going in-game was, they said relevance.
Most advertising formats and platforms are working towards this. However, many are still clinging to the old ways of working. With research showing that 99% of Gen Z consumers will hit ‘skip’ on an ad if it’s an option and that nearly two-thirds (63%) use ad blockers to avoid online adverts if brands want to stay relevant, they will need to adopt an advertising strategy that enhances their audience's experiences and journeys.
Being non-disruptive is just one way intrinsic in-game stands out from many other ad formats available today. However, as many advertisers still perceive this format as relatively new, there is still a tendency to try and figure out where it sits in relation to other advertising formats and to compare it to what has come before.
Comparisons don't do it justice
Comparing in-game advertising to other formats is like comparing The Sims to Grand Theft Auto. From its massive reach to its highly engaged audience, gaming offers a unique landscape for advertisers to tap into. Intrinsic in-game brings you right into the heart of the action, and you don't have to compete for attention like you do in other environments.
For example, on other digital ad platforms, your ad could be one of 10-20 brands competing for your audience's attention, often with many different messages shown simultaneously or in tandem. Intrinsic in-game advertising doesn't work like that. Due to the nature of the gaming environment, to be impactful, ads must be subtle and shown in locations where you would expect to find them in the real world, like alongside a racetrack, around a sports stadium, or at a bus stop. This means when your ad is shown to a player in-game, you are commanding their full attention.
These extremely high attention rates can have a significant impact on your campaign. To demonstrate just how effective they can be, we ran an attention study with Lumen earlier this year, looking at the results of intrinsic in-game ad campaigns run by Anzu over the past two years. The results showed that in-game ads drive 98% viewability vs. Lumen’s digital ad norm of 78%, are viewed for 3.1 secs vs. Lumen’s digital ad norm of 2.9 secs, and drive more attention than Facebook and Instagram’s in-feed ads.
Gaming: a unique advertising landscape
With over 3.3 billion gamers worldwide, the gaming industry's reach is immense. Moreover, gamers are highly engaged, spending an average of 8.45 hours per week playing video games. This level of engagement provides an excellent opportunity for advertisers to connect with their target audience on a deeper level. The 3D environment makes gaming utterly different from anything that has come before, meaning advertisers must think carefully and differently about how they run campaigns within gaming vs. other advertising environments.
Unlike many other digital advertising channels, gaming allows advertisers to unleash their creativity and become part of the game, creating a unique experience for their consumers. Intrinsic in-game offers advertisers everything they are used to, including the ability to buy directly and programmatically.
They can also hone in on their target audience, understand what success looks like thanks to standards and benchmarks, and see their results in real-time through advanced reporting. If you combine this with in-game’s ability to help advertisers make a huge splash and stand out through takeovers, custom activations, and striking virtual placements, which draw similarities with offline guerrilla marketing activations, you can see why in-game is like nothing that has come before.
Now you know why in-game is different, the only way to understand its effectiveness is to try it for yourself. To join the likes of Samsung, PepsiCo, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, P&G, and Vodafone, get in touch with Anzu to understand what impact in-game could have on your next campaign.