iion x Anzu Q&A: Exploring Game Advertising as the Next Media Frontier

June 10, 2024
3 Minutes

Welcome to iion’s advertiser interview series.

iion’s CCO, Yun Yip sat down with Natalia Vasilyeva, Anzu’s EVP of Marketing & Strategy, to explore 'Why Game Advertising Is The Next Media Frontier' for brands and agencies.

Natalia Vasilyeva shares insights into why this medium is gaining traction and how brands can get the most from this highly engaging channel.

Identifying and Reaching Your Target Audience in Gaming

Gaming audiences are vast and much more diverse than advertisers think. Another thing to remember is that in-game advertising is 100% contextual. By combining contextual and statistical data, brands can be sure they are targeting and reaching the right audience,” says Natalia Vasilyeva, Anzu’s EVP of Marketing & Strategy.

The Anzu marketing leader explains that proper data enrichment platforms can provide additional insights on incrementality, behavioural, and demographic data needed to determine game advertising campaign success.

Vasilyeva further expands on audience reach by sharing that the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK’s gaming guide is a great resource for brands and agencies looking to develop effective game advertising strategies across gaming environments. 

The IAB report categorises gaming activations into three areas:

  • In the game: Intrinsic in-game advertising and custom activations.
  • Around the game: Reward videos, interstitials, overlays, audio ads.
  • Away from the game: Streaming, esports, and other related activations.

Understanding the different environments and formats these gaming environments present makes crafting a holistic and effective strategy more likely.

Employing this (IAB) framework while developing a gaming strategy can help advertisers craft a 360-degree strategy that will get them where they want to be within the gaming environments,” Natalia advises. 

Measuring In-Game Advertising Effectiveness

One of the main challenges in emerging advertising channels is measurement.

Natalia addresses this concern: “I have good news for you: Gaming is more measurable than advertisers think.” 

She shares that the IAB & MRC developed viewability guidelines for in-game advertising, considering the 3D gaming environment and what elements to consider when measuring these elements. 

Here are the crucial measurement factors Natalia highlights and the reasons advertisers should prioritise them:

  • Fraud detection and viewability: With the right vendors, fraud detection and viewability can be easily measured in gaming. Companies like Anzu provide viewability solutions using IAS and Moat.
  • Attention metrics: High viewability in gaming translates into significant attention from gamers.

Attention is fast becoming one of the most meaningful metrics in gaming,” says Natalia. She adds that there are now a number of providers that provide real-time insights into attention through forced exposure methodologies.

  • Brand uplift measurement: Various vendors make it possible to measure brand uplift across different methodologies and geographies.

 “It is possible (for advertisers) to measure the effectiveness of gaming campaigns from A to Z (with brand lift measures),” she adds.

  • Incrementality and attribution: Using the right providers, brands can measure new audience reach and view-through attribution. 

Some providers can track the same audiences across different environments through view-through attribution solutions, which provides advertisers with insights into another touchpoint in the process of converting 'players to payers’.

Anzu launched a study that debunks the myth that in-game advertising is only good for awareness and top-of-the-funnel metrics. The study shows how game advertising impacts every stage of the funnel and delivers strong brand results for advertisers.

Natalia elaborates on the full-funnel measurement capabilities available for game advertising: "We measured and proved that gaming is an effective channel for the entire (marketing) funnel, not only for top-of-funnel metrics."

"Our study confirmed that gaming is 5 percentage points more effective in driving purchase intent compared to other digital media and 13 percentage points more effective than the digital media average for ad recall," she adds. 

A Creative Approach to Game Advertising

Natalia emphasises that effective game advertising requires a tailored creative approach. 

 "In-game advertising is a unique 3D environment. Taking creatives from other media and just throwing them into gaming will not bring the desired results (and may affect brand uplift and gamer sentiment). Please design for gaming first," Natalia advises.

This is illustrated by the recently released IAB creative guidelines, created in collaboration with industry players, including Anzu. 

"We recently launched the best creative practices for gaming with the IAB. These guidelines are the ‘golden rules’ of the industry," says Vasilyeva. The IAB's creative guidelines and best practices report provides insight into the creative aspects of intrinsic in-game advertising. 

I want advertisers to be aware and understand that there are companies, experts, people, and organisations that can help and ensure gaming strategies thrive,” Natalia concludes.

Game advertising represents a dynamic and effective medium for brands to reach and engage with their audiences. With robust measurement capabilities and tailored creative strategies, brands can leverage this new media frontier to drive significant results.

Thank you for reading or watching our iion Advertiser Series interview.

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