The 19th century Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker supposedly said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”
21st century marketers could also be forgiven for wondering which half of the money they spend on advertising is wasted on ads that are delivered in non-brand safe environments, that fall victim to ad fraud or are simply not viewed.
Right now, with average viewability across APAC running at 58% and ad fraud at 8%, we can see that it’s exactly half of online ads that never get seen by a real person.
So where can marketers go to deliver brand-safe targeted advertising at scale to real people? One option increasingly finding favor with major brands is mobile gaming.
According to eMarketer, the number of mobile gamers in APAC is set to increase from 700 million in 2017 to 950 million by 2021. With those numbers, gone are the days (if they ever existed) of the “typical mobile gamer.”
Mobile gaming across Asia Pacific is an incredibly diverse environment in terms of demographics. Contrary to common belief, there are more female gamers than male, and as many gamers over 50, as Millennials or Generation Z. Scale is available across any audience a brand wants to target.
On top of this scale, gameplay requires active participation, meaning users in mobile games tend to be more open to engaging with advertising. Interactive video advertising and playable ads offer easy opportunities to tap into this engagement.
Another excellent example of mobile gamers leaning into marketing is user-initiated advertising, where consumers are offered an ad in return for in-game value, or additional content. 68 percent of consumers feel positive about permission based video ads, compared to only 20 percent who feel positive about pre-roll. Since initiating the ad is their choice, they’re more likely to have a positive experience and remember the brand in this positive light.
But what about context? Is gaming the right environment for my brand, we hear you ask?
This is an incredibly common concern, and a question every marketer asks themselves as they start out on the mobile gaming journey. And the answer is quite simple. Most marketers are already comfortable with running ads across context-neutral environments to find targeted scale and (hopefully) brand safety. This is the essential promise of advertising on social media platforms. Gaming is no different. We call this ‘brand safe eyeballs at scale’.
Actually, mobile gaming is a slightly kinder environment than social media – content created by professional publishers is inherently more predictable and brand safe than user-generated content.
Ultimately, the proof is in the results. Viewability rates for in-app video ads average 98 percent, ad fraud is lower than 1 percent, and video completion rates range upwards from 85 percent, meaning you can guarantee your ads are seen, usually in full, by real people.
According to eMarketer, 47 percent of users say that mobile video ads increase brand awareness and 34 percent say they create better engagement and interaction. Multiple brand studies across Asia on live campaigns with major advertisers show this same brand uplift.
Combining the benefits of mobile video ads with the blue ocean of mobile games can mean huge success for brands everywhere. As marketers get to grips with the opportunities that come from advertising in mobile games, more and more brands are embracing the medium.
And delivering highly viewable, consumer-preferred, brand-safe, non-fraudulent, completed video views at scale is a pretty good way of ensuring you don’t waste half the money you spend on advertising.
Tom Simpson is VP of Programmatic at AdColony APAC. @tomsimps0n