In the digital age, marketers are craving, and receiving, more and better measurement. While most digital media -- Internet, social networking, even cable television -- have been able to provide it, the gaming space has been lacking. Until now.
Microsoft and comScore are teaming up to provide measurability correlating in-game advertising and consumer online behavior. Through a methodology that uses Microsoft's Massive Inc. subsidiary, Xbox Live data and comScore's panel data, advertisers will be able to understand the degree to which in-game ads motivate gamers to visit Web sites, conduct brand-related searches and engage in other online activities.
"This is similar to the ad effectiveness research we've been doing with display ads online," Andrew Lipsman, comScore's director of marketing communications, tells Marketing Daily. "The breakthrough here is, there previously hadn't been a way to link in-game ad exposures to those measurements."
The new product, Ad Effx Action Lift, makes anonymous the Xbox Live and Microsoft Live ID data, and combines it with user data from comScore's panel of two million Internet users. By combining the streams, comScore can determine whether panelists who saw the in-game advertising subsequently visited a brand's Web site, searched brand-related terms or engaged in other online activities that an advertiser might find important.
ComScore has already used the new methodology on a number of Massive in-game campaigns for undisclosed marketers, and claims the results have been positive. According to this preliminary research, comScore was able to document that people exposed to in-game ads demonstrated: a 280% increase in visits to a TV channel's Web site; a 125% increase in search queries for a movie rental brand and a 17% increase in visits to an entertainment site after seeing ads for a particular movie (vs. a control group that was not exposed to the ads).
While the partnership may address the "desperate [need] for credibility" of in-game marketing, simply following consumer behavior is only half of the equation, says Drew Neisser, CEO of event and online marketing agency Renegade. Gaming companies and marketers also need to demonstrate the value of in-game advertising to the users as well, he says.
"To find success via in-game ads, marketers need to find a way to be an integral part of the game such as Dole bananas in Monkey Ball or offer some value-add extension to the gaming experience," Neisser tells Marketing Daily via e-mail. "Otherwise, no amount of measurement will yield the kind of results marketers really want and need."