Mobile Marketing Evolves Beyond Banners -- To Games

What will exceed $1 billion in 2015?

If you said mobile advertising revenue, you would be right.  And of this cool $1 billion earned, mobile games will account for 17.4%, or $269 million. To put the number into perspective, that’s about how much the 2011 award-winning “Batman: Arkham Asylum” earned at launch -- at $60 a pop.

But unlike traditional video games, mobile games appeal to both men and women, young and old. Therefore, they pique interest from brands that normally wouldn’t advertise in-game, let alone near them.

Still, marketing to mobile consumers comes with its own set of challenges, namely:

1.  How do you gain their attention?

2.  And once you do, how do you ensure ongoing engagement?

The answer? Simple, Instant, Addictive Games.

Mobile games do more than fight boredom, they stimulate our brain and social networks, as well as reward us with achievements. This makes them an ideal solution for marketers looking to build awareness and influence purchase decisions in a consumer base whose expectation has shifted from passive to interactive experiences.



While just a few years ago, in-game banner ads represented the majority of mobile marketing efforts, today we are seeing several new approaches, each driving greater levels of consumer involvement and higher levels of loyalty. And with games sitting between 70-80% of all mobile downloads, the trends that follow may only be the beginning:

Location-based gaming. Be they big-box retailers or small businesses, today’s savviest marketers actively offer promotions to consumers who check in at their locations, leave favorable comments, or drive traffic through their social networks by leveraging GPS, camera and social network technologies. And with platforms like Foursquare and Scvngr conditioning mobile users, this location-based category will only continue to offer advertisers a unique opportunity to connect with their online audience in the physical world, and vice versa.

Real-reward gaming. Imagine this: You just dominated level five in a game of “Angry Birds,” but before you can go to level six, a screen pops up to inform you that you've won a free smoothie. Ignore the offer by hitting delete, or if you want it, type in your e-mail address and have the redemption code sent to your inbox.

No player wants to be interrupted during gameplay by banner ads, but they are absolutely open to receiving real rewards for their virtual achievements. Kiip and Tap.Me serve more than 70 mobile games and lead the real reward gaming category, reaching more than 25 million people combined. Most important, the companies report that 15% to 20% of their gamers take advantage of rewards.

Real-world gaming. It wasn’t so long ago that moms would force their kids outside to play. These days, technology isn’t serving as an outdoor deterrent so much as the catalyst for exploration. At an annual event for the past three years, Tony Hawk has hosted a global treasure hunt in which he tweets clues to hidden prize locations to his 2.8 million followers. Not only do followers get to keep the prizes they find -- video games, skateboards, bikes, etc. -- but their social capital rises as members of the community, thanks to congratulatory tweets from Hawk himself. Real-world gaming allows brands to build a community, an army of ambassadors, and a database --all of which can be repurposed for future campaigns.

Today’s consumer is in constant motion, the first hyper-connected, socially integrated, information-empowered buyer in history.

Fortunately for brands and advertisers, mobile game marketing has not only kept up, but will remain a tremendous catalyst for consumers looking to experience brands in a meaningful way.



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