Family Gamers Are Boon For Advertisers

A whopping 700 million people globally are playing online games across devices this year, according to comScore, and those game players are engaged with advertising in and around games. At the same time, the distinction between whether people are playing online or on mobile devices has blurred since people are doing both interchangeably.

Be it from snack-like bursts on their tablets or smartphones, to marathon game sessions on their PCs and tablets, women, men, teens and kids are playing in all kinds of situations as they move through their day. 

Despite the blur between the two terms, purely mobile game play research data points are still extremely helpful for mobile advertising planning. For example, eMarketer recently reported that the U.S. mobile gaming audience alone has continued a steady, massive growth since 2011 and will reach 162.4 million people by 2015. To put that in perspective, that’s 50.5% of the US population who will actively play games on mobile devices.

Furthermore, mobile game players are also affluent; Shullman Research Center reports that 59% earn in excess of $75,000 a year, making them an attractive audience for brands to reach.

No matter what device people use, we see the same reactions to advertising depending upon what they are doing.  Consumers on a magazine site or a video-based site, sit back, consume content and often actively avoid advertising.  A gaming audience has a much more lean-forward, active and positive mind-set. Research by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) shows that 83% of online gamers are open to advertising in return for free gaming content – in short this means advertising is a natural part of the online gaming environment.

This makes advertising much more effective. According to research by engagement specialist MediaBrix, gaming ad campaigns are outperforming standard online ad campaigns, generating both higher average click-through rates (CTRs) and engagement levels than many online formats.

The report shows that gaming video ads generate average CTRs 30% higher than that of standard banner advertising campaigns, Facebook ads and rich media banner ads.

Time on site for gaming is also a force to be reckoned with. Speak to any magazine publisher and they’ll feel very happy to know their readers have been staying on site for around five to six minutes. Across online gaming platforms an average session time is of up to 30 minutes – with some regions even as high as 50 minutes. Plus, most users consume on average three to four different games per session, which offers advertisers a lot of different opportunities to connect with audiences.

Gaming, as a lifestyle activity, is only going to increase over the coming years according to most industry analysts. It’s morphing with new techology and new devices. The definition of an online game player is no longer just a Mom using her family computer to escape for an hour with her hidden object games, or a teenager playing a massively multiplayer role-playing game on his tricked-out gaming PC. Both demographics still do play that way and will do so for the immediate future.  And, yes, both engage with advertising.

However, it’s much more than that.  Game playing has become a normal part in all aspects of everyone’s lives--be it a parent at a kid’s soccer practice, a pre-teen on the school bus, or a husband with his tablet on the couch pretending to watch his wife’s favorite TV show. Brands can capture more attention by following the mobile gamer around as they take breaks from their commitments to play games and watch the ads in and around those games.

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