Eat the cherries up! Tap into online gamers with Google In-Game Ads

Posted by tom klein October 9, 2008 at 8:14 am

Where the users go . . . advertisers are sure to follow. And web users just want to have fun.

The new Google advertising vertical – Google In-Game Advertising – gives advertisers of all sizes an opportunity to target the online gaming community through a choice of integrated video, text overlay, and image advertising. In-Game video ads appear before, within, between, or after game play, and if you’ve dabbled with Google TV (or have existing content from off-line video advertising), you can reuse it here as well. When you consider how many gamers there are, plugging into gaming can help a marketer put a brand messages in front of some key target segments (see benefits).

Google has partnered with many game companies – PlayFish, Mochi Media, Demand Media and Konami. The latter being responsible for popular games like Frogger and Dance Dance Revolution. While market research indicates most gamers are unopposed to the idea of advertising, Google and its partners are taking steps to ensure the gaming experience is not disturbed (i.e. the idea here is to appeal to, not perturb these audiences). Google will even help brands partner with specific games for product placement opportunities and promotions.

Not to discourage the little guy though. Self-managed advertisers have access to the same platform and resources. In-game is part of your AdWords account (yes, the same one you might use for your pay-per-click search ad campaigns).

No mystery here - because it's a Google product, advertisers receive the same detailed analytics and reporting as the other Adwords ad vehicles.

Web-based gaming applications have cropped up all over social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, and Google In-Game gives you access to these hot commodities as well.

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  Game on Plug your brand into a hot game franchise

Posted by tom klein June 25, 2007 at 2:30 am

Just because you’re targeting gamers, it doesn’t mean that you have to create your own game (as we described in Fish where the fish are ) to reach them. You can just partner with a game software company to create an add-on to an existing game.

Just ask NissanForza Motorsport 2, the next generation of a popular auto racing game, comes out this summer for Microsoft’s Xbox 360. While the game features a number of different cars to race, participants in a Nissan promotion will receive an extra car in their garage, a souped-up Nissan Sentra SE – R. By partnering with a game developer, such as ID or Electronic Arts (or many others), you can insert your brand right into the gamer world.

Given the number of games and gaming consoles, your ability to interact with gamers is really only limited by your imagination. Have you thought about opportunities to partner with existing game titles to make game related marketing more affordable?

Both gaming companies and console makers have embraced the idea of introducing branded components to their games. It represents a great way for them to introduce advertising and product placement into an electronic setting (and link to a website or a transaction).  Microsoft (both a console maker and a game maker) went so far as to create a special set of development tools called "XNA," - making it much easier to develop Xbox 360 console games and add-ons.

First, consider what games are the ones that are popular with your target. All gamers are not created equal. Thanks to the Nintendo Wii, gaming isn't just for young males anymore. Focus on helping consumers use or integrate your product in an appropriate context. Finally, in all cases, remember one thing. It's a game. Whatever you do should add to the experience - not be wallpaper lost in the blur.

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  Fish where the fish are Get close to targeted customers in a video game

Posted by tom klein May 31, 2007 at 2:30 am

Something is stealing viewers from the TV. It’s the other new media – video games. Now a $10 billion dollar industry, larger than the total movie box-office.

To reach men from the teens up to mid 30’s, consider developing a low cost game that brings your brand personality to life – literally. Burger King sold three games for the MS Xbox ($3.99 each with a value meal) as part of a 2006 holiday promotion. The games feature the chain’s iconic King and the the strangely popular Subservient Chicken in various exploits – with Sneak King the most popular. As a part of the effort the chain created a gamer focused site at BKgamer.com.

In addition to critical acclaim and selling 3.2 million games, Burger King generated incremental traffic and sales – contributing to a 41% jump in quarterly profit.

Instead of creating another set of TV ads, think about bringing your brand to life in its own game.

Gaming development requires a significant investment of time and money. BK's three games required 7 months and a team of over 50 people. Web-based gaming is much more affordable and can be integrated more closely into your own site. See some gaming examples at the site of our design partner - Toolbox Design.

Just creating an adver-game won't do anything for you if it's not attractive to your target. It must be just as smart and savvy as a commercial game. BK succeeded in putting its brand character (the King's "creepiness" factor) to work in a rich environment. Think through how you might use gaming to expand or develop your own brand's personality.

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