Careful ad placement may help marketers level up in video game advertising

January 19, 2017 by Matt Swayne, Pennsylvania State University
Researchers found the branded video game -- Green Giant Healthy Eating -- generated better recall and more positive feelings by video game players. However, they added, there are other ways marketers can effectively promote their businesses and products in the new world of video game advertising. Credit: Patrick Mansell, Game Screen provided by Frank Dardis

When it comes to video game advertising, marketers may be better off owning the game rather than advertising in the game, but a team of researchers say there are still other opportunities to effectively place ads in this growing advertising space.

The researchers found that gamers better recalled brands in video games that were custom-developed for that specific —called "advergames"—compared to generic video games, said Frank Dardis, associate professor of and public relations, Penn State. Gamers also were more likely to have positive feelings about the brand after they played an advergame.

"If you (an advertising company) can afford an advergame, that, by far, led to better attitude and the best memory change," said Dardis. "Obviously, playing a branded game will make you remember the brand a lot more than if you just saw an ad in the game while you're playing."

The best advergames entertain the player while promoting a brand experience, according to the researchers, who report their findings in the current issue of the Journal of Interactive Advertising. For example, an auto company may insert its line of cars into a race game to promote their brand.

"Yes, they want to engage people and make them want to play the game, but in an advergame, the whole game is based on trying to promote the product," said Dardis.

However, advergames can be expensive to develop and maintain, according to Dardis. He suggested that marketers who cannot afford to develop a branded game can still use their ad budgets more effectively by choosing how they advertise and when they advertise during the game.

The researchers recruited about 179 participants for the study. The participants were assigned to one of six conditions, including two different game settings: advergame or nonbranded game—and three different ad types—preroll video, banner and no advertising.

The researchers created their own version of an advergame, calling it the Green Giant Healthy Eating game that required players to "eat" as many healthy Green Giant-branded vegetables as possible. The non-branded game used the same rules.

In-game video ads in non-branded games performed better than traditional banner ads, according to Dardis. Further, game players had better recollection of video ads that played in the middle of the game—usually after a player reaches a new level—as opposed to video ads appearing before the game begins. Improving brand awareness and boosting about that brand may increase the likelihood that the player will buy from the advertiser, according to the researchers.

Marketers spend approximately $145 billion on digital advertising, according to recent figures. Video ads are increasing in popularity. In 2011, marketers spent $7.55 billion on banners and $2 billion on . Analysts, however, expect video advertisements to quadruple to more than $8 billion in 2017, while banner advertisements increase to more than $11 billion.

While banner ads appear to be the least effective, Dardis added that they are also typically the least expensive forms of advertisements on the web.

"We are not saying that banner ads shouldn't be used at all," he said. "They likely play a role in the mix of your advertising in video games."

Explore further: Player's performance in video games can steer attitudes about brands

Related Stories

Advergames: Theme of Game is Secret to Success

October 1, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- It’s all fun and games when it comes to the current trend in online advertising. Advergames, online video games used to advertise a product or brand, increasingly are being used by advertisers to attract ...

Candy games stimulate appetite

December 21, 2015

At least once a week, two thirds of all children of primary-school age will play an internet game that was created to draw attention to a brand. Most of these advertisements are for snacks and candy. Only 6% of these children ...

'Advergames' new avenue for TV advertising

May 30, 2014

Advertising in the form of games or "advergames" can be as effective as regular 30-second television advertisements according to researchers at Murdoch University's Audience Labs.

Recommended for you

Outside competition breeds more trust among coworkers

September 19, 2018

Working in a competitive industry fosters a greater level of trust amongst workers, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia, Princeton University and Aix-Marseille University, published today in Science ...

Oldest-known aquatic reptiles probably spent time on land

September 19, 2018

The oldest known aquatic reptiles, the mesosaurs, probably spent part of their life on land, reveals a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. The fossilized bones of adult Mesosaurus share similarities ...

Research shows SE Asian population boom 4,000 years ago

September 19, 2018

Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have uncovered a previously unconfirmed population boom across South East Asia that occurred 4,000 years ago, thanks to a new method for measuring prehistoric population ...

Searching for new bridge forms that can span further

September 19, 2018

Newly identified bridge forms could enable significantly longer bridge spans to be achieved in the future, potentially making a crossing over the Strait of Gibraltar, from the Iberian Peninsula to Morocco, feasible.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.