Is the Secret to Mobile Gaming Ad Success a Matter of Reward?

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Is the Secret to Mobile Gaming Ad Success a Matter of Reward?

Sometimes in marketing, something comes along that's so inherently simple that it makes you slap your head and wonder why in the world no one thought of the development in question before that very second. It's too simple to have been so easily missed by so many for so long, and yet, that's just what happened. That something in question was the idea that, if advertisers really want to drive engagement with their advertising, said advertisers should give the user a reason to click. And a "rescue" advertisement, as some are calling it, may be just the thing for mobile gamers.

The concept is almost terrifying in its simplicity; take a gamer who's experiencing a reversal and offer said gamer a bit of a boost in exchange for viewing a mobile ad. One example of this would be to pretend you're a player neck-deep in a fictional battle. You've surrounded the enemy's base and are pounding said enemy with long-range fire, while troopships approach the base to seize it. But suddenly, your artillery runs out of ammo and your troopships are about to get chewed to pieces by surviving armor on the beach. But, just as you're about to watch some brave boys go to the shallow bottom under withering tank fire that you can do nothing about because your artillery's out of ammo, a message pops up with an almost Faustian bargain: watch this ad and an air drop will restore your artillery to full power.

Do you watch that ad?

Horrifying? A little bit. But most gamers would likely watch that ad, and that's a development that MediaBrix is calling a "breakthrough moment." When using such advertising in trial runs, MediaBrix's Ari Brandt pointed out to VentureBeat, that the engagement rates went up 543 times higher than without. That's not 543 percent, which by itself would be a staggering hike, but 543-fold.

But it's not just about bringing in rescues. It's also about offering rewards--a free gift for completing levels or challenges, for example--nets a clickthrough rate that's 50 times higher than the alternative and 460 times the engagement. Ads that encourage a failing player, meanwhile, get 23 times the clickthrough and 106 times the engagement.

Naturally, this is an idea that's difficult to actually put into action. It's not as easy as tossing in an SDK, because it requires careful timing and specifically-coded responses. The ads need to be put in at just the right moment; when a character's losing, when a character's about to die, when the battle's turning against a character, and so on. But when the ads are timed right, man, do they get a positive effect. The numbers tell the story nicely, and in a fashion that most any advertiser would be eager to get behind.

Advertising is a difficult business these days, as ad spend is trying to figure out where to get the most bang for its comparatively limited buck and media is trying to work accordingly. Offering the ad viewer a direct incentive to watch an ad can only work in so many places, but when it works, it works in grand style.

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