Is In-Game Advertising Undervalued?

    March 22, 2007

Recently, advertisers have made a push to market their respective brands in the online worlds of Second Life, The Matrix Online, and Planetside, understanding the vast potential in reaching a whole new audience. In-game advertising, however, could reach far beyond current expectations.

Marketing efforts geared toward the online PC gamer have been well documented, but what about the console owner? It’s true that entities like EA Sports have signed deals with ESPN to feature branded content within the game, but are advertisers as a whole underestimating the ultimate value of in-game marketing?

In a MediaWeek article, Mike Shields lays out some numbers for console game advertisers to consider:

[A]ccording to Gameasure’s new report, the popular game Madden NFL 2007 has sold 6 million units, yet 14 million gamers have actually played the game. Similarly, the war fantasy game Call of Duty 3 has sold 2 million units, yet has been played by 9 million gamers. Because gamers frequently play games in groups, rent games and lend them to friends, a single game title is often seen and played by many. 

With that being said, advertising strategies geared solely toward unit sales figures may be under appreciating the true value of the market. According to these types of figures, the potential reach of a marketing campaign could extend to at least double, if not triple, the amount of actual sales.

Sponsors looking to reach the gamer demographic would be well served to keep these kinds of figures in mind when determining how much money to budget toward in-game ad spending.

There is also the potential for multi-platform campaigns, given the fact that Nielsen//NetRatings finds more than a third of online own a gaming console. The potential for integrated online and gaming-based marketing strategies begins to take on a whole new outlook when you consider figures like that.