Ari Brandt is currently the CEO at MediaBrix, the leading advertising and services platform for social and mobile games. Prior to MediaBrix, Brandt was the CEO at Linkstorm, where he earned the company several consecutive years of triple digit growth. The Makegood recently spoke with Brandt about a recent report conducted by MediaBrix.
The Makegood: MediaBrix has reported that performance of social and mobile gaming ads spiked by 30% and 15%, respectively, when they leveraged emotional targeting. How should brands respond to this report?
Brands need to understand that making emotional connections matter. As brand dollars continue to flow into social and mobile game advertising, marketers have an opportunity to emotionally engage users like no other form of media. This report will help them learn how to best utilize this emerging form of brand-friendly digital media. Specifically, cross-platform social gaming advertising offers brands a method to reward, encourage and rescue players in a way that is additive—not interruptive—to the user experience. In social and mobile games, brands can reach game players during Breakthrough Moments™ (BTMs™), or different emotional moments such as when a player gets a new high score or is in need of help. This allows brands to be positioned as the “hero” when they reward players with a virtual good. With this approach, people appreciate the brand’s involvement during game play and are more likely to take a post ad action or further engage with the brand—giving marketers a unique way to make lasting, meaningful connections with people.
The Makegood: Cross-platform seems to be growing into a buzz term. How has MediaBrix been utilizing cross-platform capabilities? How is this important in the social gaming world?
Users play games across all devices—mobile, tablets and desktop. While there’s no question the growth is coming from mobile, many brands want to reach different users on different platforms at different moments during the day and that’s where cross-platform capabilities come in handy. Cross-platform social gaming advertising offers marketers a way to reach and engage this audience on whatever platform or device they chose. Additionally, MediaBrix utilizes technology such as HTML5—endorsed by the IAB as the format of choice for mobile ads—and responsive design, which allows in-game advertising to deploy seamlessly cross-platform and across devices. According to eMarketer, the majority of marketers feel HTML5 and responsive design are important developments in mobile advertising, revealing that such technological capabilities are poised to attract more ad spending from brands.
The Makegood: How does emotional targeting in social and mobile games help brands connect with consumers?
When compared to other forms of digital advertising, cross-platform social game advertising is more conducive for brand building and forming lasting person-to-brand connections. The reason for this is simple: while playing social and mobile games, users will run the emotional gamut and may feel elation or frustration or everything in between. MediaBrix deploys emotional targeting, which appeals to players’ emotions, as well as fits natively into the gaming experience. Emotional targeting in social and mobile games elicits positive responses from players and increases brand engagement based on a player’s emotional state, hierarchy of needs and current activity, enabling marketers to reach players as they experience specific emotions in real-time through advertisements with dynamically positioned and appropriate marketing messages.
Also, emotional targeting fuels BTMs™ and allows marketers to reach players based on their emotional responses during game play. BTMs™ offer brand marketers a way to reach and engage social and mobile game players at the right place and time, in the right context, and with messages appropriate to player’s moods.
The Makegood: What are your thoughts on the average click through rate (CTR) of social gaming ads in comparison to standard online banner ads?
Before I answer this, I would like to say that CTR is an antiquated and ineffective metric for measuring the success of a campaign and should be eliminated, but since so many marketers still cling to it as a core KPI, they will be thrilled with the CTRs they will see in social and mobile gaming.
Getting back to your question, I have three thoughts about CTR averages: viewability, share of voice and engagement. Social and mobile gaming advertising circumvents issues—such as banner blindness, viewability, traffic and click fraud—which are so prevalent in standard digital advertising. It provides a scalable way for marketers to finally think beyond interstitials, IAB standard banners and pre-roll video ads, which users often ignore or are annoyed by, resulting in low CTR and general poor performance. Additionally, social and mobile gaming advertising can deliver brands with units that are “native” and additive to the users experience, where users actually like the brands participation in their experience.
That’s why it’s no surprise that social gaming ads see average CTR of 3.8% on the web and 3.2% on mobile—19X higher than averages for standard online banner ads and 8X higher than mobile ads. Plus, social gaming value exchange ads see average CTR of 9.5% on the web and 9.7% on mobile—47X higher than averages for standard online banner ads and 24X higher than mobile ads.
The Makegood: How do you believe that mobile is the driving growth in the gaming industry?
The proliferation of smartphones has transformed the gaming industry. We went from a world where high-quality games were only available on desktop or consoles—which limited the potential user base—to a world where everyone has a smartphone and everyone is playing games. The rise of mobile gaming has caused a seismic shift in media consumption, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. According to eMarketer, by 2015, 8 out of 10 people will actively play games on their mobile devices. According to a recent YouGov study, people play mobile games to relieve stress, fill time while traveling and interact with family and friends. Since it is “portable” and not limited to location, people can play games at home, at work, on vacation, when commuting and virtually everywhere else, making it a global phenomenon that is occurring on a tremendous scale. Since mobile games offer such large reach and user engagement levels, they are also becoming a huge opportunity for brand marketers too. This is a trend we’re embracing at MediaBrix since 70% of our business is now on mobile devices and tablets—and we expect this trend to continue in the foreseeable future.
The Makegood: Thank you, Ari.