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A New Approach to Measuring Attention in Mobile Game Advertising

Jordan Shlachter, Head of Measurement and Insights, Activision Blizzard Media

Jordan Shlachter, Head of Measurement and Insights, Activision Blizzard Media

May 14, 2024

6 minute read

As an entertainment medium that excels in captivating attention, gaming is a natural ally for advertisers thanks to its interactivity and immersion. With over 3.4 billion gamers worldwide and a projected market worth of $321 billion by 2026, gaming presents a vast opportunity for brands seeking innovative ways to engage with a vast and diverse audience. 

In a concerted effort to better understand the untapped potential of attention measurement within game environments, Activision Blizzard Media partnered alongside dentsu Media US and other industry peers to release, "Play Attention: Calling Focus to Gaming," an exploration into the intricacies of gamer attention and the potential of advertising within the gaming environment. This initiative marks a significant stride in understanding and harnessing the unique dynamics of gamer engagement for enhanced marketing impact.

A Revolutionary Method for Measuring Gamer Attention

The "Play Attention" study introduces a new approach to quantifying engagement, employing eye-tracking technology developed in collaboration with Lumen. This innovation offers a first-of-its-kind lens through which to view and measure the effectiveness of advertising in gaming, providing a novel insight into the connection between gamer attention and advertising influence.

The research reveals that gaming environments generate higher viewability and attention rates, as well as more efficient cost metrics compared to Dentsu norms. To optimize each gaming environment, the study illuminates diverse pathways for advertisers to enhance their media plans and capitalize on the distinct advantages of gaming as an advertising medium

The Unrivaled Efficiency of Rewarded Video Ads

Central to the study's findings is the exceptional performance of rewarded video ads. 

This ad format, which offers gamers incentives to engage with advertisements in return for in-game rewards, stands out for its respectful approach to gamer choice and its ability to enhance the gaming experience. Such ads not only achieve a 100% on-screen impression rate—a significant jump from dentsu’s 87% benchmark—but also command an astounding average of 10,043 attentive seconds per thousand impressions (APM). This significantly surpasses the engagement levels of traditional online video advertising, affirming the compelling attraction of rewarded video ads within the digital arena.

The insights gleaned from the "Play Attention" study are instrumental for brands looking to navigate the complex gaming landscape effectively. The research advocates for an integrative approach to marketing within games, suggesting that ads should complement rather than disrupt the gaming experience. This perspective draws inspiration from the successful adaptation of video game intellectual properties (IPs) across various media, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and alignment with gaming content and communities to resonate with audiences genuinely.

A bar chart showing Attention Per Mille Impressions, and Rewarded Video at 10,043.

Charting the Course for Future Engaging Advertising

The study sets forth a vision for advertising that enriches the gaming experience, proposing a model where engagement is leveraged as a potent tool for brand communication. This approach aims to cultivate a more receptive and positive interaction between gamers and brands, thereby transforming engagement into a significant asset for marketers.

As we look toward the future of digital marketing, the insights from the "Play Attention" study emerge as vital for brands aiming to forge meaningful connections within the gaming community. The path forward in advertising within the gaming industry is characterized by creating positive, immersive experiences that resonate deeply with gamers. The industry is ready to adopt new and effective advertising strategies that match the changing preferences and behaviors of gamers.

About the Author

A seasoned research, measurement and insights leader with over 15 years experience, Jordan Shlachter leads measurement and insights for Activision Blizzard Media. In this role, Jordan oversees the entire research function for Activision Blizzard’s advertising business, developing industry-leading thought leadership and delivering world-class measurement solutions. Previously Jordan was Head of US Measurement for Pinterest and Chief Marketing Sciences Officer at PHD. Jordan has also held senior research positions at Twitter, UM, Nielsen and Yahoo.

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