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Mat Harris and Melinda Spence photographed on stage and superimposed over a pink and blue background.


IAB UK Gaming Upfronts 2023 Recap

November 06, 2023

5 minute read

In a future-focused exploration of the gaming industry, mentions of game IP and fandom stood out at the recent IAB UK Upfronts. There, we were able to share our latest insights, expertise, and trends in the gaming sector.

Our session, “The Future of Immersive Advertising: How Gaming Fandom Drives Player Experience,” was led by VP of Product Management Mat Harris and Head of Global Advertising Insights Melinda Spence from Activision Blizzard Media. They discussed the transformative potential of advertising to foster meaningful connections in the gaming space and emphasized the crucial role of premium gaming experiences in this evolution.

Melinda Spence on stage at IAB UK Gaming Upfronts 2023 in London.

Melinda Spence on stage at IAB UK Gaming Upfronts 2023. Photograph by Ben Stevens.

Harris remarked, "Gaming experiences live and die on how games connect with players,” underscoring the importance of creating high-quality, non-intrusive, and free-to-play gaming experiences to attract and retain players. We were able to share a prime example of successful immersive advertising in Candy Crush by Prada. Our partnership with L’Oreal for its Prada Candy fragrance featured an interactive mini game incorporating the Candy Crush IP, resulting in a 1800% increase in weekly traffic to the Prada Candy website and all 40,000 perfume samples claimed within 24 hours of the campaign launch.

The event is a testament to why premium gaming IP leads in the industry, particularly in understanding and employing immersive advertising techniques to enhance the gaming experience. 

Spence spoke to the power of premium, emphasizing the future of mobile gaming with 84% of people already playing on mobile. She shared insights into what players consider a 'premium' game and a premium ad experience, and highlighted the power of gaming fandom. For instance, Candy Crush Saga and Call of Duty: Mobile fans have higher brand perceptions when they advertise on their platforms. The 'fandom effect' showed that Call of Duty: Mobile fans were 2.8x to 3x more likely to perceive a brand as premium if it was advertised within the game.

Mat Harris standing in front of the title slide of Activision Blizzard Media's IAB UK Gaming Upfronts presentation, "The Future of Immersive Advertising."

Mat Harris presenting "The Future of Immersive Advertising." Photograph by Ben Stevens.

The session reaffirmed that understanding the gaming space today will enable brands to be better equipped to be part of the future of immersive advertising, with experiences that strike the balance between relevance and reward for both audience and brands alike.

Key Takeaways

1. Gaming is the Future of Immersive Advertising: Immersive advertising is at the forefront of superior advertising experiences. Understanding what impactful in-game advertising looks like is crucial for the future, as we create purposeful advertising experiences, serving both the player and the brand. We're not just building these experiences for today but aim to shape how the industry will approach measurement and performance within future immersive advertising experiences.

2. Power of Premium: Premium experiences are everything in the gaming world. The majority of gamers see mobile games as high quality, with "high-quality game graphics" being the most important attribute. The same principle applies to advertising—a premium mobile ad experience should be non-intrusive, have good graphics, and be relevant. This is the blueprint for executing successful, immersive, and premium in-game advertising experiences.

3. Immersive Advertising Experiences Today: We're already bringing these immersive advertising experiences to life in our games, and the results are impressive. Our partnership with L’Oreal for its Prada Candy fragrance campaign in Candy Crush led to a 1800% increase in weekly traffic to the Prada Candy website. Done thoughtfully, this shows how well-executed in-game advertising can deliver powerful results for advertisers while enhancing player experience.

A photo of the crowd at IAB UK Gaming Upfronts 2023.

Attendees of IAB UK Gaming Upfronts 2023 taking in the content. Photograph by Ben Stevens.

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