When it comes to in-game advertising techniques, the combination of two key factors - product integration and pervasiveness - is what leads to a leads to the highest degree of consumer persuasion, according to a survey from Nielsen Entertainment and game maker Activision Inc.
The research was designed to examine the effectiveness of in-game advertising that incorporates different levels of product integration, and is the fourth component of an ongoing joint initiative between the two companies to establish standardised tools to measure the value of in-game adverts.
The new variable
The study confirms earlier findings that product integration helps to drive awareness and recall, while also uncovering a new variable: pervasiveness. This variable was found to contribute significantly in terms of driving brand awareness. After studying a number of examples of advertising integration and pervasiveness, and incorporating the element of persuasion, the researchers came up with their own standard for gauging the value of in-game advertising.
The study found that the combination of product integration and pervasiveness resulted in a high degree of persuasion (that is, the willingness of a consumer to change their opinion of a brand and/or recommend it to others).
Relevance is critical
Contrary to the companies' earlier assumption that highly pervasive adverts would detract from a game's playability, and even frustrate gamers, the majority of gamers interviewed said that when the product is relevant to the game, advertising actually enhances the whole experience.
But the key word for these players was 'relevance': The study found that those who could recall products from a game felt that the product somehow fitted the game they were playing. Moreover, a much higher proportion of gamers said they had changed their opinion of a product positively after the game than those who had changed their opinion negatively.
Need for metrics
Andy Wing, president and CEO for Nielsen Entertainment, said: "Measurement drives efficiency in any business exchange, and especially in advertising. Therefore, as video game play successfully emerges to define a new paradigm for targeted interaction with consumers, the need to establish accurate measures becomes even more critical; for both advertisers, who have finally found a pipeline into the 18-34 male sweet spot, and the video game publishers sitting in pole position to monetise that audience."
And according to Activision's CEO, Robert A. Kotick: "All media can claim to drive some level of awareness. As this study shows, video games are a powerful advertising delivery medium. But the challenge for the industry has been to develop a pervasive unit of measurement that will enable advertisers to accurately gauge the effectiveness of in-game ads. With this research, we have taken a major step in that direction."
For additional information:
· Visit Activision at http://www.activision.com
· Visit Nielsen Entertainment at http://www.nielsenstore.com