Thursday, October 18, 2007

devisions and challenges

A recent article in eMarketer contains an interview with IGA Worldwide CEO Justin Townsend, who discussed some of the challenges advertisers are facing in the effort to reach the gaming audience. Specifically, that there is no single "gaming audience". The audience itself is broken down into core and casual, the gaming channels are divided by console or PC, and the types of ads that are available to advertisers are divided into static or dynamic, each of which has pros and cons. The goal of each game advertising campaign requires a specific and complicated blend of possibilities.

First of all, advertisers must decide if they want to hit core or casual gamers. The differences between these groups consist of everything from demographics to CPM, to the type of ads that are available to those types of games. Core gamers are typically considered to be males aged 18-34, while casual gamers are typically older women, however, these definitions are broadening quickly. The CPM for core games is typically around $30, while casual games see a CPM of $5 or less, though the cost of advertising in casual games varies wildly. The advertising in casual games tends to be things such as banner ads that are largely click-based and take people out of the game itself. However, core games tend to be more a part of the gaming environment, such as billboards or radio ads, and they tend to have a much higher recall value.

Just within the category of core games is the division between PC's and the various consoles available (though the Wii is often more of a casual gaming console). Advertisers face the problem that if they want to reach the entire core gaming audience, they have to put in insertion orders for every console as well as PC games, and this is not always possible, because they don't always contain comparable games in which to place the ad. In addition, Microsoft's "Massive" is affiliated with the Xbox Live arcade network, and no other advertising firm can include that network in their strategy, dividing the market even more. In addition, while static ads can be placed in multiple games, dynamic ads that actually get the player involved with the product can only be placed in one game at a time, limiting the advertisers audience to what that particular game sells. What we really need, Townsend claims, is a game released on all platforms so that advertisers did not need to create different ads for every game that they want a presence in. However, this doesn't seem like something the gaming companies are likely to support.

So what's an advertiser to do?

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