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Study: Gamers Responsive to Ads

Gamers in London have proven quite responsive to in-game advertisements, according to new research released by Nielsen Interactive Entertainment.

The new Nielsen study was conducted in conjunction with Double Fusion, an Israeli-based firm that is one of a handful of company's promising to enter the burgeoning in-game advertising market in the U.S. Via both a pre- and post-exposure study, Double Fusion attempted to gauge the responsiveness of folks playing the online game London Taxi to an ad campaign from Procter & Gamble for a new cleansing product, Flash Car Wash.

According to the study, awareness of the Flash campaign increased by a hefty 60 percent following the brand's in-game effort. Meanwhile, metrics such as brand favorability and purchase intent exhibited positive, yet more modest gains- perhaps indicative of the limited nature of messaging for in-game ads.

The study also pitted two forms of in-game ad platforms against each other: static billboard ads versus 3-D animated ads. Not surprisingly, 3-D ads, which Double Fusion is touting as its competitive advantage over other vendors, yielded twice the recall scores of static banner placements.

Besides awareness of this particular campaign, Nielsen looked at consumers' attitudes towards in-game advertising as a whole, and generally, gamers appeared to be accepting. For example, in the 900 person pre-survey, 50 percent of respondents agreed that in-game advertising makes a game more realistic, while just 21 percent disagreed.

“The study provides continued evidence that in-game advertising is a medium which brand managers across categories should be exploring, particularly if they want to reach the highly valuable 18-34 year old male audience,” said Henry Piney, Nielsen Interactive Entertainment's managing director in Europe.

“What we learned is that even for new brands, the impact that in-game advertising can have is significant. The study also shows that, by using video games’ unique attributes and offering insertions through which players can interact with brands, the advertiser can gain even greater value.”

Double Fusion promises to replicate this test in the U.S., where the in-game advertising market is expected to swell considerably over the next five years. While interest among marketers has surged of late, given the huge video game usage numbers among young males and the emergence of live in-game ad placements from companies like Massive, research on the medium's effectiveness has been hard to come by.

Nielsen did announce plans late last year that it would begin measuring both video game usage and in-game advertising on the Massive network.


Mike Shields, Mediaweek. October 3, 2005

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