The wide reaching popularity of games such as Candy Crush, alongside the rapid growth of tablets and smartphones, have ensured that gaming is now very much part of our everyday lives. As a result, the advertising that accompanies these games is proving to be more well-received than in other mediums.
Unlike hardcore gamers who don't want to be distracted while playing games, casual game players are more relaxed and open to advertising. That's why for years, top advertisers have invested heavily in online casual game sites. While web based casual gaming is not going away--in fact it's growing--mobile gaming is clearly on the rise and is one of the most popular activities on tablets and phones. Indeed, analysts estimate that the global online and mobile gaming market will show an increase in consumer spending of almost 60% by 2016 reaching $46 billion, from $29 billion in 2012.
Mobile gaming appeals to players of all ages and interests since it can be used for short bursts, or “snack” moments of entertainment and stress relief. While players are "in the moment" of entertainment, studies show that they are engaged, happy and open to advertising.
A report by MediaBrix, an ad network for mobile and social gaming, shows that video ads associated with gaming sites generate an average Click Through Rate (CTR) of 3%, which is roughly 30 times higher than the CTR of standard online advertising campaigns (0.10%), Facebook ads (0.03% to 0.11%) and rich media banner ads (0.12%).
With the growth of online and mobile advertising continuing unabated, the gaming market is ripe to become a hugely important channel for brands. According to eMarketer, the US mobile gaming audience alone has continued a steady double-digit growth since 2011 and will reach 162.4 million people by 2015. To put that in perspective, that’s 50.5% of the US population that will actively play games on mobile devices.
Across our platforms we’re seeing an average session time of around 30 – 40 minutes, with some regions even as high as 50 minutes. Compare this with the average news site where around 80% of visitors are on site for less than five minutes, or even YouTube, which claims an average visit time of around 15-16 minutes, and it’s clear why gaming sites have the edge for advertisers.
Furthermore, consumers often have a strong sense of loyalty to individual games or individual sites and, more important, they also understand the trade-off advertising offers them, i.e. in order to keep being able to play their game for free, they need to sit through a video. This means that they are often happy to spend time with a brand and look at advertising and interact with it. Video, of course, works particularly well in this case as the format is so similar to the gaming environment.
The reality is that mobile devices and the internet have transformed the gaming sector, and online/mobile casual gaming is now the mass-market media of the day with broad demographic appeal. With access to a wide range of free browser- and app-based games that are increasing in quality on an almost daily basis, tablets and other mobile devices offer advertisers the ability to exploit this rapidly expanding market at scale and to tap into a powerful broad community.