Direct Sources in Mobile Game Advertising

Native Advertising Study

Sedykh mikhail

In mobile the term ‘native advertising’ is often referred to ads made in format, color and placement similar to native elements of the app. In this article we are talking about interactions and ad placement within the source itself.

A whole lot of info about the benefits of native or direct advertising emerged in a couple recent years and now we see an increase in interest in this subject. The main question is: how does it influence the Mobile Gaming market? We at ZENNA decided to take a look at the current Advertising market situation and in September 2016 we contacted some major gaming companies and a number of private advertisers.

Not So Fast

Despite the popularity in its niche only 45% of the pollers have any experience with native advertising & influencers marketing; mainly those are advertisers with over 3 years of experience on the market.

This tendency may be caused by the fact that when experts gain their experience in creating ad campaigns they try new formats at least once. The thing is that it is impossible to evaluate the effectiveness after a single test. More than 60% of the respondents say they were not satisfied with results of their Performance ad campaigns and state that advertising through theme-based sources is a thing more useful to branding companies.

Direct cooperation with ad sources demands more involvement in the process. This may push some users aside from this area. Contrary to banner advertising (where you still need to to set your targeting extra precisely) working with influencers needs the following: take your time with doing the research, learn their history, come up with the best approach to their audience, make contact, make a deal, examine results and only then you will know whether the campaign has been successful or not.

Based on the fact the majority of the respondents are unsatisfied with the results of direct campaigns we can draw the following conclusions:

1. Too high expectations

If you take a look at campaigns and results from other companies you may think that it is an easy task and this format can 100% fit your case. Taking into account all the variables and audience aspects we can definitely state - it’s not that easy.

2. Too little effort when creating a campaign

You have to make efforts any way. In branding companies and major publishers market tens of experts work on creating each ad campaign. Smaller sources like smaller media outlets and video bloggers make everything by hand, and here you should be extra attentive when composing your tasks. They can not afford a pool of analysts and marketers but it does not mean you can not achieve desired goals here.

3. Poorly chosen sources

It is pretty obvious but very important subject. It’s all about the details. Even an average gaming channel can be tricky. The audience is not very involved, they don’t know the author and the audience can consist of mostly random people. While other less popular channel with slightly different theme can host a real fan base which always pays attention to the author’s opinion and you can benefit here with more installs and a boost in your app’s promotion.

What factors could prevent you from starting a game influencer marketing campaigns?

Time is one of the major factors which may prevent advertisers from actively working with direct traffic sources. It is worth noting that it is practically impossible to make certain projects semi-automatic since they are unique. 

Do you consider that game influencer marketing could be a new effective channel to acquire users in the nearest future?

The market is always aimed at automatization and such a niche can not stay empty for a long time. It seems that soon we will see a whole bunch of services for integration with direct sources. This is indicated by an already high demand among users - more than 40% of pollers want to see such product on the market as soon as possible.

Would prefer to contact game influencers directly or use automated platform for sharing your game with them and receive the corresponding video reviews?

Working with influencers is a perspective area for both indie devs with limited budget and for AAA projects for branding or performance advertising. Currently the market does not dictate its rules yet and is ready for experiments. Isn’t it a great opportunity for hardworking game development studios?

Obviously, there are still some unresolved issues present: inability to evaluate the effectiveness of an advertising campaign for 100%, difficulties in choosing a place for your ad and lack of convenient communication tools. However, we hope that this will not scare advertisers and soon we will see a new level of market development with creative approaches and lots of materials to study.