Mobile apps are a huge market right now, and they are partially the reason why so many people are adopting smartphones. In fact, some people choose their smartphone based on the types of apps available. There are apps for literally everything -- you can control the lights in your home, access your bank account, read the news, visit social media sites, and more -- but mobile games are probably the most popular apps that users install. This presents a unique opportunity for you to tap into the potential of mobile marketing by buying in-game advertisements.
Just think about it -- when people are not at their computer, they still have access to their phone. Plus, playing games on a smartphone is a common way to pass the time. Primarily, you should add in-game advertising to your mobile marketing strategy to reach a larger audience. Here are some other reasons to embrace it:
One of the most common types of in-game advertising is banner ads that stay at the top of the user's screen during game play. This is great for advertisers because banners actually get a decent amount of screen "real estate," as opposed to the amount of space banner ads receive on websites. In fact, they can take up anywhere from one-sixteenth to one-eighth of a screen. All that "real estate" actually causes game users to accidentally click your ad -- driving more traffic to your business.
Of course, many people debate that accidental clicks do not actually have a good conversion rate, but they can definitely be beneficial to your business, depending on your goals. For instance, if you are just trying to create brand awareness, lots of clicks might be a good way to go. But if you are trying to sell a specific product, lots of clicks might not convert.
Pop-ups are another great reason to use in-game advertising. You can show short videos or still screens that users have to see before continuing play, which ensures your business gets attention. The pop-ups are displayed after users complete certain segments of a game or when there is a transition in the story plot.
Of course, many users find pop-up ads annoying on mobile phones, but that doesn't discount the fact that they are willing to deal with them in order to continue playing their game. And, unlike TV commercials, where people tend to flip channels, mobile game users tend to stay on the pop-up advertisement, especially if the ad is short. This almost guarantees that your business will get some form of attention.
Some of the most effective in-game advertisements are those that reward the user. For instance, users can be given bonus coins for viewing an advertisement or performing some other action, like visiting a website. Reward-based advertisements are particularly easy to display in quest-style games in the form of pop-ups or integrated right into the game options or features.
In-game advertisements that reward users are a great way to build brand loyalty or grow your social media presence because you can create ads where game users earn extra money or complete a task by "liking" your Facebook page, following your blog, or any other task you choose.
One of the first things mobile users do when they buy a new 4G cell phone is set their time and location so they can use the GPS and other apps that use near field communication (NFC) technology -- like Foursquare and GoWalla. So, your business can use NFC information to target potential customers based on their location.
Some in-game advertising networks can tap into NFC technology and only display your ads to people that are in the near vicinity of your business. This is particularly useful for local businesses that only want to target potential customers that can physically go to their store.
Just like in-game advertisements can target users by location, they can also target specific audiences based on context. For instance, a fashion game is the perfect place to advertise clothing and fashion accessories. You can display advertisements in mobile games that are relevant to your audience.
If you haven't tapped into in-game advertising yet, you should consider all the benefits mentioned here and how they could potentially convert well for your businesses. Then, you can explore the different in-game ad networks that are available to set up the mobile marketing campaign that will work best for your business. Have you already seen success with in-game advertising?
Cara Stromness is a freelance writer and editor.
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"Smartphone in female hand" image via Shutterstock.
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Thanks for the article Cara! As the topic is interesting it was worth a click for me. True, games are very engaging and they have a huge reach with interesting customer segments for marketers (especially the games in social network). Thus brand integrations, sponsorships and product placements are nice ways (when well done) to interact with the gamers without damaging the gaming experience. BUT I was shocked about the first 2 points of your writing: "gamers will accidentally click your banners and drive traffic to your site, and pop-ups interrupt the play to give attention to your business"! This is absolutely a BS advice! The result is purely detrimental for all the parties! The gamers will leave the game as soon as they find something better and the brand impact is soooo negative. And btw, banners and pop-ups are not even in-game advertising elements! The title of your article should be the DO's and DONT's for advertising and games or something.
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