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Published on March 21st, 2015 | by gareth


Why Advertisers Need to Care About Mobile Gaming

(Article contributed by Jessica Oaks)

Mobile technology is changing the world on a grand scale, transforming how we work, how we communicate and how we play. The gaming industry in particular is undergoing a sea change thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets.

For instance, the mobile segment of the entertainment industry will overtake consoles in the worldwide market this year. Women have rocketed past young adult males as the largest video game playing demographic in the U.S. New, advanced graphics processors from companies like Snapdragon have put mobile on the same footing as consoles in terms of playability. And now the mobile industry has recruited big data in its aggressive customer retention efforts.

Player data is helping developers understand who is playing and when, what features to keep or kill, what in-game benchmarks players are meeting and how to deliver a personalized game play experience that keeps people coming back for more. The update cycle is never-ending, and the result is games that are easy to access and hard to put down.

Marketers are only just starting to tap into the potential of this changing and expanding audience that has already proven it is hungry for new titles and excited for enhancements to the ones they already play. The idea of mobile games as a platform for advertising has been an afterthought, at best. That’s because what many advertisers have thus far failed to realize is that this audience is also extremely receptive to marketing messages.

Let’s talk about the ladies. Multiple surveys have shown that nearly half of moms with kids in the 5-12 age cohort have bought products that they first saw advertised in games. It might not sound important until you realize that 80% of moms play mobile games once a week or more, almost as many expectant moms play multiple times a day and women rule the roost when it comes to 85% of household buying decisions. That’s $15-20 trillion in consumer spending waiting to be tapped!

The most successful way to court this new audience has yet to be determined, though early analytics suggest that players are more likely to buy from the brands they engage with in games. Some companies, rather than relying on in-game advertising, are producing their own apps hoping to capitalize on positive association (good app = good brand). Even so, mobile gamers should also expect to see more advertising and product placement in future titles. In some cases the product is the game. Games like Fashion Eye and Covet Fashion feature real products from notable designers and fashion labels, from Rachel Zoe and CBG Max Azria right on up to Chanel and Bottega Veneta.

Of course, there’s no telling what an individual player will gravitate toward in the app store – and that may be why marketers have been so slow to jump on the mobile gaming bandwagon in a big way. Wait to see what titles rise to the top and you’ve already missed out on the opportunity to be first to market in terms of in-game advertising. Throw your own app into the ring and it may just get pummeled, possibly leading to a negative association with your brand. There is still a lot of uncertainty.

That’s why trend watching in this area is an absolute must. The one constant is near continuous change, from technology advancements to demographic shifts to player habits and spending. That means the only way to make the most of the mobile gaming market is to keep your eyes on the horizon. If you can anticipate the shifts, you can be the next big thing.


About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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