For Honda and Other Mobile Advertisers, It’s Game On

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The just released MediaBrix Social and Mobile Gaming report is bullish on the performance of social gaming ad campaigns as mobile gaming video ads deliver an average CTR of 3 percent, 30 times higher than the CTR of standard banner advertising campaigns. 

“The key finding on ad engagement rates is that the average social and mobile gaming engagement rates are around 20 percent, the highest of the reported ad formats,” states the report. “By way of comparison, Facebook brand pages have an average engagement rate of .50 percent and pre-roll ads have engagement rates ranging from .7 percent to 3.64 percent, according to data supplied by eMarketer.” 

“It comes as no surprise that social and mobile gaming advertising sees results 30-100 times better than standard online advertising campaigns,” commented Ari Brandt, CEO and Co-founder of MediaBrix, which is behind Honda’s new mobile social campaign for the 2013 Honda Civic. “This is largely due to the fact that people are driven by a deep well of positive emotions—such as joy, excitement and brand affinity—when playing social and mobile games.”[more]

Adding to the golden glow of the mobile ad market, IAB Australia’s new “Online Advertising Expenditure Report” shows a 220 percent spike in mobile advertising amounting to $86.2 million with a 30 percent climb for video which reached $90.3 million.

Two-thirds of CPG advertisers and agencies, meanwhile, plan to increase spending in mobile advertising over the next year as ‘ad optimism’ is at its highest since 2007, according to an Advertiser Perceptions survey.  

Solve Media is one company leading the charge into “native advertising,” placing ads in context of other information on a site and iterating the limited real estate of smartphones and mobile devices from traditional banners and video ads to a new territorial imperative.

“The definition of native advertising shifts—and looks a lot like an old concept: the advertorial. Promoted stories on Facebook, promoted pages on Tumblr, Google’s search ads and sponsored tweets are examples,” notes Crain’s New York. “Brands such as Forbes are also using sponsored posts, and content-sharing site Buzzfeed is reportedly generating millions in revenue with posts such as Milky Way’s “How to say you’re sorry like a boss,” featuring photos of quirky ways people apologize.”

Appssavvy began by integrating ads into online games but now works with publishers and sites serving content-friendly ads as the company’s mobile ad revenue in 2012 went from zero to 50 percent. “It’s considered more premium,” said CEO Chris Cunningham in Crains. “You may pay a little more for a native ad placement or product, but you get better performance.”

Critics contend that native advertising doesn’t “scale” as costs for a custom ad are higher and can’t be dropped into any venue as with display ads, but Sean O’Neal, CMO of MailOnline, the third most trafficked news site in the U.S., told Crains, “Scale is not the right question. It should be a question of impact and results. Less overall reach can be more efficient if the marketing is engaging, relevant and contextual.” 

AdColony delivers high-definition, instantly playable video ads as an option for mobile gamers who, if they watch the full ad get virtual coins to spend in a game. The company boasts that its completed video views grew 3.5 times in 2012 with average publisher earnings per thousand views (eCPM rates) growing 60 percent year-over-year, click-through rates on video ad campaigns growing 27 percent year-over-year and the average session time for apps in AdColony’s network is now more than 10 minutes.

AdColony projects huge growth for video ads in mobile games, which garnered 1 billion views in 2012. CEO Will Kassoy told VentureBeat “the growth happened because mobile users and brand advertisers have waited for a platform that delivers high-quality mobile video.”

In an Atlantic article, Derek Thompson writes, “As our attention shifts to mobile phones—and their smaller screens—ads are becoming vastly less effective. And companies built on ad revenues, like Google and Facebook, should start to sweat.”

“The ability of advertising to move from platform to platform, screen to screen, is precisely what’s delivered this golden age of entertainment. Every bauble on your smartphone screen is a business model, and the vast majority of them are venture-backed enterprises that rely on the promise of mobile advertising actually materializing,” Thompson adds. 

“If ad people collectively decided that mobile is a broken platform to buy reader attention, it would mean something worse than the end of one-inch banner ads. It would mean that our attention had finally escaped to a screen that was too small to pay.”

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