In France, the video game market continues to grow: 5.6 billion euros in 2021 (source: syndicate of leisure software publishers -Sell), i.e. +1.6% vs 2020. It is half by the ecosystem of consoles (49%), then PC gaming (26%) and finally mobile games (25%). “Not surprising then that more and more brands wish to integrate the world of gaming, faced with audiences that have become significant and made up largely of young people, more difficult to reach today on traditional screens”, claims Jean-Baptiste Bourgeois, director of strategies, at We Are Social, creative agency.
A point of view shared by Xavier Delelis-Fanien, consultant in strategy and digital creation: ” If we take the example of the integration of Gemo into the Animal Crossing game, it was to respond to a context of health crisis, where the stores were regularly closed and where it was therefore more difficult to discover the new collections“. The first instinct to adopt seems to be to ask the right questions to know which marketing levers to activate and who to contact:
Do I want to communicate more to an audience of “casual gamers” (games on mobile, family, occasional players) or rather to “core gamers”? Is it with a view to reaching a fairly large audience or, on the contrary, to integrate a game in a more immersive way? Am I an endemic brand looking to expand my audience or on the contrary, non-endemic with little native legitimacy?
What future for in-game display?
In the web and mobile world, display is one of the most classic advertising levers, simple to manage programmatically. However, brand safety can be quickly called into question since it is difficult for a brand to clearly delimit the game environments in which advertising is broadcast and very often these advertising formats are very intrusive: they are superimposed on the playing surface or temporarily interrupts a game with an interstitial. “Advertising in video games must evolve towards more respect for the structure, so as to no longer be intrusive. This is the mission we gave ourselves by creating Gadsme, a dedicated “in-game” advertising agency which guarantees brands that their advertising message will only be displayed in games corresponding to their values and in formats directly integrated into video game scenes (banners on billboards around the football stadium, for example, as in the real world).
In addition, they can be personalized based on the player’s profile or external data such as the weather. There is therefore less risk of having unintentional clicks and on the contrary more chance of capturing interest without annoying the gamer”, explains Guillaume Monteux, CEO and co-founder of Gadsme, which has just raised 8 million dollars in early 2022.
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” On consoles, it is possible to display a banner at the bottom right of the home page when you turn on your XBOX for example. We can mention three main types of execution, particularly with regard to endemic brands: direct reference to the store to buy the game, video trailer to find out more or reference to a page equivalent to a dedicated mini site with additional content ( fan service). All these possibilities end up on the store“, explains Cédric China, Senior Account Executive at Yahoo, which is a partner of XBOX.
A true gaming experience!
Faced with an audience that is often not very receptive to traditional advertising, brands have focused in recent years on their brand content strategy to expose more editorial formats. Directly integrating a video game is part of this approach, but is it a question of addressing the game publisher directly or a creative agency? “This will depend on the opening of the gameplay: on games like Fortnite or Minecraft, the teams of the agencies will be able to easily code and create skins, maps because a creative mode is made available whereas on other games, in particular on console, the deal will be done directly with the editorr”, explains Xavier Delelis-Fanien. This is confirmed by Cédric China: “If you want to integrate a game such as Forza, you will necessarily need Microsoft’s agreement on what is envisaged, such as the personalization of a car… This in order to maintain a coherent game ecosystem”. , “to better understand the possibilities of in-game presence, we can take the example of the game Fortnite which concentrates different types of devices: creation of a map using the creative mode of Epic Games, branded skins that we can buy in the store or highlight a brand in the carousel when launching the game“, specifies Jean-Baptiste Bourgeois.
“Today, social networks and livestream services are redrawing the contours of interaction and the distribution of online content. They allow more proximity with communities, thanks in particular to content creators who act as ambassadors for the brands they love.“, notes Vladimir Paszkiewicz, advertising director Melty and Pôle Gaming at Reworld Media. Indeed, Twitch currently brings together more than 8 million live streamers each month, for a daily audience of more than 31 million people (source Twitch ): “If the content on Twitch has evolved to also include sports, music… The livestreaming service continues to play a central role in the global gaming ecosystem. Brands come here to start a conversation with an audience of gamers. Twitch thus has its own advertising network which helps advertisers to create quality and often interactive advertising experiences through the video format, content sponsorships or even personalized integrations into streams.“, confirms Loïc Bayle, head of growth verticals France & Benelux at Twitch.
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Alongside influencers, brands then have the opportunity to spend time with an engaged audience, because streams often last several hours! We can cite for example the operation carried out by Domino’s Pizza alongside Twitch and the French influencer Ted_fr: “While playing the game Fall Guys, Ted_Fr’s stream was interrupted by several “Trick or Treat” on the occasion of Halloween. If he came across a Trick, he had to complete challenges and on Treat he could stumble upon a slice of spicy pizza. Pizzas were up for grabs at the same time for the public. It was an innovative way for the brand to promote its Halloween Russian roulette operation..”
The hybrid role of media management
Finally, the media companies offer 360° gaming devices: ” At Webedia, we strive to create campaigns that combine content creation through our studio, visibility and engagement with our web and social media audiences, while being able to mobilize a crew of influencers. We have the legitimacy of strong media ecosystems such as JV (leader in France), MGG or the TV channel LeStream on Twitch, which has more than a million followers.“, presents Thibault Thévenin, Gaming Director at Webedia.
A point of view that completes Vladimir Paszkiewicz: “Thanks to cross-functional expertise, advertisers can therefore centralize their requests with a single contact, an expert in the gaming world: Reworld Media has created a Gaming & Entertainment vertical following the takeover of Meltygroup, Supersoluce, Gamelove… as well as to the creation of the La Crème du Gaming site in February 2022 (which already has 2M monthly PV). This allows us to address more than 8% of French gamers through positive content, ranging from casual to hardcore gaming and to be able to expand to their other points of passion: high-tech, cinema, food, high tech…”
The advertising approach in gaming is intended to be less and less intrusive but more editorialized with, in the vast majority of cases, devices co-created with a communication agency or a media agency that has a creative studio. There now remains the issue of measurements: that of the acceptability of the different advertising formats, that of their memorization, or even the ROAS (return on investment of advertising expenditure) according to the different types of games and advertising formats. Topics currently being worked on by the “gaming” task force created within IAB France, which brings together internet advertising players.
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