ADOTAS — Advertising budgets previously allotted to TV are quickly gravitating to casual games as women and girls increasingly play online and mobile games. Pre-teens and teens snatch time to chill out with mobile games during the day and after homework in the evening. Adult women are still disappearing to their PCs or tablets at night to unwind with games. And the latest stats from comScore show that of the more than 700 million people online playing games, 46 percent are women.
In fact, all demographics in the US mobile gaming audience has continued a steady double-digit growth since 2011, and will reach 162.4 million people by 2015 according to eMarketer. To put that in perspective, that’s 50.5% of the US population who will actively play games on mobile devices. Furthermore, mobile gamers are affluent; Shullman Research Center reports that 59% of social gamers earn in excess of $75,000 a year, making them an attractive audience for brands to reach.
For advertisers, this is a windfall. Casual game players generally have a lean-forward, active and positive mindset. An incredible finding from research by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) shows that 83% of online gamers are open to advertising.
Brands should note however that there is a clear distinction between casual and hardcore gaming. Casual games just need a browser and an Internet connection, and they certainly don’t need a lengthy manual. This means they can be used for short bursts, or “snack” moments, of entertainment and stress relief. Hardcore gamers do not like being interrupted in their marathon game sessions.
In many ways casual games exist in a parallel universe to TV; the content is diverse and it’s targeted to different types of audiences. Games can be even more targeted than TV. Not only that, but the data analysis that can be run behind the scenes on people playing online games, means audience profiling can be refined to a degree that TV could only dream of. This leads to more relevant ads being presented to players and ultimately a more rewarding experience delivered for all parties.
This makes advertising much more effective. According to research by engagement specialist MediaBrix, gaming ad campaigns are outperforming standard online ad campaigns, generating both higher average click-through rates (CTRs) and engagement levels than many online formats.
The report shows that gaming video ads generate an average CTR of 3%, roughly 30 times higher than the CTR of standard banner advertising campaigns (0.10%), Facebook ads (0.03% to 0.11%) and rich media banner ads (0.12%).
Time on site for gaming is also a force to be reckoned with. Speak to any magazine publisher and they’ll feel very happy to know their readers have been staying on site for around five to six minutes. Across many casual games platforms, an average session time is up to 30 minutes – with some regions even as high as 50 minutes. On top of this most users consume on average three to four different games per session, which offers advertisers a myriad of opportunities to connect with audiences.
Ultimately, the rules are not new, gaming just offers brands and agencies the opportunity to port what they already know and are already comfortable with over to the online environment.
Gaming, as a woman’s lifestyle activity, is only going to increase over the coming years according to most industry analysts. Advertisers are just beginning to follow these female game players around in their lives, and pay attention to their new behaviors. The more brands embrace this powerful female game playing audience, the more likely they are to resonate and drive awareness and purchase intent.