Massive, Nielsen: In-Game Ads Boost Brands

NEW YORK Ad units placed within videogames that are played while connected to the Internet significantly influence traditional brand metrics while also providing advertisers with a degree of cachet, according to a new study commissioned by in-game ad firm Massive Inc.

The study, conducted by Nielsen Entertainment, found that across four prominent ad categories (automotive, consumer packaged goods, fast food and technology) brand familiarity increased by 64 percent among users who had been exposed to ads served into live games by Massive, which is owned by Microsoft.

In addition, Nielsen found that purchase consideration increased by 41 percent among users exposed to in-game ads during the study, while ad recall surged by 41 percent.

Massive said the study, which was conducted among 600 gamers, is crucial when it comes to making current advertisers more comfortable in their investments in the burgeoning medium while providing more ammunition to advertisers who are unsure of its value.

“We wanted to test, ‘how does in-game really move the needle for brand advertisers?'” said Alison Lange, marketing director at Massive. “We need to prove that this is effective and makes sense for brands.”

Lange said that the study can be considered more compelling than research culled from controlled focus groups, given that the research was conducted in the real world. Gamers were quizzed on actual campaigns that were delivered to Xbox 360 and PC games, and a segment of players that did not receive ads provided the study’s control group. “This is more robust than any other research that has been conducted in the space, we think,” added Lange.

Beyond traditional ad impact measures, Lange said that one of the most compelling takeaways from the study was that in-game advertising, at least in its still early stages, creates a halo effect for brands. Many of the study’s respondents reported that brands advertising in games increased their cool quotient as a result of their presence in a hot title like Need for Speed. “There is definitely a positive association going on there,” she said.

Adweek is owned by the Nielsen Co.