IGA, Nielsen Study In-Game Ads

NEW YORK IGA Worldwide has partnered with Nielsen Entertainment to conduct a landmark study of the effectiveness of advertising in videogames.

To produce the new research, which will be compiled from June through August of this year, IGA has signed on two top videogame publishers—Electronic Arts and Activision—as well as a pair of Omnicom agencies: Organic and PHD. Nielsen will leverage the company’s Bases online research panels to measure videogame advertising’s ability to impact classic ad effectiveness yardsticks, such as awareness and intent to purchase.

According to IGA CEO Justin Townsend, while most major brands and agencies are already sold on the need to engage the huge audience for videogames, they are clamoring for more ammunition to justify spending. “All the brands and the agencies say ‘we’ll increase budgets, just give us the research,'” he said.

Initially, this study will focus on high-end retail PC games, rather than games played on major consoles like Sony’s PlayStation or Microsoft’s Xbox. High-end PC games are IGA’s specialty, and the company has partnerships with developers like Activision to place ads in games that are played via the Internet.

Yet, Townsend emphasized the study’s collaborative nature as key to producing research that would establish new benchmarks for the growing in-game ad market. “You don’t want to do just one-off case studies,” he said. “We don’t want to set the standards based on our own business model, but rather what the industry wants. There is so much impartiality here, at the end of the day, it’s about the results. This should be a major event for the industry.”

Chad Stoller, executive director, emerging platforms at Organic, said he believes this research should be applicable for videogame advertising across the board. “There are a lot of players in this particular study,” he said. “It’s very collaborative. It’s OK with me that it is focused on PC games. These players tend to move the marketplace.”

Mediaweek and Adweek are units of the Nielsen Co.