Spil Games Introducing New Targeted Video Ad Strategy

Company believes happiness is the key

Spil Games, a gaming company that has already taken Europe by storm, is hoping to leverage its unique video ad opportunities to get to the next level with advertisers.

Many casual online gamers are used to having to watch a short commercial in order to play the next round. The Netherlands-based group believes it's cracked the code and knows when to trigger these “cliff-hanger” video ads so they roll when the player is deep into their game—and unlikely to quit. 

“Casual gaming is one of the top activities that people give their precious time to do. It’s a very mainstream activity for a whole lot of people. Any brand's audience is going to be into online gaming,” Bas Seelen, vp of advertising, told Adweek.

While the company won’t share the exact formula, it disclosed it has to do with the length of gameplay and how far along the player has gotten. At a certain peak, it believes the gamer reaches their maximum happiness and, consequently, is the least likely to exit out of the game even if an ad comes on. 

The metrics were based on visitors who perused Spil’s family of sites, which includes Agame, A10 and Girlsgogames. The company said that about 200 million active monthly users visit its properties.

What they found was gamer spent an average of 40 minutes each gaming session. And, while most people online would skip the 30-second ad roll if they had the chance, Spil gamers sat through the entire ad video 90 percent of the time so they could complete the game. Media mobile ad serving and analytics company Celtra Inc. pegged the average video ad completion rate at a little less than 50 percent.

“The casual gaming medium has been seen as cheap entertainment. Now they are seen as a viable entertainment category that is now driving the strategy,” Reed Berglund, CEO for youth digital marketing team Full Bottle Group, said.

Spil Games decided it wants to dive deeper into the ad game after it noticed advertisers diverting dollars away from broadcast spots toward new opportunities online. Spil Games itself has seen video ad-specific spending go up 500 percent over the last year. And, because many of its key properties serve a youth audience, it makes them highly lucrative.

“We deliver the audience they (advertisers) are actually looking for,” Seelen stated.

Seelen said that part of what makes online gaming so unique is advertisers can really target their efforts towards a specific demographic. While TV ads play for whomever is watching, websites can provide specific details about who is sitting on the other side of the keyboard and what they are more likely to respond to.

Other gaming-based media companies, like video platform Twitch, have been able to turn gameplay into cash thanks to their captive audiences

Berglund said he believes Spil Games’ foray into specialized video advertising is just the beginning for online gaming.

“I think you’re going to see more video programing—actually programing in and around causal games. Advertisers can participate in personalizing within that content experience. You’ll be seeing more inventory crop up outside the in-game inventory,” he explained.