New research substantiates Video Games as key advertising vehicle
By Mike Hanlon
March 22, 2007
March 23, 2007 New media research and measurement firm Interpret’s Gameasure report is likely to make a few marketing managers think about the most effective way to spend their precious budget. The report reinforces the significance of video games as a medium for marketers seeking to reach and influence key demographic groups, particularly young males. The report measures actual reach, frequency and demographic makeup of over 80 video game titles and shows that games reach well beyond reported retail sales figures.
“Retail sales capture only a portion of the total audience playing individual game titles, suggesting current in-game advertising deals, which are primarily tied to these sales figures, under-value the medium,” Michael Dowling, CEO, Interpret, noted. “As Gameasure clearly shows, the impact of social game play, rental, used sales and pass-around is not inconsequential and can vary widely by game title/genre, so having a more comprehensive measure of game play activity is crucial for in-game advertising to be seriously considered.”
As an example of video game’s extensive reach, Activision’s Call of Duty 3 sold 2 million units in the U.S. as of February 3, 2007, according to The NPD Group. However, the actual reach as reported by Gameasure is nearly 9 million gamers – over a 4 times multiple; EA’s Madden NFL 2007 has sold over 6 million units, but 14 million have actually played the game – just over a 2 times multiple.
Another key aspect of Gameasure is that it quantifies, for the first time, the demographic profile of individuals playing specific titles. For example, 21% of all males between the ages of 18 to 34 have played Halo2; of the 6.8 million people who have played Guitar Hero 2, 56% are males 12 to 34 and 30% are females 12 to 34. “There is a paucity of credible data on who actually plays different video game titles and franchises,” said Dowling. “Gameasure takes the guess work out of the equation and provides a credible third-party measure of game play activity for buyers and sellers.”
Advertisers and agencies have been exploring opportunities to integrate or place their brands/products into video games as a way to reach the elusive male audience. To date, there has been no reliable source of information to evaluate the reach or duration impact of video games. Activision, a long-time proponent of integrating advertising into video games (dating back to 1999) is a charter client of Interpret’s Gameasure, having assisted in the development of the product, along with select advertising agency stakeholders. “We’ve known for a long time that the secondary reach of video games is significant,” said David Anderson, Senior Director of Business Development, Activision. “Having a third-party measurement will not only help validate video games as a viable alternative, but will properly value the medium.”
Interpret’s Gameasure data is available through several media planning software products that currently reside on agency desktops (e.g. eTELMAR Crosstabing and All Media Planner software). This will enable media planners and buyers to assess video games’ unique reach against broadcast & cable television, print, etc.
Interpret’s Gameasure is a tracking report that provides videogame publishers, advertisers and agencies with a title measurement currency. The product measures title reach, frequency, duration, and demographics for both console and PC platforms. The data is also available through several media planning software products. The Q1 2007 report provides a measure of over 80 of the best selling games of the last year. The next report will be available in April 2007.
A leading new media market research firm, Interpret is focused on evaluating and measuring the intersections of content, advertising, technology and consumer behavior. Staffed by senior ex-Nielsen execs, the company provides consumer research and new media measurement solutions to the stakeholders of traditional and new media. With media consumption habits shifting radically, the company’s unique insight into consumer attitudes and behavior – whether consumed on “traditional” media platforms like movie screens or TV or on “new” media platforms like video games, cell phones or digitally distributed content online – Interpret is the go-to source on new media.