In recent years the digital advertising industry has come to realise that a consumer’s online experience of brands and adverts is integral to the success of their campaigns. This is both in terms of the ongoing acceptance of online ads and in terms of how well campaigns achieve their marketing aims.
With ad blocking on the rise it is clear that consumers have had enough of poor quality, irrelevant and intrusive advertising which interrupts their online experience. The widespread adoption of this technology is estimated to cost publishers more than £18m a year and has rightly led the industry to do some soul searching about what effective, high quality advertising looks like in a rapidly evolving environment.
Initiatives such as the Better Ads Standards from the Coalition for Better Ads have been introduced to drive change and promote adverts and advertisers that foster a more positive user experience. The initiative outlines which advertising formats “fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability” and these were determined from the results of extensive research into ad formats and consumer preferences (You can read more about the initiative here).
The digital industry to date has focused mainly on improving standards across desktop web and mobile experiences. Whilst Bidstack don’t place ads into these arenas, we appreciate that the audience for our advertising is often the same as those browsing online and they too have a preference for high-quality advertising filtered by an ad blocker. Close to half of all internet users utilise ad blocking technology, with men and younger age groups amongst those most likely to – which naturally represents a large chunk of the gamer demographic that our advertising serves.
As avid gamers ourselves we place the gaming experience at the centre of what we do to avoid damaging the experience with clumsy or intrusive advertising. We feel it is our responsibility to hold ourselves to the same standard that is being set online.
This means that our in-game ads serve to solely enhance the gaming experience for the consumer and are strictly vetted to make sure that this is the case. For example, our ads are delivered as part of a game’s design in spaces you might typically expect to find advertising in an equivalent real-world setting such as the start line of a race, or the pitch side hoardings of a stadium in a football game. This ensures that consumers aren’t greeted with adverts in non-typical spaces which might break the immersive gaming spell.
Additionally, we have a strict creative vetting process managed both internally and with our publisher partners that ensures that only relevant brands appear in-game. Relevancy here means not just relevant to the user that is playing the game, but also to the environment. Contextual relevance is key so that means auto brands for racing games and sports brands for football games – which again serves to enhance the realism of the game by keeping consumers engaged in the content they are consuming and not adversely distracted by a wrong-fit brand pitchside.
By keeping gamers and game publishers front of mind when we are advising on creative formats and ideal placements, we are championing the end user experience throughout our operational and commercial processes – an approach we hope consumers will appreciate and benefit from, and one we aim to lead the way on for other businesses in the in-gaming sector.