Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Mobile games key environment for audio advertising

By Ben Williams, CRO, Audiomob

If you keep an ear to the ground on rising trends, you will have noticed that audio has been increasingly commanding attention in the advertising industry. With $18 billion generated last year in audio advertising in the US alone, audio as a medium is creating quite a buzz. Amongst the noise, a star in the ascendant is audio ads in mobile games; a new platform but one growing at an explosive pace, disrupting the industry, and resetting expectations of ad placements for brands.

Mobile games is a vast market

Mobile games quite simply give you access to the biggest brand reach in entertainment with more than 2.5 billion players worldwide, surpassing Netflix subscribers and Spotify premium subscribers combined. The mobile gaming industry generated $77billion this year, 48% of total gaming revenue worldwide.

A global entertainment staple, mobile gaming is a market growing year on year and with the constantly moving conveyor belt of new releases, brands can connect to a mass audience.

The gaming demographic is no longer exclusively a teenage boys’ club; today, 63% of mobile gamers are women with the average age of a female gamer, 36 years old. Recognising this now huge opportunity for brand reach, mobile games also allow you to clearly identify and focus on your brand target demographic. It offers you a platform to leverage untapped audience reach, and simultaneously streamline your budget by spotlighting the demographic you want to reach.

If your biggest question mark is hovering over whether mobile games are too unorthodox a space for brand advertising, it’s worth recognising the rigorous vetting process of app stores. In fact, mobile games are a supremely brand safe environment by design, undergoing a stream of scrutiny to get into app stores; any advertising within the games are inherently safe.

Advertising in games revamped

Adverts in games are well rooted in the industry: brands can choose from either video, playable or banners, and now audio advertising sits firmly at the fore. AudioMob has developed a successful audio DSP, driving audio into centre stage and becoming the format increasingly favoured by game developers.

There is already a huge swell of movement towards non-intrusive in-game advertising, with audio naturally at the helm. With audio ads players aren’t distracted so much that they leave the game to interact with the ad; instead they listen to the ad and simultaneously continue to play the game.

For developers, it’s a huge win as they can ensure the user experience is uninterrupted, and even deeply immersive. And for players and the consumers of the ads it is a win because they happily continue their gameplay while listening to the brand messages.

Audio Immersion in games is creatively limitless

The scope of fully immersing audio ads is immeasurable in the gaming world. Mobile games offer a creative launchpad for brands to start investigating the compelling and vibrant method of integrated audio advertising.

Some developers are even going so far as to flip the process and build the game around the immersive audio ads; not detracting from, but actively contributing to, the entire experience. The ad is no longer placed around the game infrastructure, it is fully integrated into the gameplay and adds layers of reality and experience.

The best example of this is the recently launched multiplayer mobile game Big Brother: The Game by games studio, 9th Impact. Recreating the very popular Big Brother franchise in a mobile game, players live in virtual Big Brother houses, completing challenges with the aim of reaching the final. Working with AudioMob, a radio that plays ads was designed to be placed in the game. When a player switches on the radio they can play a real audio ad, in exchange for virtual game currency. This they can then use to bribe players and build their leadership position in the game.

The ultimate opportunity that arises is that the reach these audio ads will have is unprecedented. The Big Brother game straddles real life and the gaming world to such an extent that the game invites spectators on the app and on the Twitch stream.

For brands, this means their audio ads are subject to pass on listenership: as players listen, so do spectators, maximising a global audience reach and investment. In essence, the audio advert functions much like a TV slot, within a mobile game.

The audio ads of tomorrow

The current trend of audio ads is steadily gaining momentum, with AudioMob offering a simple, elegant and innovative audio ad solution for brands to tap into this market. The scope for growth with audio advertising in games is limitless, and at AudioMob we envision the next move will be towards brands working alongside developers to come up with creative, immersive solutions for brand reach.

Audio ads integrated into games is an adventurous opportunity for brands and game developers alike to push the boundaries of digital marketing and progress in-game ads to mirror TV product placement. Audio is a powerful contender for advertising in the 2020 gaming industry, and AudioMob is leading the charge.