Why there’s no one game genre for advertisers | Anzu | Open mic


Have you ever wondered what kind of game would best fit your brand advertising? Matt Jablon, Director of US Sales at Anzu.io, shares his thoughts on why advertisers shouldn’t put all their eggs in one basket when it comes to in-game ads.

Let’s play a game. You are an advertiser, you just heard about in-game advertising and you are excited to see your brand featured in top games. You want the best game that reflects your fantastic product or service, right?

So where do you look first? What type of game do you want to associate with your brand? How do you know which genre will work best?

Picking the right game to fit your brand can be a game in itself – overwhelming at first glance, but over time, as you get used to your new surroundings, things start to make sense and come together. open around you. Less Dark Souls and more Super Mario Odyssey, for the gamers among you.

With our expertise in games and in-game advertising, we’ll guide you through:

  • the tricky (but not impossible) decision of what genre of game to run your ads in
  • why there is no one genre that will be the only right choice for you
  • how your decision will be influenced by three equally important factors: audience, games and brands

The players are not the same

Players come from all genders, geographies, economic backgrounds, ethnicities, sexualities and backgrounds. With over 3.1 billion players worldwide, it’s no surprise there isn’t a single default ‘player’, as we’ve found in our previous research.

As gamers differ, so do the genres of games they prefer to play. For example, female gamers tend to prefer a wide range of genres, with nearly two-thirds favoring adventure games, more than half enjoying role-playing games (RPGs), and two in five preferring action and MMORPGs ( massively multiplayer online RPG), demonstrating a lot of crossover into typically “male-preferred” genres.

But don’t fall into the common trap. Just because a genre is the most popular with your target audience doesn’t mean it’s the only genre they’re interested in. Anzu’s research has proven that different genres speak to different motivations for gamers – while action is the most played genre overall, sports and racing come in second and third. Even if the RPG is the least played genre, it still reaches 33% of players. On average, gamers each play three game genres, which means they don’t play one genre exclusively.

What is the lesson here? No game genre matches your brand advertising, just as gamers choose not to play just one genre. Play (pun intended) as many genres as you like, but remember to adhere to each game’s advertising guidelines and age rating, and make sure your ads make sense in the context of the game. Otherwise, you’ll stand out for all the wrong reasons.

The games are not the same

With AAA studios usually gaining fandoms around the world virtually overnight with gasping breaths and sleepless nights before their new game launches, it’s tempting to go for the biggest, best and hottest games. renowned when it comes to in-game advertising. Just look at the hype leading up to the launch of Cyberpunk 2077. But Unity’s latest report argues otherwise. Positioning indie games are promising darlings of the gaming industry, Unity praises indies for “encouraging innovation despite their limited resources”, touting Valheim, Twelve Minutes, Death’s Door and Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion as some of the best independent games created on the platform in the last 12 months.

A similar story goes for the action genre – which turns out to be half of all US gamers’ favorite game genre in Anzu’s US Games Report. Even though action is the most popular genre among gamers, many advertisers avoid it because action games often include some level of violence. Violence in video games is definitely a topic that Anzu has come across many times before. By avoiding it, advertisers risk not reaching a large number of diverse and committed players.

Brands should view games on a contextual rather than violent or non-violent basis, much like movies and TV. After all, if brands are willing to partner with horror franchises like Friday The 13th or Halloween that are well known for their violence and gore, why partner with them in hugely popular violent games like Battlefield would- it different?

At the opposite end of the scale, casual games are often much more accessible and deemed appropriate for all ages. As a result, research has found that casual and hyper-casual games lead the way in terms of average active users among top games, including the arcade, simulation, and puzzle subgenres. Hypercasuals, in particular, were responsible for a third of all mobile game downloads in the first half of 2021!

So what’s the lesson here? Don’t rely solely on one genre when choosing a game. Yes, the action and casual genres are hugely popular, but it’s a huge brush to tar such a wide variety of games with!

Choose the option most relevant to your brand. Do your research. Ask yourself who your brand’s main audience is and what kind of games they like to play the most. Does the ad match the the context Game?

If you’re having trouble doing it yourself – maybe you’ve never dipped your toes into the game before, or maybe you don’t know an Xbox from an egg carton – find a solution in-game advertising companies like Anzu, whose job is to help advertisers decide what works based on past experiences with similar brands.

The brands are not the same

The world would be an incredibly boring place if all brands were the same, and the same goes for advertising strategies.

During Anzu’s research into gaming audiences, respondents were asked to match particular game genres to different ad categories. Interestingly, the simulation genre came out on top for many categories – from consumer tech to fashion – and the action genre only took the top spot for the automotive commercials category. (Remember what we said earlier about action games?)

“There are fruits at hand in terms of customers and advertisers in the TelCo, Tech brands, consumer goods brands and in the technology space. [that would suit in-game advertising]said Michael Manning, product manager at Xaxis, during an Anzu webinar on the UK gaming audience. “But there is relevance for all verticals. We can break down how certain genres of games index certain types of users and audiences, which will be interesting to see, but gaming is a “big church” and that means it’s relevant to all kinds of verticals .

Neil Pummell, UK sales manager at Anzu, agreed, adding that “there are brands that are going to have natural synergies and game strategies with a natural connection”, and that in-game advertising is open. to most brands in most cases.

Celebrate and use differences to maximize success

So how can brands approach different games to see what works best for them? How can they guess which game genres their marketing investments or activations are best suited for?

There is no simple one-word answer to these questions. Otherwise, let’s be honest, every brand would be in every game all the time – much to the chagrin of gamers.

Instead, choosing a game genre to showcase your ads depends on the game’s audience, the games themselves, and the brands being advertised.

We leave you with a few final tips:

  • Mix and match game genres based on trial and error and contextual advertising to find the best fit for your brand message.
  • Remember to give things a fair shot. Just because a game contains violence or doesn’t at first seem brand safe or an odd choice doesn’t mean it won’t automatically succeed. Look at DHL, whose mascot has become an icon overnight in the world of DOTA esports.
  • Apply your brand in unexpected ways and dare to be different. This can be an asset for your advertising campaign.

Curious which games your brand would be best suited for? Contact the Anzu team today.


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