Is it game over for in-game marketing?

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By Sahil Chopra, Founder & CEO, iCubesWire

Advertisements have become an inseparable part of our everyday lives. No matter where we go, we come across ads in different forms, from a kiosk put up in public to a notification on something as personal as your mobile phone. What makes a video or a catchphrase viral is the proper use of the advertising platforms. Effective advertising is all about leveraging the right advertising platform, enabling you to push your campaign’s visibility and reach your target audiences.

In-game advertising has been around for a while, and several brands use the strategy to grab more eyeballs. It is a win-win situation for the game developers and brands as well. In-game advertising gives an impetus to the game’s revenue and opens the window for brands to reach their customers on their smart gadgets.

Just when brands had begun utilizing the full potential of in-game advertising, China took an unexpected step against gaming addiction by placing restrictions on gaming for minors. The government-imposed regulation will limit minors to the gameplay of three hours a week. As a result, marketing experts anticipate massive changes coming to the cost of advertising, especially as far as the young demographic is concerned. However, the new notice issued on August 30th does not limit the gaming access to 18 years old and above users. After the news hit the media, the Chinese game developers Tencent and Netease witnessed a decline in their share by 3%.

With the new regulations in check, we might see a gradual decrease in the number of in-game marketing opportunities to reach young gamers in China. If not gaming, marketers will be cornered to allocate more budget to different marketing strategies to penetrate a specific market. In the long run, markers will need to pay heed to this demographic, which will rely on what more new changes come in the world of gaming. Marketers will need to recognize gaming platforms that enable them to engage, sustain and monetize their target audience. Experts suggest that gaming platforms might increase the cost for this particular age group with a reduced frequency of ads, which will result in a sky-rocketed price for in-game marketing.

Marketers must explore different channels with fewer restrictions to engage under-18s so as not to leave a significant chunk of their target audience behind. For example, we will see many user-generated video content on social media platforms for under-18s, talking about game time management, strategy, and gameplays. This will open the doors for marketers to tie up with rising content creators and work around engaging advertising strategies out of the game. According to Quest Mobile, about 34.8% of paying users are 19-30 years old. Hence, brands should aggressively grab on the opportunity to leverage from the over-18 demographic and make the most out of it for a while.

In-game advertising might have been restricted to one of the premium demographics in China. Still, it is far from affecting India, and we will see in-game advertising flourish before such restrictions make it to the country. We will see brands work on unique marketing strategies to address the need of the hour and drive desired exposure.


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