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TalkTalk Quantifies In-gaming Advertising’s Impact on Consumer Engagement

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Broadband provider TalkTalk has revealed the findings of recent research conducted to find in-gaming advertising’s impact on consumer engagement.

TalkTalk supported by agency partner m/SIX, programmatic advertising partner and Outcome Media Company Xaxis, and in-game advertising platform Bidstack, commissioned eye-tracking specialist Lumen Research to study how ads were seen within gaming environments and how messaging for its fibre broadband service reached and resonated with gaming audiences.

Developed to explore attention, brand perception and purchase intent within the rapidly growing sector of in-game advertising, the study incorporated players on PC engaged with popular football and racing games.

Highlights from the study include:

After experiencing the in-game ads there was an uplift of 12% points in purchase intent.

Almost half (48%) of the study participants were able to spontaneously recall TalkTalk, rising to 58% when prompted. Whereas the benchmark for prompted is 33%, when looking at digital display (desktop and mobile) and Facebook Infeed (mobile).

Attention generated by the in-game ads in this study equates to 29 minutes of consumer attention per thousand impressions – a remarkable rate when compared to the industry average for online advertising (including desktop display, mobile display, and Facebook mobile Infeed) of 17.5 minutes per thousand impressions.

The study found that the average dwell time was 13% higher for the TalkTalk ads than the industry average of 1.6 seconds for online advertising (including desktop display, mobile display, and Facebook mobile Infeed).

TalkTalk’s in-game ads were viewed by up to 96% of the study participants. In comparison, an industry average of 67% of online advertising (including desktop display, mobile display, and Facebook mobile Infeed) ad impressions are viewed.

Over eight in ten (84%) felt the ads were suitable for the in-game environment.

Joe Bremend, Media Manager of TalkTalk, said: “Gaming is a large and ever-growing part of how consumers utilise their broadband services – accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic. Having the ability to effectively reach and engage with this growing and valuable audience, in an environment where they are increasingly spending time, and share marketing messages that drive brand awareness is a game-changer. It is particularly promising to see this campaign perform so well against some of the most relied on digital advertising KPIs, which bodes well for the future of in-game campaigns.”

Gareth Rees, Communications Planning & Strategy Director of m/Six, said: “Gaming is a fast-growing form of entertainment with an enormous global audience that spans a range of demographics, yet it’s a relatively nascent channel for advertising. This groundbreaking study proves the value of in-game advertising for brand awareness activations, with the ability to generate attention when consumers are fully immersed in gaming environments and drive positive outcomes.”

Gaming

How Adtech Platform AudioMob Is Changing The Mobile Game Monetization Through Amazon Web Services

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How Adtech Platform AudioMob Is Changing The Mobile Game Monetization Through Amazon Web Services
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

AudioMob was founded after we spotted a tremendous monetization opportunity for game developers.

Rewarded video ads in mobile games have made developers and publishers money, but always at the expense of interrupting games. Yet these interruptions don’t just irritate players, they can even push them away from a game entirely, thereby damaging retention. This can be incredibly frustrating for game developers, who have put time and craft into building games that they want to have thrive, both creatively and commercially.

In considering the solution to this challenge, the core AudioMob concept was born. We let advertisers reach their consumers and game developers monetize their games without interrupting gameplay by using audio ads. ‘In-game audio ads’ are what we do, and we’ve seen developers implement them in truly interesting ways.

Larger tech companies, such as Facebook and Google, already offer ad platforms. This begs the question – why create a new platform?

The answer is straightforward. Existing Demand Side Platforms (or DSPs) cannot deliver audio ads in-game. Our Ad Platform enables advertisers to serve In-game audio ads with banners while users play their game. Therefore, players are given something to click on to head to a landing page or another app, should they feel engaged by the ad.

That potential is most powerfully demonstrated through an active example of AudioMob. Grammy award winning artist Nas and his label Mass Appeal created the following audio ad in order to promote his new album, King’s Disease II. They were confident that mobile games would expose them to wider audiences. This also presents an example of how personal and direct audio ads can feel.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) suite has proved to be a powerful tool in helping us achieve our vision for in-game audio ads as an option that is better for players, advertisers, and game developers.

Why Amazon Web Services?

What we’re doing is unique, so we needed to build a unique stack, and AWS matched our vision and ambition. Be it hosting everything from our user interface to providing a Content Delivery Network (CDN), AWS lets AudioMob serve audio content worldwide in milliseconds.

Meeting AudioMob Privacy Requirements with AWS

On the subject of digital advertising, undoubtedly you will notice the privacy conversation occurring around the world. We believe audio advertising makes it possible to respect the privacy of our users while ensuring the games and apps we love remain free to play.

We’ve deliberately built privacy-first adtech that places contextuality at its core. This approach allows for the ‘best of both worlds,’ letting ads find relevant audiences without utilizing personal data.

However, ad campaigns inevitably generate large amounts of data. This includes the data about a campaign’s success as well as aggregated contextual data held for 90 days and more. And that means we have data to keep safe beyond the data that is processed and stored so that it can be analyzed for insight.

AWS infrastructure aligns with our privacy stance and has achieved numerous internationally-recognized certifications and accreditations. It has demonstrated compliance with rigorous international standards, such as ISO 27017 for cloud security, ISO 27701 for privacy information management, and ISO 27018 for cloud privacy.

Meeting Advertiser Demand with EC2

Choosing the AWS product line started with building our own DSP. A DSP ultimately lets advertisers buy ad space within websites and apps. Ours is known as the AudioMob Ad Platform, and it lets advertisers create, manage, and set the targeting criteria of their advertising campaigns, thereby delivering the right ads to the right people, optimizing, analyzing success, and much more.

When artists or brands want to start a campaign through the AudioMob Ad Platform, they upload an mp3 file and a banner image that is instantly compressed through our internal code hosted on AWS. Compressing those larger file assets to a global average of 35KB, AudioMob can later distribute those ads without latency concerns and into countries with slower mobile data connection speeds. Rendering and content load issues become non-existent.

AWS Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) provides instant access to server space, computing power, and various databases. Purpose-built to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers like us, EC2’s accessibility in 25 regions and 81 availability zones globally allows for an efficiency never seen before.

As a leader within the adtech industry, we couldn’t build our own equivalents to what AWS offers. We’re motivated to deliver player-centric ads that impact equally well for advertisers and game developers. To do that well, we have employed the AWS stack knack for scalability and elasticity, global reach, and intelligent data storage options.

Delivering Ads with CloudFront

Over 2.8 billion mobile gamers spend an average of 26 minutes per day on gaming apps. This provides AudioMob the unique opportunity to quickly serve audio ads to around 40,000 games. Based on the last three months of internal data, this allows an average impression rate of 372,908 per day, leading to a 1,000% increase in click-through-rate as compared to traditional banner ads.

We let advertisers reach users based on age, gender, location, language, mobile device, and mobile carrier through our Ad Platform. The process works as follows: ad slots open in games and are filled in a fraction of a second, as multiple advertisers make a bid for the opportunity to connect with a player. This makes a Content Delivery Network essential, as our audio content must reach the end user in any location defined by our advertisers without delay.

Wherever we deliver an ad in a game, AWS’ Cloudfront’s vast geographic spread puts us anywhere globally, thereby ensuring that AudioMob fills the available advertising space extremely fast, and with minimal latency. Furthermore, this ensures that we fill ads in a timely manner, and can continue to deliver the non-interrupting audio ads into mobile games anywhere that advertisers have specified.

Before these developments, we handled many of these processes in-house, which was pretty costly to our bottom line. AWS’s Cloudfront integration allows data serving capabilities without transfer fees for origin fetches, and it offers custom Transport Layer Security (TLS) certification at no charge. Most importantly, the highly secure Content Delivery Network provides both the network and application comforting levels of security.

Meeting Reporting Requirements with S3, RedShift, and Glacier

Measuring creative engagement and providing campaign reporting is critical in advertising. We have built volume detection with selected partners, so that brands can be sure that players hear ads rather than mute them or set the volume extremely low. Furthermore, we can track whether users mute, close, or click on an ad. However, all of this requires data processing, storage, and reporting.

At AudioMob, we utilize Amazon S3 to store our campaign serving logs and RedShift for analysis. That lets us keep our data secure, while giving advertisers the power to optimise their audio ad campaigns based on the insights we provide using RedShift.

RedShift is a column-oriented DBMS database management system (DBMS) that stores data tables by column rather than by row and utilizes parallel processing to enable fast execution. This makes querying large amounts of data extremely fast and lets our advertisers query campaign data within milliseconds (0.7 seconds).

In addition, we utilize the AWS cold storage solution S3 Glacier. For data inquiries older than five years, this yields slower but reasonable query times (around 100x our RedShift query times). This is achieved by using Amazon Redshift Spectrum, which lets us query data from older campaigns directly from our log files stored on Amazon S3.

AWS facilitates the potential of audio

Ultimately, AWS has provided AudioMob with backend tools and services that greatly aid the performance of the ad format we’ve created. It’s been a perfect accompaniment to our rapid growth, helped us stay elastic and scalable, let us meet the needs of real-time international bidding, and support our data values and strategy. As well, of course, it lets our tech empower advertisers to reach wider audiences.

“The team here at AudioMob are extremely proud of everything we built ourselves, from the in-game audio ad concept to executing and expanding our company. We did those things ourselves – but AWS has facilitated our progress in myriad ways, and ultimately been a tremendous help in letting us deliver on our vision of in-game audio ads as a more user friendly and seamless advertising experience.” – Wilfrid Obeng, Co-Founder & CTO, AudioMob

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Gaming

Nordisk Games acquires Flashbulb Games, creators of Trailmakers, the innovative physics-based, open-world build-em-up

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Nordisk Games acquires Flashbulb Games, creators of Trailmakers, the innovative physics-based, open-world build-em-up
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Nordisk Games acquires 100% of the Danish games studio having previously acquired a minority stake  back in 2017

Copenhagen-based Nordisk Games has acquired the Danish games studio Flashbulb Games, having previously invested 16.5 million DKK in the studio for a 43% stake. Depending on the studio’s financial performance in the coming years, the 100% acquisition price can amount to several hundred million DKK.

”Flashbulb is a studio packed with talented and experienced developers, who understand and enjoy the challenge of creating really unique games and turning them into commercial success. Having collaborated really well for the past five years we were keen to increase our involvement, which led to the discussion with the founders to acquire 100% of the studio. We now very much look forward to continuing to work together for many years to come,” said Martin Walfisz, Senior Partner at Nordisk Games and chairman of Flashbulb Games.

Flashbulb Games are best known as the creators of Trailmakers, an innovative open-world physics-based game where players can build vehicles through a simple drag and drop system and use them to explore and compete. Its latest game, Rubber Bandits, is a cross-platform multiplayer party game launching on Xbox, Playstation and Steam on December the 2nd. The studio was founded in 2016 by Rune Dittmer, Ole Teglbjærg, Mikkel Thorsted and Lasse Outzen, who had previously worked together at Press Play.

“Nordisk Games were the first to invest in us not long after we founded the studio, and they have always been super-supportive while at the same time being happy to let us dictate the direction of the business. In a way, becoming a full part of Nordisk Games will be no different to our experiences of working with Martin and Sofie on the board, and the rest of the Nordisk Games team. You could say that we have been dating for the last few years, and now we are finally getting married,” said Rune Dittmer, Managing Partner & Co-Founder at Flashbulb Games.

Nordisk Games is owned by the entertainment company Nordisk Film, which is a part of Egmont, a leading Nordic media group. In recent years Nordisk Games has built a high growth portfolio of minority and majority-owned game studios that includes Avalanche  Studios Group, Supermassive Games, Star Stable Entertainment and MercurySteam. To date, Nordisk Games has invested more than €200 million in games studios based across Europe, with more than 1,100 talented employees.

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Gaming

Antstream Arcade brings world’s largest library of retro games to the Epic Games Store

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Epic Games Store adds 1200 new games with the addition of Antstream Arcade
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Global leader in cloud gaming Antstream Arcade launches on the Epic Games Store today, bringing its library of over 1200 games to millions of gamers world-wide. Epic’s users will be able to play iconic video games from the arcade era and beyond, for free, through Antstream Arcade’s dedicated platform.

The first pure cloud gaming platform to be added to the Epic Games Store, Antstream boasts the largest library of games of any cloud gaming service, with iconic classics including Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Mortal Kombat. Antstream Arcade provides the best way for players to enjoy a huge range of retro and casual games – from definitive classics to obscure curios – for free, with no downloads or microtransactions.

As part of a 7-day offer to welcome new users to the platform, players will receive a free gem pack worth $14.99, which can be used to enter the many tournaments hosted on Antstream Arcade, and unlock new “challenge modes” for some of the best games of the last 40 years. Antstream will also be offering players a discount on its premium ad-free subscription option in December, with further details to be announced soon.

Steve Cottam, CEO at Antstream Arcade, said: “We are on a mission to bring some of the greatest games ever created to a socially connected global community using the latest in streaming technology. Today’s launch in the Epic Store is a huge step towards achieving that goal. We’re very excited to welcome a brand new audience to the Antstream Arcade platform, and to push the boundaries of what is possible with cloud gaming by making it accessible to everyone. Players can enjoy any of the games on Antstream Arcade for free, on almost any device. With over a thousand titles available and more being added every week, we’re confident everyone will be able to find something they enjoy.”

Antstream Arcade’s library of streamable games includes titles licenced from Disney, Warner Brothers Taito, Atari and Bandai-Namco, as well as a huge range of smaller indie developers and IP owners from across gaming history. Antstream Arcade represents not only the best way for gamers to legally play the games of the past, but also one of the only ways to continually support a game’s original creators and rights holders. In addition to providing gaming rights holders with a revenue stream for the use of their content, Antstream delivers a wealth of gameplay data from players allowing game owners to better decide how to shape their franchises for future audiences.

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