iSPOT: Ad Networks Support Video Ads On Casual Game Sites

WESTMINSTER, CO, April 16, 2008, Ken Liebeskind — The popularity of running video ads on casual gaming sites is accelerating, with ad networks championing them. “The click through rates are better than in-stream advertising and you can target down to the demographics,” said Michael Shehan, CEO of SpotXchange, the ad network that is running video ads on eGames.com, Slingo.com, Moola.com and Lycos’s Gamesville.com.

Ty Levin, vice president of marketing for NeoEdge Networks, Mountain View, Calif., an ad network that works exclusively with game sites and provides inventory to SpotXchange, said video ads work with games because of the high viewership. “Eighty-seven percent of the people who saw the ad watched at least to the midway point and 66 percent watched the entire ad,” he said. The reason for the high numbers is “the ad is the only thing in front of the players when the game is loading or they’re pausing in the break of a game, so it’s not like a display ad on a page of content. It’s the only game in town, which makes the genre exciting for marketers.”

Sephirah Feinberg, an account coordinator at Big Fuel Communications, New York, an agency that has bought casual game video ads at SpotXchange, said, “They have high click throughs that reach women as the primary demographic. We were advised that there’s a large contingent for female stay at homes so we ran ads on gaming networks, along with local news and entertainment channels. We found out there’s a strong female demographic that’s into casual gaming for a highly engaging interactive experience.”

Shehan said, “Most casual games sites run static or rich media banners before the game, but video advertising has a greater impact and generates a higher click through.” The click through rates are between one and five percent, he said.

The video ads SpotXchange plays with casual games are 15 or 30 second ads with 300 x 250 companion banners. The ads play before the games start or between levels of a game. SpotXchange runs the ads with a frequency cap of 1, so they don’t repeat during a game, Shehan said.

The engagement of video ads on game publisher sites, as demonstrated by the high click through rates, warrants higher CPMs, Shehan said. “Video ads will generate between $10-$20 CPM on average (sometimes higher) as opposed to other forms of in-game ads like banners, which generate anywhere between $1-$5 CPM.”

Meanwhile, there is a lot of “untapped inventory” at casual game sites because “marketers aren’t familiar with casual gaming,” Shehan said. SpotXchange and NeoEdge Networks are seeking to change that.

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