Frontline Marketing

Op-Ed: TV Ads Game The Holidays

By | December 7, 2016 |

Mobile advertising continues to grow rapidly, but the costs continue to rise with so many competing companies. Moreover, standing out in a crowded environment is very difficult. Those are some of the reasons advertisers like MZ (Machine Zone) have been putting mobile game ads on television. Marketers are finding, as MZ has, that cross-channel marketing can be very effective. Of course, television ads don’t offer the same incredible data stream that you can get with mobile ads, but the picture is not entirely bleak, as more companies are striving to provide advertising data that helps target TV ads.

There’s certainly no question that TV ads remain popular among console game publishers during the crucial holiday period. Data provided by iSpot.tv to VentureBeat shows this clearly. TV advertising during October was dominated by Microsoft with Xbox spending, representing nearly 40 percent of the total TV ad spend for the month. Other top console brands such as PlayStation, 2K Games, and Bethesda Softworks also had a strong presence, but MZ represented only 5.5 percent of the total spend, putting mobile gaming far down the list.

Of course, the difference is that console game publishers have significantly increased their ad spend on TV for the holidays. We see the continued strength of console games on TV as the data tracks into November, where Sony captured nearly half of the industry’s digital voice. According to iSpot.tv, the total ad spend in the period of October 16 through November 15 was $105.6 million and represented 40 brands that ran 129 different spots nearly 23,000 times.

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The reach of these TV ads is impressive; Sony generated over 700 million ad impressions from its 14 commercials that aired over 2,500 times. Microsoft generated almost 800 million ad impressions from 15 commercials airing over 3,600 times. Even Nintendo got into the TV advertising spend for that time period, generating nearly 200 million impressions for 13 commercials that aired nearly 2,000 times.

The massive influx of console games for the holiday season is not unusual, considering that this is the time for the biggest consumer spending. The added incentive this year for TV advertising is that the share of digital game sales continues to rise, thus encouraging a more direct connection with the publisher that TV ads foster. Seeing an ad for a game on TV may lead to turning on a console to download the game right away. That sort of correlation is one sort of data that game companies can track, noting the extent to which downloads increase relative to the airing of TV commercials.

Hardware is playing a big role this holiday season as well. We also now have new consoles such as the Xbox One S and PlayStation Pro. There’s also VR hardware that includes Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR, in addition to an array of new smartphones, tablets and micro-consoles. Even 4K TVs, which have dropped in price, beckon for gamers to take full advantage of the new consoles. A well-crafted television ad may help encourage people to upgrade their televisions.