We sat down with Massive CEO Mitch Davis to discuss how brands are finding their place among all the video game action. Here are highlights from his candid interview.
Massive’s Video Game Network and Player Demographics
What is Massive
- A video game advertising network.
- Massive aggregates multiple games from multiple publishers, both PC and console. They broadcast advertising across a network using dynamic technology, which allows them to run campaigns for advertisers.
- Massive represents 20 of the top 25 publishers in the business in the US and overseas, and has over 30 of the top 50 advertisers in the country running in its network.
The Video Gamer
- The console/PC video game player is 96.7%, 18-34 year old men.
- 18-34 year old men are playing video games four times as much as watching television.
Time Spent Playing
- Peak time for men playing video games is between 6pm-12 pm.
- The average game session on the Massive network is 96 minutes.
Trends Between Different Countries or Ethnic Groups
- Overseas, there are different patterns of behavior. In Southeast Asia, MMOG (Massive Multiplayer Online Games) both in China and South Korea is the dominant form of gaming.
- In the US, MMOG is popular and on the rise, but the standard PC and console games are dominant forms of gaming.
Measurement and ROI
- Massive works hand in hand with the video game producer and publisher. It looks at the game world, works out where advertising will enhance game and then inserts placements.
- Within a game, Massive can change a billboard, poster or object. It can even change 3D objects and new types of ad creative units are always being developed.
- Example: One might expect billboards to change in NY’s Times Square. One might see an ad for Coke and the next minute see an ad for a Jeep.
Advertising Costs and Length
- The costs for video game advertising are comparable with cable television.
- Video game advertising campaigns usually run between two-four weeks.
- Massive has defined an advertising unit in a video game that suits the game. In TV, there are 30,15, and 10 second ad units. In video games, a 15 second cumulative ad unit of a minimum size in a minimum angle to the screen has been defined. This ad is not counted as an impression until it hits all of those thresholds, and is very much tailored to the game.
Innovative Advertising Campaigns
- There will be a lot of innovation in video games over the next three-four years.
- The mantra Massive holds dear is that game playing is the number one priority, and advertising should enhance the game playing experience.
- Of the six million game sessions that Massive has run, there have been had no complaints from gamers because of the close attention paid to what advertising should do in the game.
- Advertising has to enhance the look and realism of the game. It also has to have a minimus impact on game playing itself from a technical standpoint.
- Deep integrations are terrific provided that they enhance the game playing.Key Metrics
- Massive also measures brand effectiveness. Brand recall is between 30-55%, which was seen across four recent campaigns.
- Brand recall is three to four times higher than broadcast TV, which shows the power of the video game medium.
- Video gamers are very cognitive and mentally involved in the game. They are not Tivo-ing or multi-tasking. They are watching the game and seeing the advertising, which is why brand recall is so high.
Massive’s Relationship With Nielsen
- Massive is working with Nielsen on its rating system, ad unit definitions, measurement and research.
Brand Integration into Video Games
Different Advertising and Brand Integration Methods
- There are three types of advertising methods:
1. A network model as Massive operates, where a brand buys the network, achieves large scale reach and runs advertising campaigns with fixed frequency and measurability for those campaigns. This dynamic advertising method will represent 80% of the billion dollar video game advertising market.
2. Deep integrations, which are hard coded product placements, like in TV. This method is for brands that want a particular type of experience within the context of the game. This method will represent 10-15% of the video game advertising market.
3. Advergaming, where a brand will do a purpose built short play game built around a brand. In TV terms, this method is similar to an infomercial. This method will represent 5-10% of the market.
Favorite Branded Entertainment Campaigns
- A campaign Massive ran for Universal Music and Motley Crew. Motley Crew was re-launching an album called Red White and Crew which generated enormous word of mouth in game chat rooms and message boards. This campaign showed the power of video games and how closely people pay attention to them. This unique aspect of community that comes with video game, which is quite unlike any other medium.
How a Brand Creates a Video Game Strategy
- Brands should understand the demographic and psychographics of the users, what game players like and what advertising needs look like within a game.
- Massive operates exactly like a cable or broadcast television network. It works with the client directly and/or with their ad agency and defines the brand’s objectives.
- Massive helps develop the media plan across its video game ad network.
- Typically, the agency will give Massive the creative, and Massive makes sure it looks exactly right in each game.
- By Q1 2006, Massive will have almost 60 games in its network.
- A brand can run global campaigns or target specific campaigns in different cities and at different times.
- Example: Massive works with Paramount’s movie releases. There was one campaign where the movie first opened in LA and NY and then went national. When it went national, so did its video game campaign.
- Over the next 12-24 months we will see video game advertising as part of more and more integrated program.
Benefits for a Game Publisher to Partner with Massive
- Two things: Revenue and realism.
- On the realism side, advertising enhances game playing. Gamers are embracing and enjoying seeing real ads in games.
- On the revenue side, Massive enables publishers to capture previously unavailable incremental profit from their games of $1 to $2 per unit.
The Future of Video Games and Advertising
Trends and Innovations
- Video games are in constant innovation.
- With Gen3 consoles coming out, we will see enormous new processing power, graphics cards and very exciting new games.
- The level of realism and online capabilities in the new games coming out from our publishing partners will expand tremendously in three-five years.
- Creatively this opens up new opportunities for new types of advertising units, ecommerce and community.
- Mobile games is an exciting market with a lot of activity. It will be a multi-billion market in the next few years.
- Games have emerged as a key place to break new bands and for new music to be exposed to a key demographic.
- There are great examples of video game music:
Madden from EA’s soundtrack which is multi-platinum. Tony Hawk from Activision’s really powerful soundtrack, which is closely associated with the game.
- Long term, there are a number of exciting technology opportunities that will emerge in the space within two-three years.
Massive’s Relationship With Skyworks
- Massive is excited about the casual game (or advergaming) space because it tends to reach new demographics like women and children.