Advertising Best Practices: How to Engage the Modern Mobile Gamer

Last week, Tapjoy revealed its latest research report, titled “The Modern Mobile Gamer: Advertising Preferences Revealed.” The report provides an up-close look at today’s US mobile gamers — all 192 million of them — and what they’ve come to want and expect from ads in their favorite mobile games.

Some of the results were hardly surprising. We suspected, for instance, that mobile gamers would cite a preference for rewarded ads, which let them unlock premium content or free upgrades in exchange for their time and attention. And we could have guessed that they’d name videos as their favorite type of rewarded ad (although we might not have guessed it would be by the incredibly wide margin of 6X over other ad types).

Other findings, however, we could not have predicted. Who would have known, for instance that the old adage “Sex sells” might not be so applicable to mobile gaming ads, or that more than half of mobile gamers were willing to watch four or more video ads per day?

We encourage you to download and read the entire report for yourself, but in case you’re crunched for time, here are the highlights:

  • Consumers prefer rewarded ads over mandatory ads, such as pre-roll videos, by a 4-to-1 margin.
  • Three-quarters of consumers are likely to engage with rewarded ads and more than half are “very likely”.
  • More than half of US consumers prefer freemium apps with rewarded advertising over paid apps or traditional ad-supported apps.
  • Watching videos is a consumer’s favorite way to earn in-app rewards, preferred by at least 6X over any other type of rewarded advertising offer.
  • Humorous videos are the best way to get attention; ads featuring Sex Appeal or Famous Celebrities are among the worst ways.
  • Ads for Movies & Entertainment are the most popular category, followed by ads for Food & Restaurants, Retailers, Fitness & Healthcare, and Local Services, respectively.

So, what to make of all this? Below, we’ve broken out some of the recommended best practices for advertisers based on these new findings:

  1. Run Rewarded Mobile Video Ads. The key takeaway from this study for mobile advertisers should be to make sure you’re running rewarded video ads on mobile. If you are running them already, run more!
  2. Laughter is the Best Medicine. Grab consumers’ attention by incorporating an element of humor into your video ad campaigns. If you can get them laughing, you can get their attention.
  3. Let Your Creative Tell the Story. According to our research, 33% of consumers never play games with the audio on and only 25% turn it on depending on the game they are playing. To ensure your message resonates with all users viewing your ad, make sure your creative visually communicates your storyline & message
  4. Don’t Overdo the Sex Appeal. The old adage that “sex sells” isn’t necessarily true on mobile, as “Sex Appeal” was among the least appealing elements to consumers in our study.
  5. Forgo Paying That Big Celebrity. Although many brands shell out big bucks for celebrity endorsements, our study shows that mobile consumers don’t necessarily pay attention just because someone is famous.
  6. Keep It Short. Consumers say they felt that 15 seconds was a good length for a video ad and that they were happy to fork over that much of their time in exchange for in-app rewards.
  7. Deliver a Call-to-Action. While video ads are ideal for branding goals such as awareness and affinity, mobile campaigns are great for driving a response as well. Tapjoy’s interactive end cards run at the end of each video and offer the perfect opportunity for brands to drive consumers to download their app, visit their mobile-optimized web page, follow their social media channels, or take any other type of action they choose.

As Tapjoy CRO Shannon Jessup pointed out in her blog post last week, Tapjoy has been pioneering the rewarded advertising model on mobile since 2009, and even before then on social platforms like Facebook. Lately, a growing number of brands and advertisers have begun to fully embrace the model, knowing that rewarded advertising presents the best way to truly engage with mobile consumers.

If you’re one of the growing number of brands and agencies investing in rewarded mobile advertising, follow the best practices above to get a leg up on the competition, and contact your Tapjoy rep to learn more.