Are You Paying Attention? How Gaming Sets A Higher Bar For Advertising Engagement

We live in an attention economy, and content is constantly at our fingertips, but popular pastimes are all subject to ad distraction. However, gaming has emerged as a channel helping to drive huge attention rates thanks to its lean in nature and lack of second screening.

Anzu, the world’s most advanced in-game advertising solution, and Lumen Research, the global attention technology company, set out to understand how attention-rich gaming is through an extensive two-year study. The highlights have been published in a report which provides insight into whether the focus on gameplay can apply to advertising and how capturing attention and recall relates to purchase intent and brand preference.

How effective is gaming as an advertising medium?

With the average global ad-blocking rate at 37%, 52% of all consumers ignoring TV ads, and 65% skipping video ads, this has begun to raise questions about the quality and value of ad delivery and media impressions. 

In contrast, gaming is an immersive and lean-forward medium. Gamers are focused and dedicate time to their experience. They are incredibly passionate and are fully immersed in the game’s world. The study found that gamers viewed 85% of ad impressions, and data from Anzu’s in-game ad campaigns in specific showed that impressions can range from 67% to 94%.

How much attention does gaming demand?

With advertising, there’s a finite amount of time to capture attention and for a message to be translated into someone's memory. Lumen advises that two seconds of viewing is a critical threshold for ensuring that scarce attention is translated into accessible memory. With this in mind, in-game advertising formats were compared against 42 other popular digital formats from the Lumen database. The study found that the average time spent viewing ads is 2.9 seconds, but only 43% of these 42 formats and 19% of non-YouTube formats exceeded that 2-second threshold.

In contrast, the study showed in-game advertising drives more attention by a much larger margin, exceeding 69% of all other digital advertising formats. Furthermore, in-game ad campaigns run with Anzu went above this number exceeding 76% of all other digital advertising formats.

Infographic Anzu _ Lumen Report (2)

Good for Players, Good for Brands

After showing how much attention gaming drives, the report also delves into how this attention can impact a brand. When comparing the test results with the control audiences, the research showed a 7% point uplift, with those exposed to the ads more likely to make a purchase. The uplift in purchase intent was also especially significant for challenger brands, with the top 10 campaigns studied seeing an uplift of 14%.

Infographic Anzu _ Lumen Report (1)



Even though it would be easy to think of in-game media environments as fast-paced, in-game ads do well because ads are on screen longer and are hard to ignore as they’re so close to the action. Players are constantly engaged with their game, so in turn, they engage with the ads. 

However, with in-game advertising, ensuring your ads complement the gameplay and become part of the experience is incredibly important. In Anzu’s previous study, which delved into how UK and US gamers feel about advertising in games, when asked what advice you would give to advertisers looking to advertise in games, the most popular answer across all age groups was ‘always make your advertising as relevant as possible to the environment.’

Infographic Anzu _ Lumen Report (3)

Looking ahead

It’s clear from these findings that gaming, and more specifically intrinsic in-game advertising, drives enormous attention rates like nothing we have seen before. It’s also interesting to see how this attention translates into uplifts in areas like purchase intent and brand recall. To really understand the importance of gaming, however, brands need to look beyond the data and test out these environments for themselves. With in-game advertising now offering advertisers everything they are used to from other digital channels (targeting, reporting, fraud prevention, third-party measurement) and with standards and benchmarks now in place from the IAB and MRC, there has never been a better time to discover how gaming can level up your advertising strategy. 

Download the free report ‘Are You Paying Attention: How Gaming Sets A Higher Bar For Advertising Engagement’ in full here to access many more insights into how gaming drives attention.


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