Converting Players to Payers: Can Intrinsic In-Game Ads Boost Purchase Intent?

Purchase intent looks at the potential of a consumer to buy a product or service, reflecting their readiness to convert from being interested in an ad to making an actual transaction. For brands, purchase intent is a valuable tool that provides insight into how they can make meaningful connections with audiences, boost conversions, and deepen engagement and loyalty through compelling messaging.

Given that it is a relatively new channel, intrinsic in-game advertising (IIGA) has previously been hard to measure, and for a long time, it has been seen as a driver of success at the top of the marketing funnel. However, the way we analyze and report on the format has become more advanced, and we’ve learned through recent studies that purchase intent acts as a bridge between top-of-the-funnel marketing activities and the ultimate goal of driving revenue. 

Revealing our research insights

Research we carried out with attention experts Lumen found that IIGA commands strong attention levels and leaves a lasting impression on players, scoring highly in the area of purchase consideration. The research showed that 6 in 10 players said they would be likely to buy from a brand after viewing our in-game ads.

To follow up last year’s report, we carried out new research last month with Happydemics, an advertising performance measurement expert company, to compare IIGA against traditional advertising formats, including display, video, and CTV.

The research found that IIGA is highly effective at driving success across the entire marketing funnel, outperforming digital media norms at every stage. When it comes to purchase intent, IIGA scored five percentage points higher than the online media benchmark and achieved an average score of 53%.

Why IIGA drives strong purchase power

IIGA does a great job at driving players towards a purchase when compared to traditional media norms. But why is this the case? 

The non-disruptive nature of these ads is one key reason, given that it doesn’t interrupt players or hinder their engagement during gameplay. Instead, the ads become part of the action where players are most engaged, evoking strong attention levels and enhancing the overall playing experience.

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Due to their seamless integration into the game environment, IIGA also brings realism to popular titles and complements gameplay. This helps players create a positive association between the brand and their gaming experience, making them more likely to consider them when making an in-category purchase when compared to more disruptive advertising formats.

And despite popular misconceptions that most gamers are kids, students, or unemployed people with nothing better to do, our US Gaming Report found that gamers are actually affluent, with almost half earning over $60k each year and nearly a quarter earning over $120k per year. This shows that gaming audiences have the financial means to make in-game purchases, and that games are the ideal place for advertisers to be if they want to drive engaged audiences towards making a purchase decision.

Which types of brands can boost purchase intent with in-game ads?

According to our findings, luxury goods is a great example of a category of brands that should look to IIGA to drive consumers towards a purchase. Despite featuring expensive products, ads featuring luxury goods generate more consideration behavior than other verticals, scoring 4 percentage points higher for purchase consideration than the digital media benchmark. 

However, our success stories show that no matter what vertical you are from, intrinsic in-game can help your brand boost purchase intent. Last year, we worked with fashion house Tommy Hilfiger to help them drive awareness of their Classics Reborn Spring Campaign with a new, untapped audience of players. Targeting males and females aged 30 to 35 in Berlin, Milan, London, and Paris (where their stores were located), we helped the premium lifestyle brand integrate display and video creatives across a series of premium mobile and PC titles, where they achieved a 23pt lift in purchase intent.

We also worked with American distribution company and record label EMPIRE to promote hip hop artist Babyface Ray’s album ‘Face’ to a broad demographic audience that played a range of popular titles. To do this, we launched impactful in-game creatives across premium mobile and PC games, such as Ubisoft’s Trackmania, Axis Football, and Ultimate Car Driving Simulator. The campaign achieved a 10% lift in purchase intent and a 90% viewability rate, outperforming digital display advertising norms.

Another category of brands that we’ve seen perform well is in the finance arena. We recently worked with a well-known US bank to drive awareness among younger bankers and investors within the gaming space. We achieved this by integrating display ads within popular mobile and PC titles across various game verticals, helping financially-savvy gamers connect with the brand in an authentic and non-intrusive way. The campaign helped the bank see a 32% lift in purchase intent and a 51% lift in brand favorability.

IIGA: an innovative way to drive purchase intent

The evolution of intrinsic in-game advertising (IIGA) represents a significant shift in how brands can effectively engage with consumers, driving purchase intent and ultimately boosting revenue. The non-disruptive nature of IIGA, combined with its seamless integration into gameplay and ability to reach affluent gaming audiences, makes it a powerful tool for brands looking to make meaningful connections with their target demographics. 

Whether you’re promoting luxury goods, music albums, or financial services, our success stories demonstrate the versatility and impact of IIGA in driving purchase intent and achieving tangible results for brands. As the gaming industry continues to grow and evolve, leveraging intrinsic in-game advertising presents an exciting opportunity for brands to engage with consumers in innovative ways and drive meaningful business outcomes.

To dive deeper into how you can launch your next in-game ad campaign or add it to your omnichannel strategy, fill out the form below, and we’ll be in touch!

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Kyle Kramer

Kyle works as Anzu’s Senior Insights and Research Manager. With experience spanning the media and technology industry, he is dedicated to uncovering what makes in-game advertising unique.

Kyle Kramer