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Brand Promotion via In-Game Integrations

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It has been a long time since video games proved themselves as a segregated, formed promotion channel with its own specifics and audience behavior. It is notorious that there is a financially reliable audience in the gaming community that not only buys video games but also makes decisions about purchases of high-priced goods such as home appliances and cars. Large companies and brands, banks, and financial institutions have been using this channel for much more than one year and promoting their goods there.

Ad placement is in the interests of both parties: a brand gets coverage, and a game gains income from advertising. But there is another factor playing into the hands of game developers—product placement makes the game world more realistic for gamers.

Many FTP games stand at the market thanks to in-game ads. This practice is most often to apply in mobile and flash (placed on websites) games, but it can also be found on other platforms. Direct ads are almost not used in paid-for games, replaced with product placement.

Advantages of product placement in video games for brands:

  • discreet promotion;
  • spot impacts on consumers;
  • creation of the product image needed;
  • vast reach;
  • spread in all language groups;
  • high paying capacity of most consumers.

In-Game Advertising Formats

Advertising opportunities of in-game integrations are literally boundless and considered in more detail in our article The Types of In-Game Advertising in Russia. However, we still would like to highlight three key formats:

  • Item branding. Depending on the game and the in-game world, one can put logos and trademarks on buildings by placing huge billboards on them, brand vehicles (all the way to zeppelins), as well as signage, posters, and other game attributes.
  • Integration into the interface. For example, placing a game banner in a game launcher that all gamers logging in to a server will see.
  • Online events. This may be the most difficult and interesting one. Many people have heard about concerts of superstars in Fortnite that gather multi-million virtual arenas of gamers. A concert is only one of game event types that can be realized. It is fair to say that other bright examples are opening of the Tanuki restaurant in Minecraft, opening of an e-store on a GTA server and many, many more.

What Brands Go with In-Game Ads

The spectrum of customers is much wider than it can look like at first sight. While the territory of gaming used to encompass only brands that are somehow related to this industry (energy drinks, computers, game attributes), now virtually all FMCG companies appear on this stage.

First of all, naturally, we recommend this channel for FMCG, e-commerce, food categories. Besides, the channel is great to use on the majority of online products: online education, entertaining apps and services. This is the tip of the iceberg. That said, it is also essential to recall that such integrations can be natively used by banks in terms of activation programs. Besides, they can be actively used by taxi services at least because a bank card and taxi are key mechanics in, for instance, GTA 5 that every player uses daily.

Recommendations on in-game ad placement:

  • The brand must not be local. It must be available in many Russian cities. It means that its awareness and usability must have broad coverage.
  • The brand must be oriented towards the mass audience with a focus on youth.

Tasks Solved by In-Game Ads

In-game ads perfectly work for brand awareness and unique coverage. Additionally, when using integrations into the interface, purchases should be considered, too. Unique coverage indicators are amenable to planning in a quite simple and transparent manner. On the other hand, for sure, conversion metric indicators will directly depend on the concept and its implementation. For example, promo and QR codes can be used.

Video games are a powerful tool for brand promotion, but you should not rely only on it. It is important to use various communication channels taken together—only then the brand will get the required coverage and ensure that KPIs are met.


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About the Author

Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva
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