Walid Ramadan, General Manager of regionally based AdTech solution provider, MMP World Wide explains why businesses literally need to put their ads in the game. MMP World Wide recently announced its partnership with the in-game advertising and video game monetization platform, Bidstack.
According to a recent study by PwC, in-game advertising is turning into a significant market. Across the spectrum, businesses are finding ways to incorporate advertising and e-commerce into their strategies, and as research reveals many are laying their bets on in-game advertising.
Walid Ramadan, General Manager of regionally based AdTech solution provider, MMP World Wide discusses the firm’s latest partnership with Bidstack, an in-game advertising & video game monetization platform in the realm of the scope of in-game advertising across the region.
What do you think is the future of in-game advertising, especially with respect to this region?
I think we’re seeing the sector grow a lot right now as marketers start to realize the potential of this channel, especially when it comes to opportunities within esports ahead of the World Cup in November. There’s a lot of investment that’s being allocated to the video game sector too, as the MENA region emerges as a hub for more localized gaming and development, as well as a natural host for major esports tournaments.
Most recently, Saudi Arabia announced a plan to boost the country’s GDP by $13.3bn and create 39,000 jobs by 2030, which goes to show that this isn’t a passing trend - this platform is only going to get bigger and more sophisticated over the next few years. The current estimation is that the MENA gaming market will be worth $5bn by 2025.
How will MMP's partnership with Bidstack cater to the gamers population in the region?
It’s about enhancing the current gaming space and building ads into existing worlds, not the other way around. This technology will allow us to really craft content that is personalized to the game in a way that becomes seamless and non-disruptive. We’re able to use the data to shape the content creatively, so it doesn’t become a one-size-fits-all solution, but something that can adapt and evolve along with the user journey.
From a brand perspective, this technology will allow them to reach a captive audience in a 100% brand-safe environment that is already primed for users to spend more time and money in-game. It’s a win-win I think.
Which elements of in-game advertising do you think can help brands and advertisers build brand awareness?
In-game sponsorship is one of the best ways to maximize visibility because of the branding opportunities it can afford. Think of a football match and all the potential places your logo can be visible - the hoarding, the player's kits, etc. Rewarded gaming is also a favorable option for brands because of the gratifying nature of the format - i.e the player has a positive association with your brand because you rewarded them for doing something.
What in-game advertising formats do you think work best in the region?
I don’t think there is the best format because every brand will have different campaign objectives and the solution should be tailored to that. However, as I said above, for increased brand awareness then in-game sponsorship and branded events are good options to attract a large community and make sure your message is seen.
How can marketers navigate and choose the right platforms for in-game advertising, with respect to their KPIs and also ensure effectiveness?
It all begins with setting the campaign KPIs and agreeing on the desired outcome before putting metrics in place that will establish a decent ROI. You then need to work with the right partners who can advise on the relevant format, creative concept, and budget to ensure it is a success. I’m not overly simplifying things here, but sometimes people get so carried away with the technology that they forget the basics. This is a channel that has huge potential but it has to also make sense for the campaign objectives, otherwise the experience for both the brand and the end-user will be extremely negative.
What tips do you have for marketers venturing into in-game advertising for the first time?
Educate yourself on the environment you want to create ads for because it is a very diverse platform with so many different demographics to cater for. For example, female gamers are considered to be one of the most underserved groups, yet in the Emirates, 58% of females are into digital gaming, while in the Kingdom that number stands at 69%.
It’s also worth doing your homework on how best to plan media for this channel, because when we say it’s ‘always on’ we mean it literally - it’s live and happening in the moment, so you really need to understand how gamers consume their content and what will engage them the most. This is why programmatic in-game advertising is one of the best ways for advertisers to take advantage of this rapidly evolving space.
After numerous privacy breaches making headlines in the past two years, how do you think advertisers and marketers can adapt to this technology while also winning their consumers' trust?
Relevancy and purpose are the two main things that advertisers need to get right, so it’s not intrusive, but actually beneficial to the end consumer. In-game advertising allows for effective targeting to help with this, so it’s not limited to just the game that a variety of different demographics may play, but to a specific interest as well.
How capable is the MENA region of inculcating in-game advertising in its ecosystem? What makes this region different from any other in the world?
Very capable. The MENA region is known for adapting fast and capitalizing on areas that will help enhance its reputation for innovation and growth. This is certainly true of the gaming market, and by extension, the ability to run in-game ads to boost further revenue. The UAE’s gamers’ spend per capita is the largest in the region and one of the highest in the world, while last year Saudi Arabia had the biggest consumption of video games in the MENA region. According to Research & Marketing, in three years gamers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are expected to rise to 85.76 million too. Now is the time for us to take advantage of this regional advantage.