Brands ‘buying blind’ on gaming ad networks, says publisher

Ad networks are failing to provide brands with appropriate advertising space within mobile games, according to games publisher Gameloft.

Gameloft aims to deepen engagement through tailored in-game adverts
Gameloft aims to deepen engagement through tailored in-game adverts

UK and Ireland country manager David Whitby said the complexity of using ad networks meant that brands were “buying blind” from games publishers, often leading to ineffective or inappropriate ad placements.

“I think everyone would agree that the current system has its flaws,” he told Marketing Week.

The comments coincide with Gameloft’s announcement that it is opening up its ad inventory to sell directly to brands. The company, which has 10 million monthly users in the UK, counts Despicable Me: Minion Rush, Pastry Paradise and Brothers in Arms among its titles.

Whitby said Gameloft had faced a small number of Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigations due to problems caused by using ad networks in the past. This included adverts for gambling brands appearing in its children’s games and an explicit trailer for a horror film that was shown before the evening watershed.

The ASA found in Gameloft’s favour in all cases, but the publisher opted to stop using networks and assume control of selling its own inventory.

Gameloft is also offering brands access to its in-house creative team and consumer insight in order to develop advertising solutions that it claims will “complement the gaming experience and deliver better engagement”.

This could include adverts that appear as interactive mini-games or that provide users with in-game rewards when they show engagement.

Whitby said: “The demand for mobile, video and creative high impact formats is growing, but until today mobile game advertising has been opaque, with little control over where and when your ads appear.

“This has led to advertising that is intrusive and out of tune with the playing experience. In choosing to open our premium games for select advertising we’re insisting that brands deal direct with us, so that they can trust they are reaching the right audience at the right time.”


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