Results from AdInMo’s survey of Digital Natives’ attitudes on mobile game advertising in free-to-play games
Our company, AdInMo, recently conducted a survey which asked a sample of 150 Millenials (19–35 years old) and Gen Zs (≤18 years old) living in the US and UK a number of questions regarding their mobile gaming usage and preferences. Some results were predictable, while most were fascinating and in some cases, outright surprising to us. Read on to learn more about how Millenial and Gen Z audiences respond to different types of advertising in free-to-play mobile games.
When asked “On average, how often do you play games on your mobile phone or tablet?”, nearly 70% play at least once a week, with 27% playing mobile games an hour or more per day.
Players were then shown a typical mobile game experience, with gameplay interrupted by a 30-second interstitial video before gameplay could resume. Afterwards, when asked “What brand or game was being advertised?”, less than 30% of respondents were able to correctly recall the brand shown in a traditional 30-second interruptive video ad in a mobile game.
This is in line with industry expectations: Bain & Company consumer surveys found “…the percentage of total population reached who recall a campaign — is lowest for digital media (online banners and videos), hitting a ceiling at around 30%.”
Next, players were shown an AdInMo-powered game experience, with a choice of two brands to sponsor the next game level. Afterwards, when asked “What brand was shown in the game?”, nearly 70% of respondents correctly recalled the brand.
The next result really surprised us. After asking what brand was selected in the AdInMo-powered game experience, we asked “What brand was NOT selected?” The brand not selected for the game had more than three times the recall of a traditional 30-second interruptive video ad.
What this means is that, when given a choice of brands instead of being forced to watch a video ad, ads viewers not only have better recall for the brand selected, they have better recall for the brand not selected.
Finally, we asked users whether they would prefer to play mobile games with interstitial video ads, or AdInMo’s brand integrations. Unsurprisingly, over 75% of users prefer the AdInMo brand integration for their mobile games vs interruptive video ads.
The predictable: It should come as no surprise that “Digital Native” audiences spend a lot of time playing games on their mobile devices. In fact, more than two thirds of our surveyed audience spend at least a few minutes a week playing games- and of course, they are being exposed to the advertising within those games that are free to play.
The fascinating: Using our Malcolm Gladwell “thin-slicing” skills, we were confident that AdInMo in-game brand campaigns were going to generate better awareness and consumer preference metrics than traditional interstitial ads, but it was still interesting to see how significant the difference was.
The outright surprising: While we already knew that Gen Z and Millenial audiences hate digital advertising, we didn’t foresee their blatant disregard of video advertising. These Digital Native audiences have been trained from their early years to switch off or refocus their attention for the next 30 seconds whenever a video ad appears. Contrast that with AdInMo brand selection opportunities: when the audience is asked to select a brand they prefer, the awareness of their options increases because they’ve been given agency in the advertising that is presented to them. AdInMo ads are not passive, but in fact are active engagements.
If you are a brand or advertising agency that seeks to truly engage with Gen Z and Millenial audiences on mobile devices, AdInMo-powered brand awareness campaigns are your best choice.
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