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The Online Advertising Playbook: Proven Strategies and Tested Tactics from The Advertising Research Foundation by Robert Barocci, Taddy Hall, Steve Rappaport, Joseph Plummer

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Games: An Emerging Online Advertising Medium

Gaming is enormously popular. Just witness the excitement when a new console comes to market or a new entry in a game franchise is released. The Mario titles, for example, have sold more than 193 million units. Pokemon comes in at 155 million. And Madden’s NFL has sold over 56 million (Wikipedia 2007).

More than 40% of Internet users play online games. Publishing high-quality online games is already a big content business. Within games, brand placement is forecast to grow from a $75 million market in the United States in 2007 to about $1 billion by 2010. This shift in allocation reflects the trend toward increased online spending generally under way and a determination to target and reach consumers with relevant advertising.

Marketers need to be aware that online gamers are not stereotypically young and male. Age is distributed more widely than most assume; fully 35% of game players are under the age of 18 and 19% over the age of 50. And, according to the Entertainment Software Association, 43% of game players today are female. Women typically favor different types of games than men, with preferences for parlor games, quizzes, and intellectual puzzles rather than first-person shooters, sports, or car racing (Gluck and Sinnreich 2006).

Gamers are accepting of—and receptive to—in-game advertising. Nearly 40% of heavy gamers agree that games appear more realistic when actual brands are embedded in games. And half of these heavy gamers agree ...

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