Google is ramping up its focus on online gaming by bringing its video ad-skipping tool TrueView to the space. In doing so, Google is making good on a promise Susan Wojcicki, SVP of advertising, made back in February at the IAB Annual Meeting to expand the use of TrueView, which the company sees as a key part of its "viewability" strategy. Read the Google blog post.
After months of beta testing, TrueView will be available to all gaming developers through the Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange. In addition, TrueView will also be accessible through AdSense for games, and to "select mobile publishers" on AdMob.
In addition to its focus on viewability, which allows Google and the publishers in its network to charge higher CPMs based on whether an ad was actually seen, the introduction of TrueView into gaming also reflects Google's competition with Facebook on social and mobile advertising. In May, Google received Media Ratings Council accreditation for its Display Benchmarks product, which counts click-through rates, ad interaction times, video completion rates, and other metrics across ad formats/sizes (including mobile), verticals and regions.
As PriceWaterhouse Coopers has projected, video games will attract $86 billion within the next four years, with mobile gaming growing to $14 billion by 2017. For the moment, however, in-game ads are fairly low, mainly because most game developers prefer to charge consumers directly. But as social and mobile continue to proliferate and cross paths, the in-game ad business will become much more essential to developers and publishers.
As a recent eMarketer report indicated, ad revenues for online gaming will be a mere $297 million this year. Of all three types of mobile game revenues, ad revenues grew the fastest last year and will do the same again in 2013. By 2017, in-game commerce will make up nearly half of all mobile gaming dollars in the US; about 17.4% of those revenues will be driven by ads. Revenues from game purchases will be about twice that coming from mobile gaming ads over the next three years.
Google is touting the value of TrueView's viewability to prove if an ad has registered with a player and on top of that, is noting its targeting abilities through its AdX to make sure it reaches the right ones. In pointing out both the value of targeting to marketers and agencies, and killing zombies by gamers, Google hopes to prove that gaming won't alienate users who so far have been more amenable to virtual goods and treasure than paying attention to ads.
"We think that opening the programmatic channel and the rise of gamer-friendly ad formats like TrueView will drive even better monetization for games - which is great news for game publishers, but perhaps not for the zombies," Rebecca Illowsky and Allen Huang, Google's product managers for Games Monetization, wrote in a blog post.