Home AdExchanger Talks Charting “The Last Media Frontier” With In-Game Ad Platform Anzu

Charting “The Last Media Frontier” With In-Game Ad Platform Anzu

Itamar Benedy, Co-Founder and CEO, Anzu

With more than 3.5 billion gamers worldwide, any brand can find its target audience by advertising in video games – and the ad industry is finally taking notice.

The IAB has launched gaming-focused events; programmatic buying platforms, such as The Trade Desk, are building dedicated gaming offerings; and brands are working with agencies to understand how to effectively activate video game ad campaigns.

And then there’s Anzu, a supply-side platform that specializes in selling intrinsic in-game ad placements, such as virtual billboards and branded assets. The goal is to recreate the digital out-of-home ad experience within the virtual world of a video game, says Co-Founder and CEO Itamar Benedy on this week’s episode of AdExchanger Talks.

Do gamers really want ads in their games, though?

They do, Benedy claims, as long as the ads provide some kind of value to them, like making the game feel more realistic and immersive. Many gamers also prefer a free-to-play model rather having to pay.

But proving value for gamers is only one half of the equation. Advertisers won’t spend on in-game advertising unless they can measure their return on investment using the same programmatic tools they use for other media channels, Benedy says.

Anzu, for example, has partnerships with Integral Ad Science for media quality measurement and NBCU and The Trade Desk on the demand side. And although Benedy couldn’t confirm any concrete plans at this time, Anzu hopes to work with Sony and Microsoft as they start to incorporate programmatic ads into their console games.

The opportunity is there for gaming to grow into a mainstream advertising channel – providing marketers remember to “let gamers play” and not get in their way with ads, Benedy says.

“Our vision is to empower marketers to communicate in a positive way with every gamer in the world,” he says. “We will never allow the ad format to take the gamer out of the environment.”

Also in this episode: What it will take for in-game ads to attract larger marketing budgets, the degree of control game developers have over the ads that appear in their games, how in-game ads differ from interruptive formats like rewarded video and whether in-game ads can drive performance metrics in addition to raising brand awareness.

For more articles featuring Itamar Benedy, click here.

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