Joshua Maa | October 21, 2011
We spent some time talking about the emerging trends of mobile in-app advertising in our previous column. Mobile text links, banners, and even video or HTML5 rich media ads are beginning to become more widely accepted by advertisers today. But how to truly measure the results and campaign impact to the target audience remain a challenge.
Would users (especially mobile game players) really bother to click on these banners and leave the app they were using to a new browser page? Is the ad relevant to the end user? Even if a user clicks on the ad, how can we guarantee the conversion rate and interaction with the ad campaign?
To be honest, there is no single or exact answer to these questions. However, we have an alternative to engage with mobile app users, especially game players. A recent campaign conducted by my company might give you an idea how this can be done. Here’s how:
The Jaguar XKR Need for Speed Shift 2 campaign
Rather than having users click on ad banners, Jaguar XKR chose to encourage Chinese iPhone and iPad users to spend more time engaging directly with the new car while playing the popular Need for Speed racing game from Electronic Arts (EA) entertainment company.
Aware that racing games is one of the most popular mobile game categories and that EA’s NFS series is the number one racing title in China, Jaguar saw an opportunity to promote its new car in a very different way.
In the Jaguar-sponsored NFSS2 game, a virtual XKR is embedded in the actual game itself. A player starts the game with a low-end or basic car on the first track in Chicago and they can upgrade to a high performance Jaguar XKR as the top-end car on the final track in London. Users are given the chance to level up immediately to an XKR and a chance to win the car if they register. For users who did not level up at the beginning, they can still register to win the car if they sign up for an appointment for a free test drive.
Instead of seeing a banner on top of the game interface, when presented with an opportunity to gain a massive advantage with XKR and to save hours to move up the ranks, users see filling out a short survey as an easy thing to do. In this case, the players feel they are receiving tangible benefits (saving hours levelling up from a low-end car) and not an intrusion to game play. In fact, users spend a substantial amount of time getting to know and directly experience the performance of the XKR model in the game.
Launched in mid September, the Jaguar-sponsored NFSS2 has been downloaded over 6.7 million times and more than 35, 000 users registered within three weeks after launch (at the time of writing this article). The numbers continue to climb and the campaign received very positive feedback.
I see this case as a perfect sample of how a brand can integrate the product benefits and gaming experience to offer potential consumers a great opportunity to get to know the new car in a 360 degree way. And these consumers are highly relevant as they are high-income (can afford an iPhone or Android) motor enthusiasts, which is the target audience Jaguar would like to engage with.
As mobile advertising and marketing continue to evolve, mobile games become a very unique channel to approach consumers.
According to a recent Nielsen report:
1. Games are the most popular mobile app category with over 64 percent users surveyed having played mobile games in the last 30 days.
2. App downloaders (about 93 percent) are most willing to pay for games.
3. iOS gamers (14.7 hours) and Android gamers (9.3 hours) spend more time per month on mobile games compared with other platforms. In particular, iOS users spend almost twice as much time playing games as average mobile gamers (7.8 hours).
In China, iOs and Android continue to gain significant growth in market share. As of Q2 2011, out of every five mobile Internet users, there is at least one using an Android phone and 13.3 percent of the total using iOS, according to our agency’s internal data. Additionally, over 33 percent of mobile Internet users are on the new smartphone devices, thus creating an even larger demand for mobile games as these users look for more ways to be entertained.
Beyond more traditional approaches, mobile games provide a potentially new way to interact with users. Mobile marketers will have to consider how to use this new medium as well as how to combine it with their campaign and customer objectives. The Jaguar XKR campaign is a good case study. Select the most relevant and popular game and integrate the branding experience in a more engaging way. Consumers love it and so do brands.