I don’t know about your office, but lunch is pretty important around here. A good lunch can make or break your afternoon, so you want to make the right choice. That’s how I often end up bringing the same food, every time—my infamous chicken and broccoli. But you know, there’s new stuff on the menu at the taco place by the office. Stuff that could be delicious, like pork belly tacos. But I stick with the tried-and-true, even if it sometimes gets old.
Brand advertisers do this all the time (with their strategies, not their lunches… although maybe those too.) These days, perhaps the most delicious opportunity they’re overlooking is mobile in-app advertising. According to eMarketer, advertisers are still spending more on newspaper advertising than on in-app advertising ($20.55 billion vs. $20.27 billion in 2016, respectively), even though consumers spend 80% of their mobile time (a daily average of 2 hours, 25 minutes) in apps.
So why the hesitation? And what can brands, their agencies and game publishers do to move forward?
In June 2017 alone, more than 8,700 new apps were submitted to the iOS App Store—and 36% of those apps were games
The mobile app landscape has exploded so fast, it can be challenging for brands to comprehend. Consider this: in June 2017 alone, more than 8,700 new apps were submitted to the iOS App Store—and 36% of those apps were games. It’s no wonder brands struggle to recognize popular or promising apps unless they are trending or topping the charts—there are too many types and categories of games to keep up with, and each one has its own loyal fan base.
For decades, movies and pop culture told us that gamers were nerdy kids obsessively noodling over their computers and gaming consoles in the family basement. That wasn’t completely true back then—and it’s definitely not true now.
Mobile devices have brought gaming into the mainstream. Suddenly, people who wouldn’t normally think of themselves as gamers have a simple, intuitive gaming platform in their hands nearly all the time. By 2020, eMarketer estimates that 77% of mobile phone users and nearly ⅔ of the overall U.S. population will play games on their phones at least once a month.
Google Play has found that people who play mobile games tend to segment more along their gaming needs and behaviors than their age, gender or other demographics. In fact, most mobile gamers fall between 26 and 45—whether they are passive players, connected enthusiasts or something in between. Most brands are only just beginning to understand mobile gaming audiences, and have yet to wrap their heads around the different types of mobile gamers—let alone how or where to engage with them.
There are three related issues to unpack here: brand safety, metrics and fraud.
The reality is that it’s going to take time for brands to catch on to the value of partnering with mobile games beyond the Top 5 titles in the app stores. And though the industry is evolving at a feverish pitch, it’s going to take a while for all the measurement challenges to be addressed.
In the meantime, what’s a savvy brand marketer or game developer to do? Look for a monetization partner that has:
The last point is particularly important. Brands need help understanding the value of mobile gaming and gaming audiences, and they need guidance in matching their target audiences to specific app user bases. At the same time, game developers need help understanding what brands want and need. What’s more, many measurement solutions require collaboration between brands, publishers and mobile platforms—including technology and data integrations across all players. All of that requires trusted relationships, and the right partner can help you broker those relationships and solidify that trust.
At Phunware, we’ve been working in mobile since 2009—when only 17% of the US had smartphones. Because we address all phases of the mobile app lifecycle, from strategy and building through audience building, monetization and beyond, the Phunware team has deep understanding and expertise in what it takes to succeed in mobile today. Our industry-leading Multiscreen as a Service platform helps brands and publishers engage, manage and monetize their audience’s journey over mobile—while ensuring an optimal experience for users, brands and developer partners alike.