I was asked by a reporter from CNET (where I’ve contributed) what I thought about Google’s announcement that they’re launching advertising for games. A lot’s not clear about what Google’s doing, but that they’re getting into gaming is certainly an endorsement of the platform as a place for ads, and means others will pay attention. It’s never prudent to denigrate a Google effort , any more than it is for Microsoft. (Remember how many poo-poo’d the idea of Internet Explorer being able to become a dominant browser?).
To Dorian Benkoil, the founder of Teeming Media, an online business consultancy, Google’s success at placing in-game ads, like that of its competitors, will come down to how well it is able to integrate those messages in games.
“What I’ve seen,” said Benkoil,” is that the community of gamers tend to be very vocal and emotional about anything that they find that isn’t well integrated into a game. So if Google is doing an AdSense initiative, I would hope that they would do it in a seamless way that isn’t interruptive of the gaming experience. Because if not, they would face some backlash.”
Benkoil said that his research has also indicated that in-game ads may not be as effective as those in other media. That’s because, he suggested, gamers spend a lot of time on the sites and in the games where they play, but they are deeply engaged in what they’re doing and are not very interested in looking at things, like ads, that may be a distraction.
Minor niggle: I didn’t really say “my research” but rather just conversations with media buyers and planners. I also mentioned that I teach an MBA-level digital marketing course, where we happen to have done games as a platform last lesson.