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Advergaming Playing to Win

From automobiles to personal hygiene, advergaming can promote a product and capture the time and attention of potential consumers of any age. While adult consumers have the disposable income to spend, consumers under the age of 18 are big marketing targets for companies and the millions of products and services offered. There's no denying the influence a child has on the spending habits of a parent, and advertisers are aware that pulling in the kids pulls in the parents and their money.

According to a recent brandingvoodoo.com posting, nearly 33 million kids and teens between the ages of 3 and 17 use the internet regularly, and it is projected that number will grow to 38 million by 2008. Further, between 72%-81% of kids ages 8-18 are playing online games when they are using the computer.

While the kids may be playing the games, parents are very aware of how their kids are spending their time on the internet. Most parents check on their kids regularly to make sure kids aren't involved in dangerous activities, so parents become aware of the games kids are playing and the products they promote nearly as much as the kids.

But kids aren't the only ones playing online games, which is one of the big appeals of advergaming to marketers. In a recent study conducted by the Interactive Digital Software Association, 42% of frequent game players are over 35, while another 30% are age 18 to 35. With such a huge demographic, advergaming has just begun to scratch the surface of its possibilities.

Advergaming isn't cheap, though. Advertisers spend an average of $100,000 to $500,000 for a custom-designed game for use in an advergaming campaign. Most marketers who use advergaming feel the benefits far outweigh the costs, however. Advergaming eencourages repeat visits to websites and has higher "stickiness rates" people play games for longer periods of time than they would view other forms of advertising, like pop-up or banner ads (which most of us consider very annoying), or offline advertising (which is so non-interactive.) Many consumers are parting with valuable minutes, even hours, of their working days to play advergames. Advergaming simply captures consumers' attentions longer, allowing greater education about new products or product features.

Advergames can also be used to gather valuable consumer information seamlessly. Players willingly provide email addresses and personal information in order to play games and have the chance to win prizes. Consumers also share the game with others, through challenges or multi-player gaming, allowing viral marketing to work its magic.

As more innovative games are created that provide both an absorbing, educational brand experience and seamless opportunities for rich data capture, marketers will continue to use advergaming as a key component for advertising campaigns.


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