The value of blended in-game advertising in a privacy-first world – Anzu.io’s Ben Fenster

Ben Fenster, co-founder and CPO of Anzu.io

In January 2020, Google announced that it was planning to phase out third-party cookies within two years and would comply with Apple’s changes to IDFA in early 2021, and the digital marketing world shook. By 2022, all major browsers will have blocked the collection of third-party data via cookies, and digital marketers and advertisers will need to utilize other methods of data collection to personalize their content.

The world is moving toward prioritizing privacy over personalization and that’s not a bad thing. With cookies, users don’t know who is collecting their data, and the results can feel invasive.

This is a major shift in the world of digital marketing, especially for companies who rely mostly on third-party data to target their audience. Performance marketing, in particular, will need to adjust in a big way, as it relies on a deep understanding of online behavior to target users and personalize their digital experiences.

On the other hand, brand awareness marketing that already relies on contextual targeting, first-party data, and statistical location data won’t need to make major adjustments to business-as-usual, perhaps just some minor tweaks. And since brands are moving toward increasing brand awareness efforts and more synergy between their performance and awareness marketing silos, this is a good thing.

With the swing of the pendulum toward brand awareness, media such as digital OOH and in-game advertising can help brands reach their target audiences. The goal of these media is first and foremost to get brands in front of consumers, with a secondary goal of generating consumer action down the line.

In the games industry, the move away from cookies and persistent identifiers is compounded by the need for developers to respect gamers to ensure user retention. Blended in-game advertising provides the solution to both of these issues. First, it is perfect for brand awareness campaigns due to the high level of attention that games have as interactive 3D media. When people play video games, they are focused on the content. Since blended ads are part of the content, the level of attention to ads is high, exactly what major brands are looking for. Second, with blended ads being part of the game, they do not disrupt the gameplay and can add value by increasing realism. Gamers feel respected and have more positive feelings toward ads being shown in this manner.

How is audience targeting done in-game without cookies? There are several solutions that provide precise audience targeting across platforms and devices without using persistent user identifiers. Statistical demographics data involves combining estimated user non-precise locations with statistical location-based demographics data. This provides advertisers with diversified audience targeting options related to age group, gender, family status, and more.

Contextual targeting is achieved by matching game titles to distinct audience types with defined demographic properties and interests. When publishers choose to share this information with advertisers, ads can match a nameless user’s age, location, language, and gender but not a specific individual user and their behavior across different devices and apps.

These solutions enable large-scale global brand awareness campaigns in the gaming sphere, unified across all platforms and devices, without the risk of invading the user’s privacy or violating privacy laws and regulations. As persistent user identifiers and cookies continue to disappear, blended in-game advertising is a valuable solution for brands wanting to run effective campaigns that respect gamers.

Ben Fenster is Co-Founder and CPO of Anzu.io, the world’s most advanced in-game advertising solution. Anzu’s full suite of AdTech integrations includes ad viewability in collaboration with Comscore and Moat, brand lift measurement in collaboration with Kantar and Nielsen, as well as audience verification, data enrichment, and fraud detection. To find out more, visit www.anzu.io.

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