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The vast majority of people — 90 percent, to be precise — will watch ads if it means they get to play games for free, according to a report presented by RealNetworks at the Casual Connect conference in Amsterdam. Almost 90 percent of the 1,500 players […]

real_logo.gifThe vast majority of people — 90 percent, to be precise — will watch ads if it means they get to play games for free, according to a report presented by RealNetworks at the Casual Connect conference in Amsterdam. Almost 90 percent of the 1,500 players that were surveyed through its RealGames network (RealArcade, along with other portals) said they’re willing to watch a video ad that’s shown before a game, and even during play. Perhaps even more relevant, however, is RealNetworks’ corollary claim: Of those ad watchers surveyed, 34 percent reported clicking through or taking other actions to learn more about the advertised product.


One in three is a shockingly impressive click-through rate. Since the press release doesn’t describe the methodology, I’m a bit skeptical. Still, even half that number would be big news.

Up to now, most studies on the effectiveness of in-game advertising have focused on vaguer metrics like brand awareness and recall, so getting hard numbers on more concrete consumer behavior is a big step. Unsurprisingly, the RealPlayer survey captured a typical casual gamer demographic — 81 percent female, 65 percent between 35 and 64 years old. I’m curious to see if different audience groups would yield similar results.

Image Credit: Realarcade.com.

  1. In other news people will watch online video with Ads (Joost,HULU.YouTube.Videoegg) and people want music to be ad supported (Qtrax)

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  2. 34%? WOW, I also doubt that many people would click! (Most of the time or all of the time, ads open up in the same window!)

    If you were about to play a game, and some 30 second ad pops up, wouldn’t that person just open up another tab and do something else in those 30 seconds? (I mean, we do have much shorter attention-spans these days, don’t we?)

    Also, there are problems with watching a hair-care product if you’re a male, and … you get the point. ;)

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  3. No reason to be skeptical. I projected numbers within that range in the year 2000, well ahead of the advergaming curve. Advertising agencies would comment, “Why would anyone want to play a game?” Measurable metrics have always been a challenge to the skeptical but it is dependent on the method of engagement to create a non intrusive advertising format. It leaves plenty of opportunity to the creative. As I understand there is no exclusivity to innovation and creativity and I have never met a successful pessimist.

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  4. We would have to read the interview to be sure, but when 34% of people say they have clicked through to learn more about the product surely they don’t mean that they always click thru.

    This is a big difference – if somebody plays 10 games for every click-thru, the CTR metric goes down 90% to a much more believable level.

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  5. I guess I’m in the 10% that wouldn’t click to play a game.

    In a related note, Real Networks is now advertising their “TV SuperPass” where you can “Get the best online TV channels, on-demand
    movies, news and more — all in one package.” This is a first – a major player trying to sell online television. I haven’t had much luck with the RealPlayer so I won’t be trying it. Besides, why pay for online television when you can get lots of good stuff for free? http://www.RSSLiveTV.com

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  6. [...] 65 percent were in the 35-64 age range which is in line with the core casual games demographic. As this post in GigaOm points out, the numbers appear a bit exaggerated, but even discounting it by 50% leaves enough [...]

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  7. [...] Interested in in-game advertising? Players say they’ll Watch Ads For Free Games [...]

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  8. do we have any other option i.e. if supplier and consumer both want freebees — we have to grill advetiser to pay corresponding bills.

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  9. We all know that games need to be advertiser supported, or else the consumer picks up the tab. The fact that people would want to watch an ad in order to get free game play is a hugh step in the right direction. A better step however is to let the consumer pick the ad they would want to see, instead of watching a random ad pop up. Such a service is provided by the SponsorSelect Network….check it out at http://www.sponsorselect.com

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  10. [...] would be a pretty smart move on their part. Real has been getting very serious about casual gaming, especially ad-supported casual gaming. It would get them a hit game for their casual gaming business and more over it would give them an [...]

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