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Will Watch Ads For Free Games

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.

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12 Responses to “Will Watch Ads For Free Games”

  1. What I don’t get is why there has to be any click through. Advertisers pay millions to put commercials on TV. We get up and go to bathroom, laundry, whatever or fast forward them. Is it really any different. I’ve been playing some free games with TV like commercials. I don’t mind it and there is no requirement to click through, but I have that option. Isn’t that even better than TV where there is no opportunity to click through to the products website and you are just hoping that I actually watched the Ad and remember it. Advertisers wake up!

  2. the one thing I find when a site asks me to click a sponsor before playing a game or doing something is to click the sponsor then close the window before it even loads. so I never see the ad site, but it usually means the ad stops and I can get on with what I want to do.
    but that would mean i am counted as one of the ‘clicked through’

  3. 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

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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. ;)