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TV Ad Buying: How Mobile Gaming Apps Can Reach Their Ideal Audience

The mobile gaming app industry is growing… and it’s growing fast. According to VentureBeat, it’s expected to hit $41.5 billion (yes, billion) in 2016 and reach a whopping $74.6 billion by 2020. Today, mobile game revenues are even exceeding traditional console game sales. The mobile gaming app industry, while growing, is also becoming an increasingly more competitive space. With low barriers to entry, over 500 games are launched every single day on iOS and over 250 a day on Android… that’s a lot of games to choose from.

With fierce competition, game makers like SuperCell, Tencent, and King, are looking for new advertising strategies to promote their products and reach new audiences. In 2015, game publishers made the move to television. The 2015 Super Bowl marked the emergence of mobile games being advertised on a grand, mainstream scale. Over $16 million was spent on 30-second ads for the apps Game of War, Heroes Charge, and of course the memorable Clash of Clans spot featuring Liam Neeson.


Since this splash, the use of television as a method for user acquisition has substantially grown.


But why the move to TV?

Game publishers are attracted to TV because television still serves as a viable medium to elicit emotion and is able to reach more people than any other medium. In addition, game publishers have also picked up on an important trend: the second screen.

Today, many people cannot watch TV without their smartphone near by. (I’ll admit, I’m rarely without my smartphone!)  Data shows, I’m not alone. By being in close proximity to a smart device, consumers are more likely to search for, download, or make an in-app purchase while an ad is playing on TV. In a study released by mobile marketing consultancy, Fetch, there is a 24 percent increase in app installs within the first ten minutes after an ad airs.

According to AdAge’s Media Chart for the week of March 11, 2016, the top app publishers by revenue were Supercell, Tencent, and King. Supercell, the maker of “Clash of Clans,” and King, the publisher behind “Candy Crush Saga” (aka the most addicting game ever), have both spent considerable dollars on TV advertising for their products. Take Clash of Clans for example, in 2015 they released numerous big-budget spots with celebrities including Christoph Waltz and funnyman, James Corden (carpool karaoke, anyone?).

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Using social data to understand what works.

Looking at AdAge’s Media Chart, it can be inferred that there is a significant correlation between television exposure and app downloads, revenues, and ultimately rankings. However, while there is clear value in television exposure, TV is a considerable investment. The challenge facing marketers is ensuring that a television ad is contextually relevant – making sure the right people see it at the right time, in the right moment. Insert Affinio.

By using technologies like Affinio, the audience intelligence platform, marketers and publishers can hone in on their ideal targets and gain invaluable insights on their audience that can be applied to their TV strategy. By mining billions of online network connections, Affinio is able to determine niche communities and identify what each community is influenced by, what they are interested in, and ultimately what they care most about.

To demonstrate the power of the Affinio platform and how insights can be applied to a TV strategy, I have analyzed the Clash of Clans (@ClashofClans) Twitter audience. Below is the visualization of the entire Clash of Clans Twitter audience and the various niche, interest-based communities found within this audience.


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In looking at the overall social audience, using the Affinio ‘Interests’ tab, it can be seen that shows such as Sports Center on ESPN, the Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, the Big Bang Theory, and The Flash are all shows that resonate with the Clash of Clans audience. Therefore, in terms of choosing when to air a commercial, or what shows to sponsor, Affinio’s insights show that these television programs are a strong match.

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Another insight we can pull using Affinio is what channels the Clash of Clans social audience is interested in. Again, using the ‘Interests’ tab on the Affinio platform, it can be seen that channels such as ESPN, MTV, and the Discovery Channel resonate with the audience.

Fortunately for Clash of Clans, many of the networks featured are also home to the shows that resonated highly with their audience including, ESPN (which airs Sports Center), Comedy Central (which airs South Park), and FOX (which airs Family Guy).

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However, if Clash of Clans wanted to grow their fan base in a specific interest-based community, as displayed in the audience visualization, they could hone in on the shows, channels, and interests of that specific community to ensure content is created that resonates with that audience.


Data helps your make smarter, better decisions.

By leveraging social insights about the Clash of Clans audience, marketers and game publishers can make informed decisions in regards to the placement of TV ad dollars. Digging deeper, Affinio’s technology can even drill down to learn which celebrities the audience connects with, what televised events an app could choose to sponsor, and what content specific audiences care most about.

The mobile gaming industry can be a highly lucrative business, but in order to stay ahead in this highly competitive space, gaming apps need to understand their target intimately and get in the game! (pun intended). By using affinity data to drive decisions, these games can increase their awareness, ranking, and ultimately drive downloads and in-app purchases by creating meaningful, data-driven, and emotional connections with their audience.

Game on!