Best Practices for Video Game Marketers

How to leverage video assets for maximum impact

The technology behind modern video games is mind boggling. To think that in two short decades, the average gamer went from zooming around the Mario Kart 64 track to now being immersed in the fully connected, massively multiplayer world of a game such as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, is really a modern marvel.

For the digital marketer, the progress of the product has been hard to match to marketing tools that can showcase the dazzling technology and creativity behind modern game titles. How does a marketer explain the groundbreaking visuals of a new release to a target audience using relatively simple HTML5 animations?

This may seem obvious, but video games are video, and at Addroid we believe video should be used for marketing video games. Simple as that. But simply ‘adding more video’ to campaigns is not enough, video needs to be used in the right way. Below are the best practices we have gathered in our experience with video game campaigns using Addroid’s video display platform:

  1. Tailor your strategy to include the various types of video creative available

    A video game release typically involves three types of video creative: i) cinematic, ii) gameplay, and iii) game mechanics. As you design the user journey for a game release campaign, these three creative types should be used for different purchase stages along the way.

  2. Use cinematic video to tell the story and drive awareness

    Cinematic or trailer video tells the story of the new game title. Many hours are spent by game developers and creative teams to create compelling trailer videos, and this creative should be leveraged to the maximum extent possible for driving awareness. When designing video display ads using cinematic footage, we suggest the following:

    1. Make your ads short and sweet. 15 seconds is the ideal length for autoplay video display banners. Trailers can be 2-3 minutes long, so you’ll need to be choosy with your edits.
    2. Use copy cards to tell the story. A few well placed copy cards between video scenes can tell the story in a bite-sized way. Since display ads are muted by default, copy cards are necessary to communicate key ideas.
    3. Think of your ads as a mini trailer. Each ad treatment should be a trailer of its own, and should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
    4. Awareness needs reach. In order to achieve frequency in your campaign, you will need to push media into the far corners of the web, including tablet and mobile. Video display placements (banners) can be found virtually anywhere, and when run in parallel with pre-roll/mid-roll you can achieve maximum exposure of the cinematic video creative.
  3. Use gameplay video to qualify prospects

    Once your awareness push is in full swing, the next stage on the user journey is to entice and qualify consumers using gameplay video. Using data management and audience segmentation, consumers can be moved down your funnel and further qualified. Gameplay video creative is ideal for this purpose as it showcases engaging aspects of the gameplay, and appeals to potential buyers by testing preferences.

    1. Use gameplay video after awareness. Ideally your data platform can segment audience members who have seen or engaged with your cinematic video. Whether or not, your next push should expose the target audience or segments to various gameplay videos to qualify prospects towards purchase.
    2. Test various versions to expose preferences. Gameplay video offers an opportunity to test multiple videos in display ads to expose which perform better. At a minimum you should be testing two variations (A/B) and optimizing ad serving based on the best performing video.
    3. Drive towards the goal. The goal in this phase is qualification of potential purchasers, and both ad engagement / click-thru and website interaction should be used as guideposts. Make sure to tag your landing pages thoroughly so engaged fans can be segmented for later stages.
  4. Use mechanics video to drive prospects to purchase

    We think of mechanics video as a showcase for the product detail that your biggest fans want to learn about. Once a prospect is aware of the game release, and has been exposed to the gameplay, mechanics video is the last step towards driving a purchase.

    In some cases mechanics video is produced separately, and in others the gameplay video that performed best in earlier flights is updated with copy cards and new information. The overall goal is to drive users to purchase when the game is available for sale, using messaging that reinforces the value perceived by interested consumers.

  5. Three examples of mechanics messaging are below:

    1. “Over 400 Hours Of Unique Gameplay – Buy Now”
    2. “Choose Up To Five Soldiers For Your Elite Unit – Battle Now”
    3. “Kings Are Born, But Emperors Rise Up – Build Your Empire”

    Combining the correct messaging with video creative results in better performing ads. Addroid video display units see an average of 3x performance over static display ads, and more than 20% higher performance than standard HTML5 animated ads.

    To summarize, video creative is essential for marketing video games. The smart digital marketer now has tools to better leverage video creative in a cost effective way, which means marketers can reach target audiences at scale with video creative using tailored messaging. Addroid’s video display platform enables marketers to create high quality video display units with ease, increasing velocity and consistency for large campaigns, and ensuring cross-platform compatibility and measurement beyond what HTML5 can achieve.