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chand81

In-Game Advertising

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Hi, I have recently managed to port Cricket3D (a mobile game) to J2ME. Now I see the possibility to deploy the game for 300+ device models - huge potential for advertising. The idea is to deploy a free, ad. supported version of the game. Luckily I'm located in India and Cricket really sells here - so there is no dought in my mind about the advertising potential. I have some basic questions (I'm a developer, trying to learn marketing. So some of the questions may sound silly, but I can use all the help I can get). 1. Should I approach Brand's directly or go through an advertising agency? 2. What advertising revenue I could be looking at (rough estimate)? 3. How is the advertising revenue split (percentages)? 4. What are the key milestones for such a project? (negotiation, advances, development, distribution etc..)? 5. How is distribution handled? 6. How is the effectiveness of the advertising measured? Thanks in advance, Chandan.

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General rule for finances:

If YOU need THEM, YOU are the one who pays.


Based on your post, you should not contact individual companies directly. You will be expected to pay them for the privelage of showing their brand in your game. If you want this as a revenue source, that won't work.

The only way to get paid for ads is if you successfully drive traffic to their web site. Showing their logo isn't enough, you have to actually direct a web browser to the site. If you can't do that in your game, don't expect any funds.

Look up information on Google's AdSense (which now also owns DoubleClick and represents 69.7% of all online advertisers in 1Q2008), or Yahoo Ads, Microsoft Ads, AdBrite, or some of the other companies out there.

Each company has their own terms of service, and many allow you to integrate their ads into your products. The exact details vary by advertiser, and rates are highly dependant on the number of views and click-throughs you get.

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brob: huh????????,

Of course you dont integrate pay-per-click ads into a product like this. But PPC ads are NOT the norm in anything BUT internet advertising. This is not internet advertising. So some of your information I feel is a tad misleading (feel free to rebute this statement at your liking, but please back it up a bit). I honestly cant recall the last time that clicking on an advertisement on my television brought me to the persons website.

Advertising works on a few levels, not just direct bait and sale (refered to as lead based advertising models, which includes PPC and PPS advertising in the internet realm), but also includes things such as BRAND AWARENESS based advertising programs.

You should be well aware from all the information available on this that MANY companies pay LOADS of money to get their products PLACED onto high quality products. A movie company does not pay for the scene involving a glorified coke machine, cocacola pays them for product placement. It works similarly in games. EA makes some additional revenue placing ads in their sports games, and IIRC sony erricson payed about $1mil to have their cell phone / PDA used in a certain spy game (cant recall the name, im sure someone will point it out).

On a cell phone game, you certainly will not be selling a PPC marketing campagn, but brand awareness very well might work. Ads really havent totaly bustled into the cell phone market yet, partialy because (I am making an assumption here) distrobution fees. And he picked a perfect niche for it too. Im sure with the right marketing attention and a great game on his hands, he may very well be able to convince a sponsership deal out of a cricket supplier, dealer, manufacturer, etc. Of course, I highly doubt they will fund the production of a game like this, you will want to come to them afterwards with detailed information that will please their eyes.

EDITS:

Heres a little reader:
http://money.howstuffworks.com/product-placement7.htm

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Paul and "frob" have both raised good points. What it comes down to, Chand, is how you're going to answer the following questions which your desired advertisers are sure to ask:

- What big name phone companies, mobile game companies, etc. are already on board with carrying/publishing your game?
- How many eyeballs can you guarantee me on your game (how many copies of your game can you guarantee me that you're going to sell)?
- How many impressions* will my product get?

*An impression is 10 seconds of continuous product visibility.

Before you approach any advertisers, you need to be able to answer those questions.

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Actualy, this game (unless I am misunderstanding) is a game of virtual cricket. Now, depending on how the game is implemented, there are quite a few areas for very simple product placements. Lets say... the brands of sticks they use. Maybe stick by company XYZZY is 10x more accurate then the rest. (I really dont understand the game of cricket, but Im sure anyone following can get my gist here). You then pretty much approch the advertisers as "hey, we are building a cricket SIMULATION for cell phones in india, here are our various marketing studies, distrobution deals, etc. etc." , "here is a demo of the game". Then you work out a deal with them regarding making the clubs with their brand name on it the "top notch clubs". This is POWERFULL and somewhat SUBLIMINAL product placement going on here. Now, what happends is players start associating this brand of clubs as "top notch" thanks to this little game. If they are into cricket, and they go to buy a club, you can bet your left foot that they will take more then a second look at the dang club. Now in competitive markets like shoes and sports. this is a HUGE deal. If you can show your target demographic is likely to be playing real cricket, and likely to be purchasing clubs anytime soon, you are SET. Because if you have 10,000 in your demographic that play cricket, the average sale makes $25 in profit, then you are likely to sway alot of people. They will not pay you per sale though obviously, but an upfront amount, or perhaps a set amount per purchase of your game via WAP.

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frob, Paul and Tom thank you for your replies.

Paul, thanks for that excellent link. I also got to read some good stuff on marketing.

The good thing about cricket is, it sells almost anything in India. But I understand that, with a related product the advertising will be more effective.

Tom, thanks for pointing out those key questions. I had thought of question 2 & 3 but not of 1.
Although some companies have shown interest in deploying the game across operators in India, there are no big name phone companies or mobile game companies currently carrying/publishing the game.
Actually, I am not too keen on deploying a paid version of the game to operators simply because I don't see any substantial returns in revenue (the mobile game dev business seems to show great opportunity from an hawk eye view, but the fact is, it is hard to find consumers willing to pay for a piece of software in the Indian subcontinent)
That said, I have seen evidence that the game has decent popularity, although it hurts to see a cracked version of your game on devices. But this has shown the possibility of a new business opportunity.

So how do I tackle question 1?
I have some good data on number of downloads with the free version that was released for 5 supported handsets on Handango.com last year, but nothing apart from that.


With respect to questions 2 and 3, I tried to come up with some figures.
A 3 month ad campaign will be targeted for consumers in Goa (thats where I'm based currently).

The cost of television advertising is roughly 2 rupees per 1000 viewers per 10 seconds. Or 0.0002 rupees / viewer / second.

Using variables such as population of Goa, target audience (10-35 years old) and % penetration of supported handsets (estimate), the game has potential to reach 1,75,000 people.

If 15 minutes is the average time the game is played per day, the total impression for a 3 month period turns out to be:
15 x 60 x 30 x 3 = 81000 seconds

Total airtime = 175000 x 81000 = 14175 million seconds

Going by television rates, estimated advertising revenue turns out to be
14175 x 0.0002 = 2.835 million = 28,00,000 rupees.

Although television rates are used here, cost for similar exposure over TV would be much higher because it would be ill targeted (reaching all 200 million viewers across India).

My idea is to provide this exposure at a fraction of the cost estimated above - that could make the campaign more attractive from the advertisers point of view and also help us build a success story that could be useful in the future.

Regarding the distribution, my plan is to have an agreement with all key mobile shops and cyber cafes in Goa that provide mobile content loading services. We would provide the shops with our free game and posters to bring the crowd in, this will give free advertising for the shop owners in return for their game loading service.

Armed with these numbers (along with a list of mobile shops that would be distributing the game), I intend to approach potential advertisers looking for targeted advertising within Goa.



Please let me know of any pitfalls that I may have overlooked.

Thanks.

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Quote:
Original post by PaulCesar
... the brands of sticks they use. Maybe stick by company XYZZY is 10x more accurate then the rest. ... You then pretty much approch the advertisers as "hey, we are building a cricket SIMULATION ..." ... this is a HUGE deal. If you can show your target demographic is likely to be playing real cricket, and likely to be purchasing clubs anytime soon, you are SET. Because if you have 10,000 in your demographic that play cricket, the average sale makes $25 in profit, then you are likely to sway alot of people. They will not pay you per sale though obviously, but an upfront amount, or perhaps a set amount per purchase of your game via WAP.
Nope, it still doesn't work that way.

Note that major companies like EA still have to PAY for permission to use those brands in their games. Search for the press releases, there are many of them . They pay FIFA, for instance, for their branding. They pay and have cross-licensing agreements with Oakley and others to use their clothing lines. They pay for each brand of ball. The same is true for all their sports lineups.

If the big companies have to pay, and they are paying for both exclusive and non-exclusive rights, then why do you expect them to start paying instead of being paid? These small games certainly won't compare favorably to the mega-franchises, so why would they give a better deal to a nobody?

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Quote:
Original post by frob
Note that major companies like EA still have to PAY for permission to use those brands in their games. Search for the press releases, there are many of them . They pay FIFA, for instance, for their branding. They pay and have cross-licensing agreements with Oakley and others to use their clothing lines. They pay for each brand of ball. The same is true for all their sports lineups.

Of course they pay FIFA. They're licensing the franchise. Putting FIFA on the cover is to help sell games, not to help sell FIFA. I find it a little bit bizarre that you think that game publishers are paying for the privilege to advertise products; this may be done in certain circumstances, but it's the exception rather than the rule. here you go.

EDIT: Ah, just reread that you were specifically referring to advertising the sports equipment. Yeah, that would be a harder sell.

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frob,

Do you happen to have a link regarding them paying for the usage of particular brands of bats, balls, etc, and paying for them? Yes, in the case where the BRAND is what is being sold (FIFA, NFL), the developer is the one paying. But in the case of a product being sold, and being placed in an advantageous position in-game, keyword being advantageous here, this is something the companies themselves would shell out for. I remember reading an artical on gamstura a few years ago regarding its usage in a golf game, and a company paying a quarter million to have their clubs be the best "upgrade" if you will. There are no set in stone rules with all of this, but basically it comes down to this:

1. Is the product placement NECESSARY for the game? If it is, then they will expect the developer to license from them.

2. Is the product placement shown true to form with competition, or shown in a negative light? if it is this will either be simply not allowed, or heavily licensed and regulated

3. Is the product placement not necessary in the game, but could portray the product in a positive light? If so, then the company would pay to have their item in game.

A very simple strategic "blackmail" if you will is to silently mention that this offer stands for multiple competitors, but is only available for one sponser. The product recieves prominant placement, and is seen as advantagious for the player to aquire in game. That way, when the player goes shopping for the items, they subconsciously relate its position in game to how good it is. This is not a very difficult concept, and an easy concept to pitch. Pitch the demographics and user count to show the value, and then just prove that you are increasing POSITIVE brand awareness and you are all set.

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forb, I think there is some misunderstanding that I will try to clear.

I'm not using BCCI, IPL, Sachin Tendulkar or M. S. Dhoni to make my game popular (ie like not using FIFA and their players to make your football game popular) but rely on solid game play instead.

You are correct w.r.t. big companies not paying, but I do not intend to approach big brands either. As a nobody, its important to have a success story first, even if that means approaching smaller advertisers and lesser revenue.

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