A Cheat Code to Help Brands Win Over Gamers

Dave Madden
Dave Madden  |  President, PlayerWON™
Published: Sep. 21, 2021

When’s the last time you watched an entire television program without looking at your phone? When’s the last time you surfed your mobile device without pausing to do something else? We all multitask, not just at work but also when we’re supposed to be relaxing with a piece of entertainment. Except for gamers. When gamers are sitting in front of their big-screen TV or almost-as-big PC screen, with controllers in hand, they’re definitely not multitasking. In fact, video games might be the only medium in the world whose audience is paying 100% attention.

That makes players the ideal audience for brands to engage with – if they can do it in a way that’s compelling without being intrusive or off-putting for gamers. For the past year, the PlayerWON™ team has been working with game developers to test out a unique engagement and monetization experience for free-to-play (F2P) console and PC games that we can prove is rewarding (literally) for players, lucrative for publishers and extremely valuable for advertisers.

Here are the core principles that have been keys to our success to date:

1. Put gamers in control. We make sure players always know and feel that they’re in charge of their own experience in terms of viewing brand-sponsored video within games. This is an audience that doesn’t watch a lot of television and is not comfortable with brand spots that just show up on a screen intermittently. They’re more used to scrolling through TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram and having much more control over their feeds. So in a gaming environment, if brands want to interact with them, the gamers really need to feel like it’s on their terms.

2. Reward players for their time & attention. This is a sharing-economy demographic. Players really want to be able to earn rewards in their games. Gamers are more than willing to devote time and attention viewing brand-sponsored video in order to unlock great free content. But it’s super important that there’s a clear value exchange, as players understand the inherent value of their time and attention to today’s marketers.

3. Only use high-quality video. The enormously popular free-to-play games that are being played on large TV or PC screens are massive 3D productions that can cost hundreds of millions of dollars to produce with hundreds of developers keeping them live constantly updating. The quality of the sponsored brand messaging sponsorship in games like these has to be commensurate (i.e., TV-quality) with these rich, immersive, big-screen environments. We cannot emphasize enough that the expectation of the quality of brand interaction is extremely high as far as PC and console game players are concerned. That’s why the dozens of campaigns that PlayerWON™ is running right now are premium brand messaging – not game ads for other games.

4. Respect the gameplay. Anything that interrupts gameplay or creates issues with the game economy is going to get a negative reaction on video game social channels like Reddit, Twitter and Discord. So it’s crucial that the sponsored-video experience truly respects the gamer’s point of view.

Following these principles has resulted in incredibly strong brand metrics for PlayerWON’s brand partners – and, more importantly, has resulted in players spending more time playing the games.

Ultimately, players understand game economies. They want to see their favorite games thrive. PlayerWON offers a way for developers to democratize access to their otherwise paid content and for brands to become heroes with gamers who get to unlock all sorts of great content for free.

That’s what we call a win for all.

Want to learn more? Find out how PlayerWON™ can connect your brand with the most passionate audiences in all of media.