Gameloft’s Mobile Gaming Predictions for 2019

If the phrase “2019 trends predictions” fills you with dread – rest assured. I’m not going to talk to you about Brexit, GDPR ‘one year on’, or proclaim that next year will (again) be the Year of Mobile.

Instead, I’m going to share a few thoughts on what I’d like to see from mobile marketers next year. Here’s three ways I think our industry needs to smarten up in 2019, so we’re best placed to make the most of the massive opportunity coming our way:

Think beyond video

We all know that mobile video will continue to be huge in 2019, and beyond. 5G, when it eventually lands, will see us watching more videos on our mobiles than ever (and higher quality videos to boot). It goes without saying that it should absolutely be a key part of our mobile strategies next year.

But we need to think beyond video too. There is a natural tendency to rely on it, meaning marketers can overlook other formats. Recent Mintel research found that 27m British mobile owners play games on their phones. So, in-game interstitial ads, or even fully-branded custom-built games, for example, provide great opportunities to reach a large (and engaged) audience.

Using a range of formats in app and/or in-game alongside video also helps with the overall brand piece. I used to work in children’s marketing, and saw some really powerful examples of integration around upcoming movies. Creating games around these movies, for instance, really helped bring to life the characters from the films. Children love to understand these characters, to go on the journey with them and feel as though they’re part of the action. There’s a lot we can learn from advertising to children, and apply to adult audiences – make something fun, and people will want to engage with it. Provide lots of content to interact with, and you’ll get better responses.

Regardless of who your audience is, thinking outside of video will help boost ROI and make brands more memorable. So, next year, let’s challenge ourselves to try a range of formats – and to add some glamour and a bit of creativity to our platform while we’re at it.

Plan around new cultural moments

Black Friday and Christmas aren’t going anywhere – and will continue to be all-important for most brands. But there are other exciting cultural moments in 2019 that mobile marketers should consider hooking activity around.

The Rugby World Cup in Japan is great example. Rugby has grown significantly over the last decade – the opportunity here is huge. Plus, fans are engaged with mobile – research around the last world cup showed that over half of rugby fans multitasked on their phones when watching a game at home (and over 40% of fans at matches). Four years later, this figure will be even higher. Whilst there are some well-established brands in this space, there’s still room for others – as long as they’re connecting with fans. If brands can leverage a large event in a way that’s authentic to your audience, and earn their trust, they’ll love you forever.

It’s not just about cultural moments, there’ll be a number of cultural movements next year for brands to engage with. eSports, for example, are continuing to grow at a ridiculous pace. Some universities are now running eSports courses – it’s clear this kind of digital entertainment is reaching maturity. Those looking to get involved shouldn’t be discouraged by the fact that there are already established players in this space. It’s not all about sponsoring a big eSports event at a major venue. Brands can get involved at an in-game level, such as by sponsoring power ups which can help players progress through the game.

Get behind a better industry

Even as mobile advertising grows and grows, there are still ongoing issues and concerns around low-quality ad placement and ad fraud. Earlier this year, Oath research suggested over half (58%) of advertisers are more concerned around their brand safety than 2017.

We’ve made real progress this year towards making our industry safer, and more transparent. Gameloft was one of a group of brands (and one of the first-in app companies) to recently receive the IAB Gold Standard certification – which was introduced in 2017 to reduce ad fraud and improve the digital advertising experience. It’s encouraging to see so many of our peers, across buying, selling, and support functions, seek recognition under the standard. It demonstrates that our industry has safety mechanisms and standards in place – that digital advertising is being done in the right way.

There’s still a long way to go. Registering for the IAB Gold Standard is a great start for those who haven’t already, but industry standards aren’t the only piece of the puzzle. Buyers also have a responsibility – to get to know the platforms they want to use, and the people behind them. If you’re considering using a platform, ask questions; ask for an app list, and check the quality of what you are buying.  Ask about audience data, viewability and safety. Try it out yourself to get an idea of the user experience. Let’s all take responsibility for implementing best practice and accountability this year – then we can reap the benefits of a better industry.

John-Paul Burke

Country Manager UK and Ireland at Gameloft
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