Brand Safety for Gaming and Live Entertainment

Posted by Brand Safety Institute • Mar 2, 2023 7:23:59 PM

Gaming and live streaming hold large promise for digital advertising. That promise can only be fulfilled though, if advertisers are able and willing to connect to the young audience in these spaces.

Meet Generation Alpha, the latest digital native generation, born between the late 2010s and mid-2020s and still developing their idea of what interacting with digital media and advertising means for and to them.

According to Insider Intelligence, “Millennials are parenting. Gen Z is entering the workforce. And the never-ending wheel of time has spun a new generation for marketers to watch: Generation Alpha. The oldest members of this digitally native, pandemic-influenced generation are tweens now, and marketers need to pay attention to how today’s children differ from their Gen Z older siblings.”

This is also a growing audience. In the wake of the Covid pandemic, as Mike Shields of Business Insider said, “more people were playing Fortnite, streaming Twitch, spending their savings to get PlayStation 5s.”

All this begs the question: How do digital advertisers effectively activate ads in the gaming and live entertainment space for these true digital natives?

Insider Intelligence posited that marketers need to leverage this opportunity by exploring gaming opportunities with the brands who can build engaging experiences within games.

Media Post also recently touched on this, describing how Warner Music Group plans to engage players on the metaverse gaming platform Roblox. “Rhythm City,” a level or world within Roblox, aims to be a music-themed social and roleplay experience. The sponsored environment will be able to act as a “virtual music store” that can connect users with new music, musicians, and exclusive digital merchandise.

This example also highlights the opportunities in gaming-related advertising for engaging in the context of the experience, as opposed to just having side-banner ads or in-game posters. These ads tied to in-game rewards are a peek at higher interaction dynamics possible only in the gaming and live streaming environment, and for many, a key aspect of the opportunity related to gaming.

The ad industry is moving to capitalize on this growing audience. The IAB is hosting its first PlayFronts, which they describe as "the annual marketplace dedicated to showcasing the advertising and partnership opportunities in the gaming industry."

However, there are concerns about gaming as an advertising platform. A well-shared article from The Drum says that, “marketers have been slow to realize its full promise for brands [in gaming]. Part of that hesitancy is down to brand safety concerns. Gaming communities can be ruthless.” Advertisers have been fearful of the live stream environment, taking a wait-and-see position. Platforms like Twitch have gone so far as to wrap their entire yearly recap up in terms of how they’ve managed their communities to reduce “toxic” expression among fans and streamers.

Brand safety in live environments and community related issues, represent a rich area for the industry to collaborate and devise solutions that meet the needs of both advertisers and the players. Broadly speaking, these solutions, don’t currently exist or do not yet exist in a form that functions as needed. The Brand Safety Institute is committed to helping develop those tools, through education and collaboration with industry leaders. This is the first in an ongoing series about the possibilities and pitfalls of advertising in the gaming and live entertainment space. We believe that only by working together can the digital ad industry as a whole meet the challenges of these new environments head-on.

Topics: Brand Safety, IAB, gaming, metaverse, live-streaming