Google is rolling out the option of Youtube-style skippable video ads to online games publishers, highlighting the system's high penetration and user engagement as well as relevance and convenience. The search giant is also "opening up the DoubleClick Ad Exchange to monetize desktop games."
Google's game monetisation product manager Rebecca Illowsky made her case in a blog post - a bid which could have major ramifications for the free-to-play online model.
"For advertisers, reaching users across screens and in different environments is one pain point, they want to be able to reach their audiences effectively using one platform," Illowsky explained. "For publishers, they've constantly told us that they want the ability to tap into a large pool of demand from all advertisers, including video advertisers.
"We work with many advertisers who already know and like the TrueView format and want to reach a gamer audience. Now we can connect them to businesses looking to fund their game development."
TrueView offers potential customers the chance to skip ads after a brief period - but this, says Illowsky, shows that those who do continue to watch are fully engaged - giving a better picture of penetration than unskippable pre-rolls. Additionally, advertisers only pay for those videos which are watched to their conclusion: 15-45 per cent according to Google's figures, with the effective cost per ad served efficiency accelerating at double the speed of other formats.
"We think this ad is not just game-friendly, but user-friendly overall since users only watch the ads that are actually of interest," Illowsky added. "The TrueView video ad format leads the way in aligning the interests of publishers, advertisers and the user. We also expect that opening up the TrueView video ad format to games will result in better monetization and fill rates for games publishers."
In-game advertising has never met with much enthusiasm from console or PC players, but has become a successful model in the mobile world and has obvious applications for the spread of free-to-play on other platforms. For now, though, Google seems to be focusing on Flash and HTML5 markets.
"Publishers who have desktop Flash and HTML5 games can now access the global advertiser demand, top-performing ad formats, and finely-tuned controls offered by the Ad Exchange. Advertisers can now specifically target online games' highly engaged audiences with wide range of gamer-friendly ad formats. These include image and text overlays and interstitials, right through to standard video ads and the skippable TrueView video ad format."