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Consultancy firm highlights "significant shortcomings" of in-game ads

Behavioural research consultancy Bunnyfoot has warned that there are serious flaws in current in-game advertising models, resulting in "poor brand impact" on the consumer.

Behavioural research consultancy Bunnyfoot has warned that there are serious flaws in current in-game advertising models, resulting in "poor brand impact" on the consumer.

Bunnyfoot specialises in assessing the effectiveness of advertising and product placement in games by observing gamers at play and tracking physiological data, such as heart rate and eye movement.

According to Bunnyfoot, "Removing moderator influence, cognitive bias, and verbal questioning allows the user to interact completely naturally with the game environment and ensures accurate responses."

The firm uses a 'Sponsor Fixation Index' to establish which moments in a game and which gameplay dynamics capture the player's attention most. In-game ads can then be "re-engineered for greater impact and emotive engagement".

Bunnyfoot conducted a study of current ads by getting 120 gamers to play titles such as Project Gotham Racing 3, NBA Live and Gran Turismo 3. The study found that "SFI scores, in conjunction with standard recall and recognition rates, were exceedingly low, and in some cases completely absent, in relation to the prevalence of advertising within each game".

This finding was attributed to the fact that "most in-game advertising fails to factor in emotional engagement and moments of peak excitement".

Bunnyfoot's new standardised metric is designed to give users a way to ensure in-game advertising is place effectively, and the company also offers a marketing plan analysis service.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.