A “big game advertising” campaign could cost as much as $1 million and would take months to build, according to a report by analytics firm ComScore.
In a survey of 3,000 people, ComScore found that more than 70 per cent of respondents believe big game advertising campaigns are a waste of time.
“I would say the average cost is around $1m to $1.5m per campaign, and a lot of people say, ‘I think I can do it myself’,” said ComScore’s CEO and founder, Mark Pincus.
“They want to spend it on other things, not spending it on advertising.”
The report also found that consumers are more likely to use a game ad if it is sponsored by a major company, such as EA, than if it’s an ad for a local store.
This means that companies like EA could be spending billions of dollars advertising their games, with the games then being resold to consumers.
It is estimated that about $100bn (£81bn) worth of game advertising is currently in the hands of companies.
In the US, the average ad spend is $30m per year, with $25bn of that spent on big games.
ComScore found it cost $12.5bn to build a “Big 5” game ad campaign in the US last year, and that the average time for building one was three years.
However, the report suggests that it could take months for a big game campaign to reach consumers, with most campaigns taking less than two weeks to complete.
“There’s definitely a difference between a $1,000,000 campaign, a $10m campaign, which are very different things,” said Pincs said.
“A lot of the big games, like Grand Theft Auto V, the amount of marketing they’re going to put out is very small compared to other games, and they may not spend it all in the campaign.”
For us, that’s not the case.
The more important thing is that we’ve got an advertising budget that we can spend, and we’re not wasting it on marketing and ads.
“So, that is where a $500,000 or $1 billion budget comes in.”
As the gaming industry is getting bigger, the cost of big game campaigns is also rising.
A study published by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in 2016 found that publishers and ad agencies spent about $50 billion (£38bn) on the top 10 video games of all time.
In 2017, Comscore’s CEO said he believes publishers and advertising agencies spend between $20bn and $25 billion (£17bn and £18bn) a year on ad spending in the gaming sector.
“We think that a lot is being spent in that space because the cost is being shifted to a more fragmented market and a broader variety of consumers,” Pinc said.
While there is still much to be learned about how games are spent, it’s clear that the cost per sale is increasing, and it will likely continue to do so in the coming years.
“The key thing is the value proposition,” Pucs said, adding that this value proposition should be focused on creating new content.
“It’s about having a story, it should be about something that you care about and it should reflect the value of the product,” he said.