EA has revealed results from a study conducted by The Nielsen Company which shows the degree to which brand advertisements within video games can boost real life sales. The study, commissioned by EA on behalf of Gatorade, shows that in-game advertising increased household dollars spent on Gatorade by 24%, and offered a return on investment of $3.11.
The study focused on households that purchased at least one of six EA SPORTS™ titles: NHL® 09, NHL 10, NBA LIVE 07, NBA LIVE 08, NBA LIVE 09 and NBA Street Homecourt. Gatorade had a variety of product placements within the games including arena signs, players’ water bottles, score updates and other call outs.
The study was based on Nielsen’s US Homescan panel of more than 100,000 households, representative of the US population, including a subset of Homescan homes that scanned video game UPC (Universal Product Codes) barcodes. The scanned barcodes were matched to a reference library of more than 14,000 video game titles. Nielsen compared the households that purchased at least one of the studied games before and after Gatorade branding was integrated into the games (the test group) with households that didn’t purchase one of the games (the control group).
These test and control group homes are projected out to the broad Homescan panel by matching them with the larger Homescan household universe based on similar purchase patterns and demographics in order to achieve a statistically reliable sample. Finally, the sales impact of Gatorade advertising was measured by analyzing and comparing Gatorade purchase behavior between the households that had and hadn’t purchased the games that carried Gatorade advertising.
This is the first time that this type of sales lift analysis has been done for advertising within video games. The study is the result of work undertaken by EA and The Nielsen Company to help marketers better understand the potential of advertising in this space.
“Nielsen’s study is a milestone for interactive entertainment,” said Elizabeth Harz, Senior Vice President of Global Media Sales at EA. “For the first time, advertisers are able to link the value of their in-game marketing or sponsorship to actual sales. Now brands can feel confident adding gaming as a core media channel for their advertising.”
”Video games are a deeply engaging consumer experience,” added Gerardo Guzman, Director, Media Product Leadership for The Nielsen Company. ”Bringing our industry accepted ad effectiveness understanding to video games is another way to help marketers understand how consumers respond to advertising across different environments. This should help optimize the impact of and derive a return on media investments. In this case the story is simple – dollars put into video game product placement result in more retail dollars.”