There’s a new in-game ad type. Will it take off?

source: odeeo.io

There are many different ad types and formats. Interstitial videos, banners, interactive ones… Most of them convert pretty well, but it seems there is a new type of ad appearing soon. There’s a company called Odeeo and they want to introduce “ non-intrusive audio-based messaging” to the world of mobile gaming. In this article, I’ll describe how the format is going to work and I’ll make some predictions regarding its viability.

So, what’s the fuss about?

Interstitial ads are pretty much generally hated, but effective at what they do. Imagine playing a mobile game. After clearing a level, you’re displayed a 30-second video that tries to encourage you to download another game. That’s pretty much it. The biggest problem is that such ads are often considered an annoyance by players – after all, they can’t play your game when the ad is displayed. 

Odeeo aims to provide a similar type of ads, but with the added benefit of undisrupted gameplay and immersion. The way they wanna do it is simple. An audio clip is going to be played while a visual part of the ad will also be displayed on the screen. To be more exact, they have two formats right now: audio banner and audio icon. Both of them are displayed in the video clip below. Just to let you know, the ads are supposed to support targeting, so you will be able to easily and precisely connect to your potential customers. The player will be able to keep on playing the game and the ones who decided to run the ad campaign will have their ad delivered to the user. 

The CEO of the company, Amit Monheit, claims that the ads are performing well in tests (there is no public data, though) and that the ads are not meant to be a replacement for interstitial videos. It seems that audio ads perform the best in hypercasual games with short gameplay loops (up to a minute).

Here’s the part where I complain about stuff

I think audio ads are theoretically a great idea, but I don’t think that they’re going to take off and be the next big thing in advertising. And there are 3 main reasons that will make the audio ad nothing more than a novelty.

Cost of production

Image and video ads can often be made by people you already have employed at your studio. Graphic and motion designers are pretty much always capable of creating content for promotional campaigns. When it comes to audio, though, most of the work is usually outsourced. This means that firstly, you’d have to find a recording studio. Secondly, you’d have to have a voice actor available. These two things alone would cost a lot, and then you’d have to have the audio arranged, mixed and mastered in order to make it good. So, we’re talking hundreds of dollars if not more for a 30-second audio clip. Imagine trying to run an AB test with 4 ads. The costs would be quite high.

Of course, I know you can find some people on Fiverr who’ll do that work cheaply, but using such contractors could decrease the quality of your ad and you certainly don’t want that to happen. It’s hard to beat a good voice actor recording in a professional studio with a sound engineer keeping an eye on everything.

Cost of localisation

As it’s well known, ads made in the viewer’s native language always convert better than ads in English. However, having audio ads localised means going through the same process as described above multiple times. Additionally, you’ll also have to cover the costs of translating the script into other languages and that’s on top of the recording costs. 

And the 3rd and probably the most important reason of all:

People very rarely play mobile games with sound on. This means that blocking such an ad would be simple, as one would only have to mute their device as it’s often done anyway. The audio ad would then just become a banner or an icon and these don’t convert well.

Does this mean that such ads are pointless? I wouldn’t say so, at least for now. A game that could leverage them to the fullest would need to meet some requirements, though:

  1. It has to be a mobile game.
  2. Players must be incentivised to have their game sound on.
  3. It can’t be a sound-oriented game, as such ads would disrupt the gameplay.

Maybe an MMORPG would be fitting to use this ad format? I guess we’ll have to wait for some business cases in order to judge how it works. I’d be very happy if such ads took off (as they seem to be a fertile ground for creating cool campaigns), but I don’t see it happening.


What are your thoughts on this new ad type? Would you want to use it? How would you improve or expand provided formats? Share your opinions and ideas in the comments below. Thanks for reading this post. If you wanna talk about marketing and gaming or wanna hire me, hit me up on Twitter, LinkedIn or email me at jakub.mamulski@gmail.com.

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