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Video Game Advertising Playing to Win… and Sell

1 minute read | September 2010

Gerardo Guzman, The Nielsen Company

At Nielsen, we have our eyes trained on every media screen possible when it comes to advertising effectiveness. Knowing that gamers are among the most engaged consumers when playing an online or console game, we’ve been looking closely at the impact of in-game ads on their buying habits. Recently, we worked with game maker Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) on behalf of Gatorade to see how their in-game ads drove offline sales. Our study found that that in-game advertising increased household dollars spent on Gatorade by 24%, and offered a return on investment of $3.11.

This is the first time that this type of sales lift analysis has been done for advertising within video games and it’s all part of our efforts to help marketers better understand the potential of advertising in the gaming space. In this case the story is simple – dollars put into video game product placement result in more retail dollars.

How the Study Worked

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.

Using Nielsen’s consumer panel of more than 100,000 U.S. households, including a subset of homes that scanned video game UPC barcodes, we were able to compare 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).

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