The in-game sale-side platform (SSP) Anzu is partnering with the cybersecurity pros at Cheq to offer the first ever ad verification service tailored specifically for three-dimensional in-game environments. The service, which is available for console games across a variety of platforms, including Xbox and PlayStation, will be piloted by Turner via its ELeague Esports offering.
Through programmatic buying within console games, “these ads were far from ‘pixel-perfect,’” said Daniel Avital, Cheq’s chief strategy officer. “Ads would render poorly or just look bad, so nobody wanted to touch it. Not only that, but we were hearing that you couldn’t really measure these ads by typical verification standards.”
Typical ad verification outfits—including those like Cheq—might offer fine-grained measures of viewability, but they’re relegated to the world of digital display. Ensuring that a consumer sees a banner ad is worlds away from measuring how that same consumer catches an ad in a three-dimensional in-game world.
Now, advertisers who programmatically buy their media space in games like Grand Theft Auto or Madden will be able to get those 3D metrics. With this verification service, Avital explained it, buyers will be able to know, for example, whether their ad was viewed head-on, or from a hard-to-view angle. They’ll also know how much of their ad was obscured by any surrounding objects, or whether it was seen during in-game sunlight, or in a dark, nighttime environment.
As Anzu CEO Itamar Benedy explained, Anzu’s SSP can integrate with any existing DSP’s to make media buying in-game as easy as buying a banner ad on the web. Turner, which was acquired by AT&T for $85 billion last year, will act as one of the first major media buying companies piloting the program, and will use its ELeague Esports offering to promote Anzu’s in-game inventory to other Esports-friendly advertisers. According to Benedy, media buyers can buy through their preferred DSP, or via AppNexus’ platform, which was also brought under the telco giant’s wing in 2018.
The offering could entice gun-shy buyers looking to tap into the ever-broadening world of in-game advertisements. According to a recent eMarketer report, 86% of internet users found themselves gaming on at least one device; with a significant number turning to desktop games over mobile. That same report estimated the U.S. gaming market will reach $3.25 billion by the end of 2019, and nearly $3.7 billion the year after.