Zynga Dives Into In-Game Native Ads With Sponsored Levels

What Happened
Zynga, the game maker behind popular mobile game franchises such as “FarmVille” and “Words With Friends,” has developed a new ad product called Sponsored Play, which inserts branded levels into its games that play just like a normal level. Brands will work with Zynga’s in-house agency Studio E to create those branded levels, which are part of Zynga’s push to attract more ad dollars to subsidize its largely free-to-play games. Clorox and Naked Juice are reportedly among the first brands to test this innovative in-game ad format.

What Brands Need To Do
By giving brands the option to sponsor game levels, Zynga has essentially created the equivalent of product placement in mobile gaming. It replaces the disruptive in-app banners that usually populate free mobile games today, and offers a fun, native way to engage with the players instead. For brands that aim to reach young millennial audiences, this new ad unit provides a unique way to make a lasting impression on mobile gamers.


Source: AdAge

MediaSpike Sells Product Placement In Mobile Games

MediaSpike, a company that aims to make it easier to run product placements in mobile in social games raised a $5.2 million Series A.  The clever technology, which is integrated with iOS and Android games, but tied to no particular platform to allow for the frequent updates demanded by the gaming industry, allows developers to create listings for standardized placements in their games, which advertisers then bid for.  The company’s network already reaches 20 million unique users, reflecting the rapid growth they’ve experienced in the last 6 months.  Mobile gaming is a booming field, and advertisers are looking for a way to natively advertise to their users.  With millennials and Gen Z’ers being particularly difficult to advertise to, this sort of integration could be an indicator that some progress is being made with the efforts to advertise to them.