Game ad tech turns brands into players’ ‘pals’

Game ad tech turns brands into players’ ‘pals’

If Coca-Cola lent you a hand, wouldn’t you be inclined to buy its drinks? That is the secret sauce of web start-up Woobi

A screenshot of Woobi in action (Photo credit: Courtesy)
A screenshot of Woobi in action (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Each day, hundreds of millions of people around the world unwind after a long day of school or work with their favorite mobile or online game – and the last thing they want to see is an ad pushing Coke or any other consumer product.

Unless the ad platform pushing it was Woobi. According to company CEO Chaya Soggo, “Our ad platform engages with game players in ways that they not only approve of, but seek out. With Woobi, advertisers can better engage with users and build a long-term relationship that will keep them coming back for more. Although some would think that a system like this would be intrusive, it really isn’t, and we have proof.”

Soggot, who heads the 50-employee Tel Aviv start-up (formerly called TokenAds), has the numbers to back up her claim: “Since we started we have run tens of thousands of in-game ad campaigns for hundreds of companies, and we’ve had nothing but success.”

A good example of that, she said, is the success the company has had with popular Facebook game StreetRace Rivals, which saw an increase of 292 percent in “monetized users” (players the publisher makes money off of), with an attendant increase in generated revenue. According to the company, further exposure to the ads “show even greater results, and users report considerable satisfaction from the significantly improved game-flow resulting in an increase of nearly 10% in game-play session length.”

Woobi’s secret sauce is enabling advertisers to engage with players not via an external ad – the kind of annoying banner that hangs around the periphery of the screen and, if anything, prompts users to boycott the product instead of buying it – but as an organic part of the game flow, said Soggot. “Like everyone else, game players have shown a great resistance to paying for play, and they also do not want to look at ads. The problem is even more acute in games, because the flow of play creates a mood that encourages players to get ever more involved in the action.

“Advertisers who break that flow are setting themselves up for a major brand crisis, and our system – called DMA – ensures that the right engagement gets displayed at the right time. For us, it’s not necessarily about selling a product as encouraging a user to engage with a brand – to essentially ‘endear’ a brand on users – which, our experience proves, greatly enhances brand recognition and acceptance, which is a basic psychological fence brands have to get over in order to succeed.”

In a sense, Woobi’s DMA way – it stands for Dynamic Mindset Advertising – aims to make a brand a “pal” of the player. One good example, said Soggot, is the company’s campaign with Coke. “Users who are involved in games where they collect points, weapons, and other items that allow them to continue to the next level may find they are running short. At that point they are ready for an ‘outside intervention,’ which Coke thoughtfully provides – giving them an award for clicking on a link, or just seeing that it was Coke that bailed them out.”

That’s powerful psychological currency, and Woobi does that for Coke and many others, said Soggot. DMA ensures that the right engagement is presented at the right time and in the right way to ensure maximum engagement and minimum resistance. “We have developed very accurate algorithms that we use on the platform. All the transactions go through our server,” she added, and the company ensures that no advertiser or game app or site is taking advantage of DMA to push products, services or ideas that are not the type of thing Woobi would want to promote.

“Woobi DMA is a game changer for the in-game advertising industry,” Soggot added. “We are striving to change the perception of in-game advertising, from irrelevant clutter to a fun, relevant and valuable service, and I think we are succeeding.”

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