Spotlight Q&A: How Anzu and Moat are gaining ground for in-game advertising

February 23, 2021 | 5 minute read
David Goodfellow
Strategic Partnerships Director, International, Oracle Advertising
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Even against the backdrop of fictional worlds and role-playing, in-game advertising is a very real—and skyrocketing—business. The global events of 2020 cast a spotlight on gaming’s diverse audience and its increasingly broad reach and the adtech industry is leaning in to play.

We sat down with Itamar Benedy, Co-Founder and CEO of Anzu.io, to get his thoughts on the massive opportunity in the in-game advertising space and how their integration with Moat helps marketers confidently leverage this exciting medium.

Oracle: How have you seen video game usage and user behavior shift over the past year? How has the pandemic affected these patterns?

Itamar: This past year saw gaming numbers exceeding all predictions, with nearly $175 billion in revenue from an audience of over 3.1 billion people! Gaming was already on the rise, but the pandemic has given the industry a turbo-boost. While millions of people across the world stayed home during various lockdowns, they turned to gaming for entertainment, as a way to pass the time, and for safe social interaction. Social gaming is now on the rise, and the concept of a virtual world inside gaming — The Metaverse — has emerged as a natural outcome.

Oracle: As more people seek home-based entertainment, how have advertisers adjusted their strategies to connect with consumers?

Itamar: As people moved mainly to digital consumption — streaming, social media, and gaming — advertisers followed them there. Advertising in films, out-of-home (OOH), and even print dropped off almost immediately after the pandemic started. Spending on digital advertising grew by 6% in 2020 and is expected to continue growing.

When it comes to in-game advertising, even advertisers who hadn’t really considered it before COVID began to look at it more seriously as a way to reach the vast gaming audience at home. The in-game advertising market came in at $3.2 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $6.4 billion by 2027.

Oracle: How can advertisers use in-game advertising to grow incremental reach? Can you share stats that showcase how this channel reaches beyond the myth that gaming typically skews young and male?

Itamar: With over 3.1 billion gamers, every third person on Earth plays video games! The average gamer is 34 years old, has children, and owns a home. Globally, the male/female gamer ratio is closer than you think — if we look at mobile gaming, 63% are women — and players range from young children to those age 65+.

According to a Limelight Networks report, there are as many players over age 45 as there are below age 45. No matter what demographic they want to reach, they can find that audience in-game. With the sheer numbers and variety of the global and local audiences, gaming can offer the right audience to every single brand, for both endemic and non-endemic advertising.

Oracle: How does the Anzu and Moat integration beta help marketers confidently leverage in-game advertising?

Itamar: The integration is a game-changer both for Anzu and the in-game advertising industry as a whole. Moat is the iconic verification solution and advertisers have been waiting for it to come in-game. As the first cooperation of its kind, the combination of Anzu’s breakthrough technology and Moat’s deep insights platform is a much-anticipated step that will push in-game advertising as a mainstream media channel. Anzu is one of the first in-game advertising platforms to integrate with Moat and we couldn’t be any prouder!

Confidence in gaming as a media channel comes from data that shows its effectiveness and safety, allowing brands to make smart decisions about their ad spending. The integration between Moat and Anzu provides advertisers the data they need to validate in-game campaigns and track their success by giving them access to 3rd-party verified measurement for in-game ad campaigns. That starts with the General Invalid Traffic data Moat verifies across Anzu inventory today, and we’re looking forward to expanding measurement as our collaboration continues.

Oracle: The future of digital identity in advertising will play a major role in how brands can safely connect with consumers across various channels. How well is gaming media currently positioned to address audience targeting and optimization? How is Anzu preparing for the evolving digital identity landscape?

Itamar: Anzu was initially built for PC and console, where cookies and IDFAs don’t exist, so moving to a privacy-first world isn’t a big change for us. We use other metrics, such as estimated location data, first-party data, and platform advertising identifiers when available. We’re partnering with adtech leaders to ensure advertisers working with us have access to advanced audience targeting.

This includes collaboration with Digiseg, one of the only targeting solutions already prepared for the cookie-less era. Gaming provides an easy-to-understand contextual environment. Between contextual relevance, ease of use, and using Moat for verification, Anzu is positioned well to weather the move to privacy-first.

Oracle: What are your thoughts on how this will impact measuring ROI/ROAS?

Itamar: I don’t think the move to privacy-first will significantly impact measuring ROI/ROAS of in-game advertising campaigns or other endeavors that are not reliant on third-party data. Like all brand awareness-based advertising, there are multiple metrics available that enable advertisers to measure return.

Unique identifiers are not crucial here — instead, Anzu focuses on brand awareness and consideration as well as brand lift impact.

Oracle: What’s next for in-game advertising and Anzu? What are you most excited about this year?

Itamar: Anzu has started the year on the right foot with $9 million in new funding from some major investors, including WPP, Sony, BITKRAFT Ventures, HBSE Ventures, and angel investor Marc Merrill, who is the Co-Founder, Co-Chairman, and former Co-CEO of Riot Game! This is a major milestone and sets the next stage for Anzu as a company. I am excited about our upcoming plans, which include incremental growth and global expansion.

I’m also excited to take our cooperation with Moat to the next level, bringing verification to our campaigns and expanding the platforms.

I anticipate seeing in-game advertising grow into a mainstream media channel. With its creative and dynamic nature, it has an opportunity to offer the best advertising experience with personalized contextual messaging. On top of brand and ad agencies, I expect to see increasing adoption by leading programmatic players that will form dedicated exchanges for the new ad category.

At Anzu, we are considering this year — or this decade — the prime time of gaming! We can’t imagine a better environment in which to grow our company.

To learn more about the exciting opportunities and advancements in in-game advertising, check out the following blogs:

David Goodfellow

Strategic Partnerships Director, International, Oracle Advertising

David Goodfellow is the Partnerships Lead for Oracle Data Cloud JAPAC and sits on the Regional Board for the IAB SEA+India.


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