Member Q&A Series: Attention in Gaming

On October 13, 2022 Research & Resources

We recently released the Ad Attention Measurement Landscape Report – which summarised the increasing emerging evidence on the correlation between higher ad attention and business outcomes.

Our Gaming Working Group were keen to also provide some specific perspectives relevant to gaming environments and the related wide range of high engagement opportunities for marketers. We hope you find it useful…

Poppy Hill , Sr. Group Director, Integrated Solutions APAC – DoubleVerify

What attention metrics are available to advertisers for gaming environments, and how can they be leveraged to drive results?

In today’s saturated media landscape, it is more difficult than ever for advertisers to ensure that their ads are making an impact. To maximize ad impact, it’s becoming increasingly important for advertisers to track how much attention their ads are getting instead of solely relying on traditional metrics such as clicks – especially in environments like games.

Attention measurement continues to gain momentum in the media industry, and today, attention metrics can be used to gauge performance in many gaming environments. In desktop and mobile gaming environments, advertisers can leverage attention metrics to understand the impact of their ad exposure and measure key dimensions of player engagement with advertising, scrolling, user touches, screen orientation, audio control interactions and more. These granular metrics can provide advertisers with insights into their overall ad campaign – and creative – performance, as well as insights into gaming environments. They can also guide in-flight improvements and future optimizations.

Attention is a complex, non-binary concept, which involves evaluating multiple signals from the user or the environment to understand the impact an ad may have. DV’s proprietary solution, DV Authentic Attention®, captures over 50 attention metrics from web games on mobile and desktop and mobile app games. These metrics are then aggregated into actionable indices that allow advertisers to gauge ad exposure and user engagement – two critical components necessary to measure attention. The Exposure Index quantifies an ad’s presentation on a device, including size and placement, with considerations for different media types. The Engagement Index measures user presence and interactions at the device or ad level.

As the gaming ad industry continues to develop, advertisers will need to evolve the way they measure campaign performance – and a large part of that will include introducing attention measurement.

For measurement within gaming environments, can one utilise ad attention metrics alongside tried and tested media metrics – or do you see ad attention evolving into being the dominant metric in the future?

As an emerging advertising channel, gaming is a relatively green field for brands, and therefore is a great place for brands to advertise with decreased competition compared to other environments. However, advertisers must be thoughtful about their approach to effective ad measurement as strategies for gaming environments can vary. While advertising in gaming environments can be beneficial to brands that wish to reach gaming communities and build culture within them, marketers can benefit from understanding how attention metrics can help evaluate this medium’s immersive nature while minimizing interruption to game-play flow.

Because of this, attention metrics have rapidly gained momentum as a way for brands to gauge performance in ways that go beyond traditional KPIs – like clicks and other metrics reliant on consumers leaving the gaming environment. In fact, according to Forrester research, today “98% of marketers believe that deeper attention metrics would help improve campaign performance and advertising outcomes.*

DoubleVerify believes that attention metrics will continue to shape the future of measurement and are key to understanding campaign performance in any environment – especially in gaming. With DV’s Authentic Attention®, advertisers can understand and improve their campaign performance within web games on mobile and desktop and mobile app games. Attention metrics are the future of performance measurement, and should complement existing metrics that ensure media quality – such as fraud, brand suitability, viewability and geo-relevance – because advertisers must establish a foundation of media quality before focusing on measuring and improving campaign performance.

*Forrester research commissioned by YieldMo – date Feb 20 28, 2020: click here for more

Matthew McGinley, Head of Publisher and Telco Development – InMobi

Do you have any personal favorite examples of successful around-the-game advertising with high engagement rates?

In the recent State of the Nation report, Mobile Game ads came out on top among ‘Formats intended to use in Game Advertising Activity’. Within mobile game advertising, there are several opportunities to look forward to with blended in-game display and video, rewarded video, and interstitials, but I think the sleeping giant among all of this is Playables.

24% of respondents said that they intend to use this format, for the first time (on par with live streaming video). However, the interesting thing is, this format has existed for many, many years – even before what is now considered ‘live streaming video’. So, what makes it appealing to both new and existing marketers today?

Simply put, the key thing this format represents is ‘fun’. Its sole purpose is to create a positive, highly engaged experience, beyond simple click-through. Examples of this include how brands such as Arnotts, Unilever and Nike complimented the environment they were within (Casual Puzzle, Adventure, Role Play Games and so on) with creative communication strategy (view here), achieving, in some cases, over 250,000 game plays and engaged dwell times above 1min+. Alongside this, pre- and post-research uncovered key business outcome metric increases across awareness, consideration and purchase intent.

Today, while attention metrics within gaming environments evolve to capture campaign specific data and non-mimicked environments, marketers can continue to use their existing toolkit of areas in viewability, time-in-view and more to achieve a validated look at the dwell time and engagement of Playables, besides the creative platform’s metrics. It is highly recommended to also include research into what the format is achieving, over and above campaign engagement to capture a full funnel view.

Ricky Chanana, Head Of Sales AUNZ – Twitch Advertising

Are brands keen to experiment with customised virtual experiences and engage more directly with gamers? 

On Twitch, we’ve seen brands find it hard to grab the attention of Gen Z and Millennials gamers. These sought-after audiences tend to reject traditional media and advertising, but Twitch is where they can come together with shared interests and meet others that they can trust, including creators. This has prompted brands to engage with this group in a more dynamic, interactive and connective way. They turn to Twitch not only for creator-led customised content and also the one-of-a-kind interactive community experience on our service that makes Twitch their go-to destination.

Here are two of my favourite campaigns that show how brands like DoorDash & Queensland Government customized their campaigns to engage directly with their audience through gamification.


To drive awareness and increase consideration of DoorDash’s wide range of on-demand delivery options beyond just a food delivery service, Twitch told the story of DoorDash from the perspective of “Player One”. By transforming both a Twitch Aussie Streamer (/PlayitShady) and a DoorDasher (‘Jake’) into a video game character, their journey with DoorDash will come to life in the form of two custom commercials that look and feel like an action arcade game. The custom commercials premiered on Twitch, alongside with a special food promotion for the Twitch community. Successfully bringing DoorDash’s brand values and identity to life, the campaign exceeded benchmark metrics by as high as +90%, and clocking over 2,000 live chat mentions of DoorDash on chat.

View the video here

Queensland Government – Department of Transport & Main Roads

To educate Queenslanders on road safety and encourage the community to separate drinking from driving, Twitch challenged rising streamer /TJBirrd to prove that it’s never ‘all good’ when it comes to drinking and driving. In a unique game of Minecraft where gradually, throughout the course of a two-hour sponsored stream, the gameplay was increasingly impacted by long lags to depict the—sometimes fatal—consequences of impaired reflexes.

As the first Australian government who had ever sponsored an influencer broadcast, the Queensland Government was able to deliver a serious message in a fun and engaging manner. Successfully exceeding benchmark metrics, the stream drove epic audience participation through chat, with the Twitch community sharing experiences with their mates drink driving, while smashing channel viewership and engagement expectations.

View the video here

Georgia Woodburne, JAPAC Managing Director – Azerion

What’s a robust way to measure attention in advertising, and also run comparison tests for a number of ad formats? 

We believe that you can implement eye-tracking control tests to find out which ad formats outperform on attention gained per second.

We have partnered with Lumen to help brands and publishers measure and buy attention. Frequent video gamers are recruited via panels and assigned to the test or control group. The test group are exposed to a game-play session, including sponsored ads from streaming services. The test group is then asked questions around brand recall. The test group is then shown the ad in isolation and asked about brand perceptions and intent to purchase. The control group are asked questions around brand awareness, perceptions and purchase intent.

The results from the control group are used as a benchmark. We are then able to generate an attentive seconds metric. This composite metric helps us understand the true power of advertising to deliver ‘eyeballs’ for advertisers and can be used as a single metric to assess inventory quality across media channels. Our research has shown that in-game ads outperform all standard display ad formats.

James O’Driscoll, Head of Sales – Digital Turbine

How compelling are the results of any recent ad attention measurement you have conducted within gaming environments? 

Digital Turbine and Lumen recently conducted research to understand the level of attention and the resulting impact on brand lift KPI’s in mobile gaming rewarded video environments. The research was conducted in the UK across a panel of 150 respondents aged 18+ through a 10 minute online survey. Respondents were asked to play a Word Puzzle game through a mobile web browser where ads from various brands were shown.

Through eye tracking, Lumen observed that the ads were viewed for an average of 22 seconds, compared to 19.5 seconds for the gaming norm. Lumen predicted that the ads would generate 21,828 seconds of attentive seconds per 1000 ad impressions. They concluded that there was an increase of 27% more attention generated through Digital Turbine rewarded video environments. This is significant research as it is the first independently conducted attention study for rewarded video, and while it does not account for the role of the in-app user experience (which is a naturally more seamless environment), these results are the highest observed by Lumen across all other online video channels (and the highest directly comparable within gaming).