I was pondering marketing and advertising (mochiads) in flash games, and got thinking about traditional advertising, like on TV for example. I think its a reasonable comparison, you might spend 30 minutes watching an episode of something on TV, and according to wikipedia, in America: “a typical 30-minute block of time now includes 22 minutes of programming with 6 minutes of national advertising and 2 minutes of local.” So that’s nearly a third of your time watching adverts for a free TV show.
When you consider flash games, you will see an advert at the start of the game for perhaps 5-10 seconds, and you could potentially spend up to an hour playing some games without seeing another advert. Sure, you have google adwords ads around the game that are always visible, but I think that’s quite different to having your entertainment experience completely shutdown while you must watch adverts.
It’s a very good deal when you think about it this way, for the players I mean. Flash developers in general are still not earning enough on average in my opinion, and sure if the developer only spent a few days or a week on a game or if its no good then you’ll close the game if an ad break appears. However for a quality, compelling game I think there’s nothing wrong with inserting ads into the game at strategic, unintrusive points. Most adverts are only appearing for another 5-10 seconds, so I think it would be reasonable to have ads appear up to 5 or more times in a long game, say an hour. In fact when I’m honest with myself I think it could approach tv levels of advertising time, why not? What will happen, is that if you have a poor game, everyone will leave on the ad break and that game will earn less. Fair deal in my opinion. If you think your game is of lower quality you could place less adverts to keep players around longer. If you have a great game, players will hang around in exactly the same way they do on tv breaks (or go make some food and come back). Advertising online in flash games also has potential that tv doesn’t, such as being interactive (even include other games), and being able to open other windows, research the advertisers product, and so on.
People seem to have big gripes with lots of adverts, but I think if your audience refuses to sit through a 5-10 second break every 15 minutes there’s something wrong with your free game. I’ve even read a lot of people claiming that people won’t play your game if it takes too long to load. Consider just how long the intro sequence/credits take for a soap, I feel people still have this thought that “if its on the net it should be free and fast no matter what”.
I could rant longer but you get the idea! What are we planning in our game for adverts? An initial loading advertisement as per industry standard, then 2-3 more in adbreaks which coincides with other events that halt gameplay. I think it’s reasonable, we are providing roughly an hour long, free game in return for players sitting through a total of maybe 20-30 seconds of mochiads. That’s a bargain!
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