MarTech Interview with Tobias Knutsson, CEO at Adverty

Tell us about your journey into marketing technology and how you started at Adverty?

It all started with a deep interest in advertising and marketing. Since 2000, I have worked in different positions with more or less all forms of digital communication. Everything from classified ads and banners to being the CEO of one of Sweden’s largest companies in content and native marketing. Games and apps are the communication channel of the future and are already equated with social media when it comes to reach so when the opportunity came up with Adverty, I jumped at the chance.

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Tell us about Adverty and why it was founded?

Adverty is an innovative in-game ad platform for advertisers, agencies and developers. As the leading platform for true in-game advertising, Adverty delivers a seamless experience to connect brands and people through its revolutionary display advertising technology built for games. Our platform offers in-game ad inventory at scale and allows content creators to monetise the complete experience with unobtrusive, easy-to-integrate, immersive ads. Our unique solution unlocks unreachable audiences and comprehensive monetisation streams in the largest exclusive network of seamless in-world advertising for games, esports and brands.

How does in-game advertising compare to other channels?

Our recent study indicates that mobile users prefer non-intrusive ads whilst seamless in-game advertising delivers significant ad awareness and brand recall compared to web display advertising. Indeed, 50% of the survey participants who were presented with a series of adverts in different online environments said that ads that blended seamlessly into the gameplay experience were the type they would prefer to see – compared to 30% favourability for a banner ad on a news website. The context makes interruptive advertising inappropriate, with in-stream, native formats key. With mobile gamers still reluctant to pay for games, this is where in-play advertising comes in. Brands have at their disposal a wealth of opportunities to create attractive, non-intrusive advertising and present it to their target audiences. Since ads blend naturally into the game environment with no ad blockers in sight, the possibilities for marketers are endless. Ultimately, we think in-game advertising offers a remarkable opportunity for brands to reach consumers at a highly engaged moment, which is why many are now starting to prioritise games and esports as the media channel for the future.

Explain your unique innovation In-Menu ad formats

Last year, Adverty launched the In-Menu ad format to complement our In-Play brand takeover opportunities on billboards and other virtual outdoor sites, already available within gameplay. The revolutionary In-Menu advertising format enables contextually relevant IAB display banner ads in between gameplay. Deeply integrated at game design level, In-Menu™ is an in-game advertising unit that brings performance-based, programmatic advertising to Adverty’s range of seamless ad solutions. As the first and leading provider of seamless, programmatic in-game ad solutions, Adverty is once again showing the way to bring brands into the new world of gaming. The interactive nature of Adverty’s In-Menu™ ads combines unobtrusive brand exposure with a call to action, allowing advertisers to deliver brand messages and actions of their choice, including direct paths to purchase. Compared to other solutions on the market, Adverty’s proprietary, patented ad technology is completely unique in its ability to keep users within the game throughout the complete ad experience – a sought-after feature among both game developers and brands.

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What impact has the pandemic had on gaming in 2021?

The pandemic saw a huge global spike in online and mobile gaming and esports. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the online industry already had up to 2.5 billion users and market value was due to reach $180 billion by 2021. According to the latest study by games market insights company, Newzoo, the market is set to reach three billion players by 2023.  This $159.3 billion market, it says, will exceed $200 billion by 2023.

Despite these figures, gaming and its global audience of 3 billion remain largely untapped as an advertising channel. Fortunately, marketers are waking up to the value of the gaming medium, with its diverse and engaged audience, and the plethora of in-app, ad tech solutions available today. Mobile gaming is mainstream and this represents a land-grab opportunity for brands, one that could enable them to unlock previously unreachable audiences. With large swathes of the population spending more time at home than ever before, we have seen the gaming category grow exponentially, with some of the most sophisticated brands starting to explore in-game advertising. In the so-called ‘new normal’, forward-thinking brands will prioritise innovative formats that offer genuine engagement, whether on or offline. It’s always been absolutely critical that advertisers follow the eyeballs.

What are your thoughts on the state of digital marketing today?

Contextual sensitivity is critical for in-game ads and this is a big problem within digital advertising. It’s important to focus on experiences rather than simply trying to shift products, to think of your brand, what it stands for and what it can offer. Interruptive ads spark backlash wherever they are placed. The aim, as with all advertising, is to feel natural and to provide a non-obtrusive experience that is entertaining or informative – or both.

What’s the future of in-game advertising?

Nearly 3 billion people worldwide play games meaning billions of streaming minutes are generated by influencers on YouTube and Twitch alone. The unrelenting growth of the esports and gaming industry over the last few years has seen it progress from a gathering place for nerds to a mass-market global phenomenon. We are seeing brands and agencies divert budgets into channels such as in-app and gaming which are performing well and are complementary to their messaging and formats. Indeed, more and more marketers will be making a necessary shift towards seamless and non-interruptive in-game advertising that sits alongside the immersive experience of virtual worlds. We look forward to brands leveraging the new ad inventory in the coming months, enabling advertisers to grow awareness, unlock previously unreachable audiences, and boost conversions – all within a brand-safe and immersive context.

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adverty

Adverty unlocks unreachable audiences and comprehensive monetization streams in the largest exclusive network of seamless in-world advertising for games, esports and brands.

Tobias Knutsson is Chief Executive Officer at leading in-game advertising platform, Adverty. Previously, Tobias was CEO at the fast-growing media tech company, Strossle, and Chief Commercial Officer at DanAds, an ad tech start-up simplifying the digital ad supply chain. Tobias is also an experienced entrepreneur and sales director; passionate about creative ad-solutions and unlocking previously unreachable audiences and monetisation streams, via brand-safe and immersive formats, Tobias is enabling brands to reach audiences seamlessly and at scale