Like every year, the video-sharing site YouTube asks its massive audience to vote on their favorite new commercials from the Super Bowl. And 2015’s crop of ads generated the biggest response yet.
The Super Bowl
With over 60 percent more votes than last year’s top pick, YouTube viewers voted a Nissan ad called “With Dad” as their top choice, but the mobile gaming company Supercell came in second with its Clash of Clans spot featuring actor Liam Neeson. This should mean even more attention for the top-grossing app on iOS and Android, and it is representative of a maturing market for games on smart devices. Clash of Clans was one of three games to have an ad play during this year’s NFL championship game, and all three were for mobile apps. With smartphone and tablet gaming reaching $25 billion in 2014, it’s not surprising that companies like Supercell are able to afford Super Bowl airtime as well as a top Hollywood actor like Neeson.
While Neeson and Clash of Clans were a runner-up in fan voting, it is actually the most viewed 2015 Super Bowl ad on YouTube. It is rapidly approaching 40 million total views. Nissan’s ad “only” has 22 million views.
The Clash of Clans ad’s combination of appeal and popularity is potentially a landmark moment for mobile gaming. It shows that not only can a developer afford to run a commercial like this, but they are also capable of making one that people enjoy.
“Digital marketing in mobile games is growing up,” SuperData lead researcher and founder Joost van Dreunen told GamesBeat. “The combination of a lower than expected cost-per-install around the holiday season and not one, but three titles advertising during the SuperBowl are signs that the industry has changed from a year ago.”
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At this point last year, nearly every mobile-gaming outfit was focusing all of their marketing efforts on in-game ads and other channels like Facebook. But now TV is a big part of the strategy for several different studios. In addition to Supercell, Machine Zone ran an ad for Game of War with swimsuit model Kate Upton and developer Ucool ran a 15-second spot for its Heroes Charge game. All three titles are similar in structure with base-defending strategy mechanics.
“The combined spending of Ucool at $2.25 million, Machine Zone at $4.5 million, and Supercell at $9 million on their ads triggered a flurry of buzz both in the industry and among consumers,” said van Dreunen.