You’re in the middle of a tough battle in Clash of Clans.

Your wizard is casting spells, your giants are stomping walls, and your dragon is roasting the defending troops. But the enemy is strong, and your hopes of 3-starring him are fading fast as your giants step on cleverly concealed bombs and your dragon goes down in flames. All that dark elixir is right there, just waiting for the taking … but it will never be yours.

Unless …

ad engagementAll of a sudden, up pops a power-up opportunity: Watch this ad, and your dragon will miraculously resuscitate, giving you the edge to finish off that attack, achieve victory, and dance like an idiot.

Here’s the question: Would you watch that ad?

The answer probably depends on whether you’re a gamer and how much you’re into Clash of Clans. But if you’re as into it as my son is, it’s not even a question. You’ll watch War and Peace backwards in Farsi in full 360p glory to save your attack.

(OK, that might be going a bit far.)

This is a fictitious example — I don’t play Clash of Clans and, from what I’ve seen of it, I don’t think the game has ads like these. But the point is, gamers will pay attention to ads that save them from sticky situations.

That’s what MediaBrix calls “breakthrough moments” in gameplay, and in the company’s self-reported data on effectiveness, CEO Ari Brandt told VentureBeat over email that rescuing gamers in distress, whether damsels or not, wins engagement rates that are a staggering 543 times higher than Facebook brand posts. That’s important for both advertisers — and mobile app developers who are trying to monetize their games.

ad engagement games

“We’ve been trained to think it takes millions upon millions of impressions to make an impact … but that’s not the case,” Brandt told me. “The key is to focus on the delivery of the message to ensure it forges an emotional connection with an audience. That all starts by understanding the users emotional state of mind and being part of the experience instead of intruding on it.”


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MediaBrix is a mobile advertising platform that focuses on the breakthrough moments in games and apps that have the potential to create that emotional connection. In March of this year, the company released its third semi-annual report on mobile gaming, claiming 91.4 percent engagement in over a billion in-app impressions, which is helping generate staggering $200 CPMs.

Today, the company released its fourth report.

The key takeaway? When you give something to get something, you can get a lot.

Advertisers who rescue gamers see 66-times click-through rates compared to online and mobile rich media ads, the company says, in addition to to the 543x engagement rate. Reward ads, in which advertisers give gamers a gift for completing a level or a challenge, get 50 times clickthrough and 460 times engagement. And encouragement ads — for gamers who are failing — get 23 times click-through and 106 times engagement.

ad engagement rates0

Brandt says it’s all about the placement and timing.

“Marketers have spent billions of dollars building a brand image trying forge a connection with their prospects, then they use targeting to reach their desired audience, but that where everything breaks down in digital media,” he said. “Great creative, right person, and then your message is delivered in an intrusive manner or it’s not even seen or ignored [that] becomes a wasted opportunity.”

These are huge numbers, of course, and self-reported from 200 separate ad campaigns totaling over one billion impressions.

But they jive with what we’ve learned in our Mobile Games Monetization report. This type of value-exchange ad is not tremendously widespread yet, probably partially because it requires some level of integration with your game rather than just dumping in an SDK. But it shows tremendous promise.