Microsoft has a world-class marketing department, and that team’s work is generating some great results for the latest Halo game.
Last week, Microsoft started airing advertisements for Halo 5: Guardians, the upcoming sci-fi shooter for Xbox One, and those commercials are getting fans pumped up. As part of its “Hunt the Truth” campaign, the company has rolled out three separate ads that each have a huge digital reach, according to real-time TV advertising tracking company iSpot.tv. The most popular of the three Halo 5 ads has 3 million online views and created 56,000 social actions on websites like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. Combined, the three commercials represented a 7 percent share of the all the online conversations that television commercials produced. That placed it behind only one other TV campaign, United Healthcare’s “Our Song” spots.
These Halo ads are especially aggressive for Microsoft. A big part of “Hunt the Truth” is to encourage fans to get online and look for clues about the story and world of the shooter. Those clues eventually led to revealing that the game will launch worldwide on Oct. 27. This kind of game advertising, which encourages participation and social actions, is only going to get more popular as publishers look for more ways to maximize the effect of their advertising campaigns.
“Halo is doing extremely well in aggregate, without question,” iSpot.tv analyst Charlie Foster told GamesBeat.
ISpot.tv is able to track this kind of data because it correlates the online activity to the timing and location of each person searching or tweeting about it. The website knows the last time an ad airs (Halo 5’s “Spartan Locke” ad last played during a rerun of Better Call Saul on AMC a few hours ago). It can take that data and give its clients — companies like Microsoft and its marketing teams — an idea of how well the commercials are doing their job.
So Microsoft can look and see that it is finding success with the Hunt the Truth campaign — although it may want to take some lessons from what United Healthcare is doing because its ad is doing even better.
“It’s important to look at what iSpot.tv is measuring here — the ad creatives,” a spokesperson for the company told GamesBeat. “Halo as an enterprise is massive, and there’s plenty of discussion about the brand and its games in general.”
That “pound-for-pound” ad performance is what advertisers want to see. Marketers are paying to reach as many new people as possible with their spending, and creative commercials can create a bigger reaction. That’s what enables something like United Healthcare — an insurance company — to get a bigger response than one of gaming’s best-selling franchises.
“As we analyze the social mentions on Facebook or Twitter and search inputs on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the like — all of which must be specifically related to the ad creative — the digital responses surrounding UnitedHeathcare’s ‘Our Song’ campaign far outweighs Halo’s,” iSpot.tv’s spokesperson continued.
So, iSpot.tv is basically suggesting that Microsoft needs to re-create more scenes from Dirty Dancing: