Cellcom's ad-funded game trial: the Results

It is probably because they read here my criticism of their somewhat cryptic information policy back in April (well they probably didn't) but - one way or another - Cellcom, the Israeli carrier that entered into a comprehensive ad-funded mobile game trial has provided insight in the results. Kudos!

So what do we learn? Here's some of the highlights:
* 44% click-through rate
* 19% acquisition rate
* 10x higher game downloads per user (compared to downloads prior to the trial)
* 24% of the participants had not downloaded a game in the preceding 6 months, and 54% had not done so in the preceding 3 months.
* Take-up appears to have been particularly high amongst the youngest (9-20 years). No surprise here. The sentence reporting that is a bit mumbled, so not sure if they want to tell us that 65% of the users in this segment downloaded at least one game during the trial...

A little aside I noticed was that they call advertisers - somewhat carefully - sponsors: does that mean they didn't get any return for their money? Anyway, they advertisers/sponsors included quite a few of the biggies, e.g. Nokia, McDonalds, Diadora, Samsung, Adidas and Walt Disney. All the agency powerhouses tinkered with it, too, with McCann, Saatchi & Saatchi and BBDO all involved.

I have praised above Cellcom's information policy but two crucial data points are (somewhat unsurprisingly) left out, namely CPM and pay-out to the game publishers. For a 1-month trial, everyone will be in for the ride, and be only to show that they are in the midst of the flavour of the month, mobile advertising. However, only if advertisers are that (and not sponsors), i.e. if CPM will be at levels comparable to other media (or better), will it work. The above click-through numbers suggest that this might well be the case, and the added value of extreme targeting (the mobile screen is a user's most personal one: it is not shared with others to the extent the TV or computer is) will improve that further.

The question will then remain if big mobile game publishers who regularly spend hundreds of thousands dollars on a game will provide for in-game ads in these games and if licensors for such games will allow advertising that will then factually be endorsed by their brands. Finally, operators must make sure that the consumer is not charged for the data transferred to feed the ads. This can make for an incredibly complex business model, and perhaps one that will not make it worthwhile for one or more of the parties in it to participate. Much easier of course if there is no third-party licensor involved. The result could then likely be a two-fold structure: high-powered branded premium games for a price and unbranded, ad-funded games for free.

1 comment:

  1. 44% CTR? That's amazing. It's quite unbelievable actually, but good for them. Looking forward to more ad funded mobile services, we've only just begun.

    Thanks for the post!