A Meta-Analytical Review on the Effects of In-Game Advertising on Consumers’ Attitudes: An Abstract
Technological advances have increased the ease with which consumers can avoid traditional advertising messages. Brands have thus sought alternative ways to communicate with their consumers (Lee and Faber 2007). Product placement in mass media programming is one of the alternative methods adopted by brands, and it has maintained its import both to practitioners and researchers alike (Karrh 1998; Russell 2002; Nelson 2002; La Ferle and Edwards 2006; Gupta and Gould 2007).
In-game advertising (IGA) is the burgeoning frontier for communicating with consumers in western media. Practitioners have largely adopted the video game channel for their advertising purposes, spending over $2.75 billion worldwide in 2015 only (Statista 2017). According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA 2017a), the computer and video game industry in the United States alone was worth $30.4 billion; this figure was $101.1 billion in 2016 for the worldwide market (Newzoo 2017). Further, in the United States, more than 150 million Americans play video games. Video games though present a relevant medium to reach a massive and engaged audience.
In this article, we present the results of a comprehensive meta-analysis on the effects of in-game advertisements on brand attitudes, focusing on three major factors already tested in the product placement literature. After extracting the data, we analyzed three different relationships: gaming time → brand attitude; brand familiarity → brand attitude; and brand prominence → brand attitude.
First, the results show that gaming time has a positive effect on brand attitudes. That is, participants who played the game for more time showed higher attitudes toward the brands presented in the games. Second, brand familiarity did not impact brand attitudes. The overall effect size was not significant across studies. Hence, participants’ attitudes toward the brand did not differ across different levels of brand familiarity. Finally, we also find that brand prominence did not affect consumers’ attitudes toward the brand. Taken together, the results suggest that in-game product placements might be effective in generating more favorable consumer attitudes, but this will depend on the time people spend playing the game and will not depend on the level of brand familiarity and location of the placement (central vs. peripheral).
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