Today Google unveiled a new ad system that lets advertisers get a lot more creative with their in-app advertisements. Game developers will even be able to let users stream a sample of the game right within the ad without having to download the game. Non-game advertisements will have increased interactivity and the ability to engage interested consumers more thoroughly.
Google is an advertisement titan because their vast trove of data lets them get ads to consumers who are more likely to be interested in the product being advertised. An ad that nobody is interested in is naturally a waste of space, so Google is trying to get better at putting content and product creators in touch with the kinds of people who already want said content and products.
Games are a particularly hard sell in this category, because what you’re selling is an experience. Such an abstract notion is extremely hard to pack into a tiny bar at the top of a mobile device. Sure, the ad says “Become the hero of legends” alongside a warrior woman with suspiciously impractical armor, but is this going to be a top-down strategy kind of legend, a clever puzzle-solving legend, or a crappy pay-to-win kind of legend?
Even if an ad is successful, and users download the game, Google has found that fully one fourth of downloaded apps are never used. The game didn’t actually gain an extra player from the ad. Since this new update to the way Google handles ads in Android will allow game creators to give potential players the ability to demo the game, this makes people who encounter the ad better qualified to make a decision about downloading. They get a taste of the experience and can decide if they want more.
All in all, this seems like a pretty good step toward making apps more relevant and less obtrusive. The project is still in beta with a limited rollout, but Google is hoping to attract more advertisers and roll it out to the full Android audience in the near future. I, for one, look forward to the ability to try out games and apps without having to download them. What do you think of this innovation? Let us know in the comments.