In-Game Advertising Has Positive Effects on Real-World Sales

The research focused on EA Sports titles ranging from NHL 09 and NHL 10, to NBA Live, and NBA Street Homecourt. Within these games, Gatorade had placed various product advertisements, including arena signs, players’ water bottles, and other call-outs.


By studying the activity of over 100,000 households, The Nielsen Company were able to gain a comprehensive understanding of a representative section of the population. Using the Homescan panel of 100,000 plus homes, the analysts kept track of households who had purchased one of the EA Sports games before and after the appearance of Gatorade product placement; these homes were then compared against those which had never purchased the game at all (the control group).


These household segments are then analysed in relation to the “larger Homescan household universe based on similar purchase patterns and demographics in order to achieve a statistically reliable sample.” finally, the sales impact was determined by comparing the Gatorade purchase activity between homes who had and had not purchased the games which exposed players to Gatorade advertising.


The result showed that those households with direct experience of the in-game advertising spent 24% more on the drink in comparison with those who had not encountered the promotional material. It was also deduced that the average ROI as a result of in-game promotions equalled $ 3.11.


This is the first survey of its kind in which a sales analysis has been carried out for advertising within computer games. With this pioneering research, advertisers will be better equipped to assess the potential impact of advertising via video games, and whether or not the CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) process would be of great benefit for their brand.


The strategy of appealing to the younger members of a household has long been a traditional method employed by advertisers. This simply represents the next level of penetrating the world of the adolescent and, via the power of suggestion, urge him/her to impact upon the buying activity of their parents.