Nas says in-game audio ads are a ‘dope medium’ for promoting music. How important could they become for artists?

Christian Facey and Wilfrid Obeng

The music business has long known about the power of audio ads for its products – and the modern industry certainly knows about the potential for its artists’ collaborations with video games.

But do you know about the potential of audio ads within video games? That’s the business of AudioMob, a fast-growing UK-headquartered company specialising in in-game audio advertising that’s previously worked on campaigns for artists like Justin Bieber and Joel Corry.

AudioMob celebrated its highest profile success to date recently, with its in-game technology being used in the campaign behind Nas’ King’s Disease II album.

Released in August on the Mass Appeal label, the record was No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart. AudioMob promoted the LP via non-interruptive ads into thousands of video games, allowing players to hear samples of tracks – and be addressed by Nas himself – without interfering with their gaming experience.

According to AudioMob, the ads for King’s Disease II secured click-through rates that were 1,275% higher than the typical return seen from traditional (visual) in-game banners.

Video and banner ads have successfully monetised numerous mobile games over the years.

However, video ads can present a major challenge for game companies and brands alike, as intrusive ads frustrate players by taking over the device screen and blocking gameplay. AudioMob argues that this interruption causes negative associations with brands and games which ultimately reduces user retention within a mobile title.

Indeed, a recent survey found that 75% of consumers prefer to have audio ads within games as opposed to video and banner ads that pause gameplay.

Reflecting on the Nas campaign, Mass Appeal’s Director of Marketing, Celeste Li, said: “The AudioMob team seamlessly guided us into the mobile gaming ad landscape. The platform has an expansive reach and is an exciting opportunity to connect with even more fans. This is a helpful tool to add to your marketing toolkit.”

Nas himself said: “It was interesting to witness the music react in a different landscape. It’s a dope medium for artists to connect with the globe.”

AudioMob has raised $2 million to date, via backers such as Google, Supernode Global, and Atomico’s Hamble Angel Fund.

MBW caught up with AudioMob co-founders Christian Facey (an ex-Facebook exec) and Wilfrid Obeng (an ex-Google exec) to get some more detail on the Nas campaign, and how they see the sector working with labels and artists in the future…

Which games was Nas’ album advertised in, and how targeted can you be as regards the audience?

Christian: King’s Disease II was promoted within thousands of games, from Sudoku and Wordscapes to some of the most popular racing games in the world.

We use contextual data (non-personal data) to send non-intrusive audio ads to gamers during gameplay, without interrupting them.

We also targeted mobile gamers based on their music tastes, so we hit consumers who were more likely to be engaged with Nas’s music and click through.

What are the advantages for consumers/gamers and brands with this form of advertising?

Wilfrid: Remember the GTA V radio? It was (and arguably is ) still one of the hottest music properties to promote your music in. Fortnite is now similarly in the spotlight.

Brands can use AudioMob to get their messages in front of similar, highly-engaged users, within the mobile games they play.

Game developers do not see a fall in retention, as AudioMob’s audio ads are non-interruptive. The gamer can continue playing the game without being blocked by the ads. Secondly, if they chose to exit the game and click through (our audio ads come with clickable banners), this is a sign of true intent. This is something we optimize towards.

Which other brands or products have you been working with?

Christian: AudioMob has worked on campaigns within games for labels like Ministry Of Sound and acts including Ed Sheeran, David Guetta, Joel Corry and Sugarhill Gang.

“AudioMob can access 1.5 billion unique mobile gamers around the world, with non-intrusive audio ads providing a click-through rate 1000% higher than typical banner ads.”

Brand wise, we’ve worked with Intel, Samsung, Jeep, Nestle, BlueDotFestival and countless others.

What would your most message be to the worldwide music industry about the potential of audio ads in games – and of AudioMob in particular?

Wilfrid: 66% of brands now see digital audio as a key part of media strategies (DAX, 2018) and audio advertising grew 23% to $2.3bn in 2018 (IAB). That makes rewarded audio an alternative to rewarded video ads.

AudioMob can access 1.5 billion unique mobile gamers around the world, with non-intrusive audio ads providing a click-through rate 1000% higher than typical banner ads.

We also provide the largest pool of audio spots on the planet, larger than Spotify, within the most sought-after medium: gaming.

AudioMob has already worked with every major label and 100% of our music campaigns have produced phenomenal results for our artists.

Imagine if you could get your music track onto the GTA V radio, or perhaps into Fortnite? With AudioMob you can get in front of a similar audience instantly.

We’re well-positioned to be the next core platform alongside your typical music media mix.

From working with Nas, to Justin Bieber, from classical music to country, any artist within any genre has been proven to work on our platform.Music Business Worldwide