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Understanding how the brain processes and retains information is crucial for advertisers aiming to capture and maintain consumer attention. Memory, an intricate system within the brain, relies heavily on sustained attention and emotional engagement. These cognitive processes are significantly influenced by dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, reward, and motivation.

Dopamine plays a pivotal role in the formation of memories by reinforcing the experiences that are deemed rewarding. When an event triggers a dopamine release, it not only captures attention but also enhances the likelihood that the event will be remembered. This is why emotions and dopamine are integral to creating impactful advertising. Ads that evoke emotional responses are more likely to be retained in memory, forming positive associations with the brand.

Attention, Emotion, and Immersion: How AR Advergames Surpass In-Game Ads in Achieving Brandformance

Attention is a vital currency in the advertising landscape, reliant on a mutual exchange of value between audience and advertisers. But to truly capture and retain consumer attention, advertisers must first understand the roles emotions and dopamine play in memory formation.

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to reward-seeking and motivation, profoundly influences how we process and retain experiences, form positive emotions, and determine the worth of goals. Creating opportunities for dopamine release is therefore essential in crafting compelling ads that not only grab attention, but also form rewarding and worthwhile experiences.

Advergames and In-Game Advertising are two established formats for advertisers to boost user attention and evoke impactful emotions using the power of dopamine. In this article, we'll explore the practical differences between these strategies and why Advergames—particularly those harnessing Augmented Reality (AR)—may have the edge in the advertising world. 

The Critical Differences Between Advergames and In-Game Ads 

Advergames and In-Game Advertising both utilise the user’s intense attention and engagement during gameplay to deliver branded experiences. However, the formats fundamentally differ.

Advergames are games specifically built around a brand’s representation. They leverage interactive gaming experiences to create positive brand associations by continuously tapping into the dopamine-reward system. In this way, Advergames craft an environment where users actively engage with the brand in an entertaining, immersive manner.

In-Game Advertising, on the other hand, delivers branded experiences to users at key moments of attention and engagement within independent games. In this way, In-Game ads aim to capitalise on users' deep immersion in gameplay, which is usually accompanied by heightened focus and dopamine stimulation. 

But how impactful can an ad be perceived if the user’s attention is fully on the game? Can mere association with engaging activities foster a lasting positive brand affiliation?

Supercharging Brandformance with AR Advergames

Brandformance intertwines long-term brand building with short-term performance marketing, aiming to not only strengthen brand visibility and reputation but also prompt immediate, quantifiable actions such as clicks, conversions, and sales. 

AR Advergames can be perfect formats for driving Brandformance as they seamlessly fuse entertainment and brand interaction. Being inherently immersive and interactive, AR Advergames enable participants to actively shape the narrative and become integral to the brand story. This approach works to keep users actively engaged, in contrast to In-Game Ads where they are passively shown content. 

While users are entertained, they're subtly exposed to brand messaging and products, influencing their purchasing decisions. Integrating features like 'play to win’ and ‘redeem in-store or online' can further motivate immediate action while cultivating lasting consumer-brand relationships. In turn, participants foster deeper emotional ties with brands; boosting brand recognition, ad recall, and customer loyalty. 

Measuring the Impact of AR Advergames

An important metric for assessing branded experiences in gaming environments is the average Attention Time. Findings from Aryel's user campaigns show that AR Advergames exhibit a remarkable average Attention Time of 1.32 minutes, with a median of 1.02 minutes. This sustained attention signals significant user engagement and interest, particularly when compared to in-game advertising, where ads are typically viewed for a matter of seconds.

Another critical metric is the ad experience completion rate, which Aryel’s data shows AR Advergames averaging an impressive 85%. This suggests that the majority of users who engage with AR Advergames see them through to completion, highlighting their appeal and positive brand sentiment.

The power of AR Advergames therefore lies in their ability to captivate audiences, sustain attention, and forge memorable experiences; boosting customer satisfaction and lifetime value. This approach embodies the concept of 'Adventainment' — seamlessly blending advertising with entertainment to ensure the brand message isn't just seen, but deeply felt and remembered.

The innovative fusion of AR with gaming elements in AR Advergames is reshaping digital advertising, and transcending the conventional focus on impressions and clicks to a deeper understanding of consumer engagement and emotional resonance. AR Advergames are increasingly proving to be potent tools in advertisers’ Brandformance toolkits, helping navigate the intricate balance between brand building and performance marketing in today's competitive landscape.

By Claudia Mastromauro, Vice-President of Sales, Strategy, and Operations for the UK at Aryel

About the Author
Claudia Mastromauro is a prominent figure in the digital advertising industry, currently serving as the Vice President of Sales, Strategy, and Operations for the UK at Aryel, a leading provider of Augmented Reality (AR) marketing solutions. With over 15 years of experience, Claudia has been instrumental in pioneering innovative ad-tech strategies. She is also a respected public speaker and a committed advocate for gender equality in the workplace. Her leadership and strategic insights have significantly contributed to Aryel's growth and success in the competitive digital marketing landscape​ (Business Wire)​.

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