No one goes crazy over commercials, and certainly not in games. But more often than not it is a major revenue source for a developing company, which then allows it to offer the game for free or at a lower price than its competitors. The Israeli startup Aznu.io, which has developed a platform for organic and non-invasive advertisements within the games, announced a new financing round and several new partnerships.
Instead of pop-ups, have commercials that fit in just the right place
Anzu offers a system that integrates advertisements naturally within the gaming world. We are already familiar with regular computer game advertisements, but Anzu wants to put them somewhere else. Instead of throwing pop-ups and annoying sponsorships at you, Anzu wants to place relevant advertisements within the virtual real estate within the game. That is, you walk with your character on the street in the open world, and on top of the bus stop, or by the racetrack, ads are displayed, just like ads in real life. Like the modern advertising systems of Facebook and Google alike, Anzu also allows advertisers to target their audience, and reach the most relevant audience– instead of firing in all directions.
As you can see from Anzu’s highly respected list of investors, the company does not only target commercials for free mobile games– it recently signed collaborations agreements with Ubisoft, Unity and also implemented its system in the super-popular kids game, Roblox. If you’re a gamer, there is a reasonable chance that you are currently slouching in your gaming chair. So, we asked Itamar Benedy, CEO and co-founder of Anzu, about how they would incorporate their advertising method for an audience that does not like to see advertisements in the games they have paid for. "Our goal at Anzu is to put the gamer first," Benedy claims.
“Our ads are aimed at complementing the game experience and not oppressing the player. To ensure that we always remain gamer-friendly, we conduct panel research and have a continuous dialogue with players to understand their experience from the game.” Benedy also claims that the company's ads are not clickable, to avoid distractions from the game. Moreover, in a study conducted in the UK and U.S., it was found that 70% of gamers prefer this method of advertising over others.
And what about advertising on Roblox? Isn't it problematic to push commercials for children?
Benedy: “Roblox is committed to strict compliance with the GDPR and COPPA laws, is a member of the kidSAFE Seal Program and obtains periodic approval from the FTC. The result of these compliance measures is that it gives advertisers peace of mind because they can be sure that all content (including advertisements) undergoes a rigorous testing process and is not approved unless it is safe for advertising for children. In addition, our advertisers at Roblox are individually selected for each game in which they appear."
Anzu.io was founded in 2016 by Itamar Benedy, the company's CEO; Michael Badichi, CTO; and Ben Fenster, VP of Product. The company employs about 90 people, most of them working in the company's development center in Israel. Their new $20 million funding round was led by NBCUniversal and former smartphone maker and VR glasses Taiwan’s HTC. In addition, several other superstars participated in the round, such as the Sony Innovation Fund, BITKRAFT Ventures, HBSE Ventures, Alumni Ventures, the Chicago Cubs baseball team, Goal Ventures and Marc Merrill, president and founder of Riot Games, the company behind the League of Legend.