Feb 27

Eyeball Tracking, In-game Advertising, and Bunnyfoot

Posted by Ilya Malinsky :: Advertising in Video Games

Laraeyetracking Imagine you’re playing your favorite new racing title on the “hard” setting, and a particularly sharp turn in the track makes you lose control and crash into a brick wall nearly every lap. Chances are good that the offending wall just HAPPENS to be emblazoned with a huge, bright corporate logo... let’s say, “Fepsi.” Now, how many times do you have to crash into that wall until you start inventing creative new swear words incorporating the brand name? Or perhaps you’ll subconsciously get that defeated, just-crushed-my-Mustang GT feeling the next time you see a case of Fepsi at the supermarket. This is just one example of how in-game ads can deviate from traditional thinking about advertising, which basically boils down to “eyeballs=good”. 

British behavioral consultancy research (read: marketing) firm Bunnyfoot has taken the eyeballs concept and taken it one step further with PEEP (Post-Experience Eye-tracking Protocol), using a machine that tracks and records user eye movement during play. Cue “A Clockwork Orange” brainwashing scene visual... now.

In a brave move to expand their clientele to the video game market, today Bunnyfoot claimed that only 15% of gamers tested in a traditional manner showed any sort of “true brand-engagement” with in-game advertisements. Sounds convincing, until you realize just how little actual information is supplied by that statistic. I can’t help but feel like this another meaningless PR release meant to generate buzz and wind up blog… ers. Oh rats.

But seriously, exactly how were these gamers tested, and what was the problem with that particular method? What kinds of games were tested? Were the in-game ads presented billboard style, during load screens, or otherwise? What's the deal, Bunnyfoot?

If Bunnyfoot wants to prove the superiority of its creepy (yet nonetheless intriguing) PEEP method, they need to provide more specific analysis of why eyeball-tracking is as effective for video game research as say, comparing reader responses to different magazine layouts (another one of their services). Don’t toy with us, Bunnyfoot! You can’t get by on a cute name alone. Aww, who am I kidding, Bunnyfoot! I can't stay mad at you.

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