Guest Post by Researcher James McDavid:

In our new report, Extend Your Marketing Into Games, we take a closer look at how marketers can take advantage of opportunities within games. From dedicated consoles to mobile devices and in browsers, games are a multi-platform stage for brands to get in front of consumers. 

But the problem is most marketers are blind to the opportunity games afford, due to outdated beliefs about this channel. The biggest being that 'game players are a niche demographic not worth targeting.'

In-Game Advertising Example

In reality, these consumers aren't the stereotypical teenage (or eternally-teenage . . .) boys who live in their parents' basements. They're all of your customers. Our data shows that gaming is a pervasive behavior – almost 40% of online Europeans ages 45 to 54 are playing PC games at least weekly. And across mobile devices, over 50% of US online adults ages 18 to 44 engage in game playing.

Today, using games as a channel for branding and awareness is an obvious opportunity. Marketers can begin to play by using existing resources and techniques familiar to them from standard online display efforts. From placing their ads alongside browser based games to integrated in-game advertising on consoles – and there's a rich vendor landscape out there to help ease the transition into in-game advertising.

But the game doesn't stop there. The possibilities extend to developing your own game that is infused with your brand in every element of gameplay. We’ve seen entertainment franchises playing in the branded game space for many years now (who can forget James Bond-Goldeneye on Nintendo’s N64 console) but this practice is increasingly spreading to other categories of brands. For instance, Nike+Kinect’s Training game makes use of the Xbox's Kinect controller to bring people into a Nike themed world.

For a more in-depth look at the different ways marketers can use games, make sure to read the report and please get in touch with me either via the comments below or on Twitter @james_mcdavid. What do you think about games’ potential for marketers?