Amazon, McDonald's test rewarded audio ads in 'Big Brother' mobile game

2020/10/16 Innoverview Read


  • Audiomob, a Google-owned startup for audio advertising in mobile games, is offering rewarded audio ads in a multiplayer game inspired by reality competition show "Big Brother." Players receive digital currency to use in the app by turning on the radio in the virtual "Big Brother" house and listening to an ad, according to an announcement emailed to Mobile Marketer.

  • Brands including Dell, Amazon, McDonald's, Spotify and PayPal are running audio ads, which can be targeted at players competing for a chance to win $1 million or spectators watching the game in the app or on Twitch, Amazon's livestreaming platform. The "Big Brother" mobile game costs $4.99 to play, but is free for spectators. Those viewers have a chance to make in-game purchases.

  • The digital currency incentive could spur more users to listen to audio ads of major brands. In a video demonstration provided by Audiomob, an ad from Progressive Insurance plays in the background as gamer avatars move around the house after turning on the radio.


With the surge in popularity of ad-supported multiplayer games like "Among Us" for homebound consumers during the pandemic, mobile marketers have a chance to reach highly engaged audiences with their campaigns. Audiomob promises to make the ad experience more aural for players of "Big Brother," the mobile game inspired by the show that premiered in the Netherlands in 1999 and has since been reproduced in more than 54 countries. Its mobile game gives players an incentive to turn on the virtual radio in the "Big Brother" house to earn digital currency after listening to ads by brands like Amazon and McDonald's.

The incentive system is comparable to rewarded video ads in mobile games that offer players exclusive in-game content and bonus features in exchange for watching a commercial. Almost 80% of consumers who watch digital video are willling to view ads in exchange for free content, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found in a study last year. It remains to be seen whether players of "Big Brother" will show a similar willingness to listen to its new audio ads.

Audiomob says its audio ad format in mobile games has the potential to reach a broad audience. Sixty-one percent of gamers listen to music on their mobile phones while playing, per a YouGov survey cited by Audiomob. The survey also found that 86% of gamers don't like full-screen ads in mobile games because they interrupt play, while 67% said they preferred ads like audio spots that don't stop the game. With many gamers listening to music while they play, advertisers can potentially reach 1.5 billion consumers worldwide, Audiomob says. It also predicts that CPMs will become much more expensive for advertisers, climbing 250% on audio banner ads and outperforming Google Admob, Inmobi, Adcolony, Fyber, Ironsource and Vungle, according to its announcement.

The new audio ad format starts on the "Big Brother" playable as mobile gaming surges during the pandemic. Downloads of mobile games jumped 44% in Q2 from a year earlier, peaking in April at 5.5 billion, per Sensor Tower research. Seventy-five percent of U.S. households have at least one gamer, as measured by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The trade group found that among gamer households, 21% of gamers are under 18 while 40% are ages 18 to 35, a desirable audience for marketers.

(Source: MobileMarketer