Samsung Is Launching Gaming-Specific Ads Through Its TVs

Samsung has announced in a new interview that it will start launching “contextual gaming advertising” towards owners of its smart TVs.

The announcement was reported earlier this month in the industry publication Mi3, where Samsung revealed that one in five of all Samsung smart TVs were used for gaming. There’s 1.8 million Samsung TVs in Australia that support ads, according to Samsung Ads Australia’s general manager Alex Spurzem, and the company has some pretty savvy technology that can identify what type of game you’re playing.

“Using the technology we can identify footage from the most popular gaming titles and recognise those gaming sessions. That means brands can reach players that not only have a specific console, but more importantly, they can reach consumers based on the games and the genres that they play,” Spurzem told Mi3.

This push isn’t new — Samsung has made some noise about gaming ads before, and what kind of data they gather when their TVs have been used for gaming. But the most recent quotes are more towards getting gaming publishers to advertise directly to people directly through the TV, as opposed to some form of pre or post-roll solution that plays before a Twitch stream, YouTube ad, and so on.

“We think [it] will be a huge opportunity for the gaming publishers. We can bring very targeted strategies in terms of reaching gamers. For example, reaching only those gamers that are into the genre, but haven’t got the exact game in question,” Spurzem said.

Exactly what this looks like, and how effective it’ll be, is another matter. Right now, the extent of targeted ads on Samsung TVs seems to be limited to a single tile in your TV’s menu bar, which crops up whenever you want to change sources from, say, free-to-air TV to a console plugged into HDMI 1. Gamers have already shown a huge distaste for ads that interrupt their experience — what happened with UFC 4 is a great example. And if there’s not enough conversion from display ads on TV into some tangible action, like preorders, wishlisting on console store pages or something tangible that leads to sales, then publishers might not bite as hard as Samsung hopes they will.

Another option down the contextual gaming ad path could be further promotion of Gamer 365, a Samsung-owned network that runs through the Samsung TV+ streaming service. Gamer 365 features gaming news, lifestyle and esports content, although it wasn’t viewable locally when I checked my household’s Samsung TV for the purposes of this article.

Still, it makes for an interesting battleground. Brands, advertisers and marketers understand that video games are a massive market, one that has proved difficult to reach via traditional marketing means. So how do they connect with this technologically savvy audience? We’re going to see some real interesting answers to that question over the next three to five years.

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