Little over a year ago, Venatus partnered with private equity firm Livingbridge, kick-starting a record breaking year for the London based gaming and entertainment advertising specialist.
With the ongoing support and business expertise of Livingbridge, we expanded in all key areas of the business, from operations, to sales and business development, massively increasing our ad-serving capabilities and publisher support services.
In a year characterized by economic instability and inflation, we continued to provide a sustainable and reliable source of revenue to our partnered publishers, whilst delivering high-performing and captivating campaigns for our advertisers. Although the end of many COVID-19 restrictions meant gamers were free to explore the outdoor world once again, it’s clear their passion for gaming never diminished, with well over 3 billion gamers globally and strong growth forecast throughout the decade (Statista).
As we enter 2023, what better time to reflect on our achievements across the past year, working hard to boost revenue for publishers and engagement for advertisers, in an unfaltering gaming and entertainment landscape.
2022 was a record breaking year for our global sales team, who smashed their targets to achieve our most successful period in terms of direct and programmatic buy ad-sales. Their hard work helped achieve our most successful month on record in October, which was then beaten again in November!
Over the course of the year, the team booked over 1,100 directly sold campaigns, working with major household brands such as LEGO, Meta, Mattel, Disney, Google and PlayStation. With gaming audiences as broad and diverse as ever, our sales teams endeavored to build relationships with non-endemic advertisers, who may previously have not considered gaming focussed advertising as part of their marketing mix. We were proud to deliver campaigns from major brands such as Bulldog Skincare, Rubicon Soft Drinks and ASDA, who benefited from higher engagement rates outside of their typical audience pools and advertising placements.
We also expanded on the extensive list of ad formats offered to our clients, making it easier than ever for our advertisers to connect with gaming audiences in unique ways. We made big leaps in-game and across the metaverse, with our new in-game video placements and interactive 3D characters, which entertained young Roblox players across campaigns for Disney, Mattel and many more. Additionally our new custom branded Roblox world portal drove significant traffic to Samsung’s ‘Superstar Galaxy’, boosting their concurrent Roblox player count dramatically and increasing visibility of their custom-built environment.
Our work alongside EA and LEGO helped deliver a highly successful branded in-game integration to promote LEGO’s DOTS™, offering limited edition in-game collectibles to players of The Sims Freeplay in a limited time live event. This was a fantastic example of using custom in-game ad-placements to connect with gamers in a more thought provoking manner and was highly commended at The Drum Awards for Digital Industries 2022.
Behind the scenes, our often understated ad-operations team worked around the clock to ensure our clients’ campaigns delivered in full and achieved maximum performance. Their hard work and attention to detail was pivotal in achieving the successful delivery of our campaigns, ensuring KPIs were always best optimized.
Video campaigns were our most popular ad-format for advertisers in 2022 with over 420 campaigns delivered, followed by rich media takeovers and display campaigns, with over 280 delivered campaigns each, and lastly custom MRAID minigames with 130 completed campaigns.
Throughout 2022 our Business Development team worked hard to secure exclusive partnerships with the internet’s most popular gaming and entertainment communities, offering publishers the opportunity to supercharge their revenue by taking advantage of directly sold ad-campaigns, higher CPM ad-placements and proprietary header bidding technologies offered by Venatus.
Across the year we partnered with over 100 new websites, providing an average of over 100m new ad impressions per month for our advertisers. These partnerships significantly boosted our core and casual gaming audience base, increasing our coverage amongst the world's most popular game titles including Minecraft, Fortnite and League of Legends, as well as amongst esports and entertainment communities.
Venatus’ in-house creative team are the driving force behind the majority of our custom branded ad-placements, ensuring each campaign is eye-catching whilst non-invasive to users. The team’s skill in repurposing existing campaign assets into new immersive and interactive ad placements makes it simple for advertisers to connect with gamers with no additional creatives required, whilst driving much higher engagement rates compared to traditional advertising formats.
Over the course of 2022, the team developed and completed the designs of over 650 rich media takeovers, 60 custom MRAID minigames and launched over 10 new advertising formats for desktop and mobile devices, such as our new mobile takeover and mobile gallery takeover. Their fun and eye-catching design for Kellogg’s Coco Pops MRAID minigame helped us win ‘Best Esports, Gaming & Mobile Sponsorship’ at the 2022 UK Sponsorship Awards.
Our fantastic People department was able to massively scale up the team at Venatus in 2022, increasing the team by 57% with a total of 53 new hires, amassing over 100 employees globally. Our London based operations were bolstered with 21 new UK hires, whilst we extended our investment in the Philippines by opening a brand new office space in Makati for our 14 new technical and operations hires. The team worked hard to create a truly global workforce, with employees stretching from the UK and United States to India, South Korea and Australia, amongst many more.
With an average of a 21% increase in our operations, engineering and revenue teams, we’ve massively strengthened our ability to offer round the clock support to our partnered publishers and ensure the successful delivery of future campaigns for our advertisers.
As our London team looks forward to moving into our new Farringdon based hub in the coming weeks and with strong growth forecasted across the gaming and entertainment industries, exciting times lay ahead for Venatus in 2023.
With the ever-growing importance of contextual targeting due to Google’s depreciation of the 3rd party cookie and cookieless alternative increasing traction, Venatus is poised to dominate the gaming and entertainment advertising landscape by offering innovative in-game advertising ad-formats and custom branding activations for advertisers globally.
Our investment in a strong global workforce massively increases our publisher support and technical capabilities, increasing our capacity to onboard and drive revenue for our future publishers.
We’d like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year and we look forward to working with you across future partnerships and campaigns in 2023 and beyond!