The Los Angeles gaming and data communities are growing a bit today with the arrival of iQU (pronounced “I Q”). The three-year-old Dutch gaming analytics company announced the opening of its US headquarters in the City of Angels along with the appointment of industry veteran Jeannette Weinstein as its US CEO.
The company’s GameriQU platform maps and analyzes gamer behavior in real time across the Internet, social media platforms, and mobile devices. The company then uses this data to deliver the most qualified users — currently more 200 million worldwide — to developers, website publishers, and advertisers.
“Game developers, publishers and advertisers have tremendous opportunity to increase revenues – but, the secret sauce is that you must deliver qualified users by understanding the unique preferences and habits of each individual gamer,” says iQU founder Reinout te Brake (emphasis his).
iQU has partnerships with over 6,000 websites and 150 game titles. In a hypothetical scenario, an advertiser like EA might seek to target a specific audience to which to promote one of its renowned sports games. The company would utilize iQU data to identify which publishers attract such an audience — possibly a leading game review site — and help drive the desired traffic.
For publishers, iQU offers and integrates the ideal content to best monetize existing audience. For gamers, the company’s network of portals and game professionals, Gamer Society, offers recommendations to help users find interesting games and communities.
Weinstein most recently served as director of business development at content marketing network CPMStar (acquired by The Game Show Network in 2010), and was previously an early employee at The Rubicon Project. In her new role within iQU, the US chief executive will lead domestic operations, partnerships, and developer relations.
“Analytics without a monetary or user-acquisition benefit means nothing to game developers, while advertisers will only succeed by tapping the most relevant and accurate gamer profiles,” says Weinstein. “iQU stands alone in its ability to connect the absolute right gamers with the absolute right developers and advertisers.”
iQU’s customers pay the company on a CPA basis in most cases, meaning they pay a fixed fee for each user acquisition. In rare cases, usually where the promoted games require a paid registration, the company may utilize a CPM or CPC structure, where advertisers pay per impression or per click.
Weinstein envisions assembling a team of six initially, each serving dual sales and business development roles. “In our business, the two are one and the same,” she says. “You can’t succeed without knowing both sides.” The first of these team members will be a transfer arriving in October from corporate HQ in the Netherlands, but the remainder of the team has yet to be identified. iQU US will operate independently in most capacities, but will rely on its overseas parent for resources ranging from financing, international advertising fulfillment, and potentially technical development.
iQU currently focuses on core “hard core” gamers in the online gaming vertical, although a more casual audience, as well as adding multi-platform (mobile and connected console) support, are areas of emphasis for Weinstein going forward. Competitors in the space include Weinstein’s former company CPMStar, AdForGame, and even Google. While the company works primarily with large developers, publishers, and advertisers, future development plans also include the introduction of a self-serve platform through which smaller market participant can utilize the platform.
It wasn’t always clear that Weinstein would locate the company’s US operations in Los Angeles. Upon accepting the position she strongly considered establishing operations in each of Las Vegas, Austin, and Orlando. Despite the individual appeal of each, the new CEO concluded that none offered the multitude of advantages available in LA. Beyond its newly announced US operations, iQU revealed plans to open a similar regional operation in Seoul, South Korea later this year.
Despite the recurring negative press surrounding the gaming industry as of late, Weinstein and other industry insiders I’ve spoken to agree that the industry as a whole is healthy and growing. As an explanation, the iQU executive offered a comparison of the economics of gaming to those of attending a movie. A family of four attending a movie regularly spends more than $100 for 90 minutes of entertainment. The cost of an average video game is $40, with the average family getting more than 40 hours of entertainment over the life of the game.
“The thing that has changed in recent years is that gamers are getting smarter and more demanding,” says Weinstein. “It’s no longer enough to just deliver Mario Brothers I. As much as I still love that, the bar is so high now.” Once quality content is developed, companies increasingly rely on performance marketing tools to deliver that content effectively to a willing audience.