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The Brand’s Guide to Effective Mobile Game Advertising

Due to the forced stay-at-home orders, the COVID pandemic heavily affected the video game industry. The cancellation of in-person trade shows, events and sports contributed to that increase, forcing consumers to look to gaming and other activities.

Additionally, the pandemic also had an impact on television, with linear TV viewership declining in 2022. As a result, the video game industry was one of many to post 20% YoY revenue growth from 2019, reaching over $179 billion. in global revenue in both hardware and software for 2020.

So it’s no surprise that the mobile advertising game grew in popularity during this time. This is the second article in our new series on why video games are a huge opportunity for advertisers in 2023.

who plays video games

With the video game industry having an estimated audience of over 3 billion gamers worldwide, according to the IAB, and with in-game advertising revenue topping $6.26 billion by the end of the year, it’s a great opportunity for brands to get some of them. Great opportunity. Revenue.

  • 227 million people play video games in the US
  • 46% of video game players are women
  • 70% of female viewers are mothers
  • 80% of people who play video games are Gen Z

Zoe Soon, VP, IAB Experience Center, states that gamers no longer identify themselves as “gamers” in the traditional sense of the word, as people who watch TV are no longer labeled as “TV viewers”. . You don’t say “TV watchers”. It’s just people… we have TV viewing behaviors. We have gaming behavior, but people say “gamers” as if they are a separate, distinct group of people. This concept is changing as gaming becomes more fluid through the social and metaverse.

Playing video games is no longer considered antisocial behavior. About 70% of Gen-Z people who play games do so with the intention of “hanging out”, not actually playing. A Deloitte study found that Gen Z and Millennials spend an average of almost 11 hours a week playing video games. In all five countries surveyed – UK, US, Germany, Brazil and Japan, gaming was cited as their favorite pastime activity.

According to Statista:

  • 79% of gamers are over 18
  • The age of the average video game player is about 35
  • 61% of US adults play games on their mobile phones
  • 80% of male gamers between 18-34 prefer shooter games
  • 95% of female gamers in Asia play mobile games
  • Only 27% of all American players are not Caucasian
  • 73% of African American teens play video games

Furthermore, their statistics show that people over 40 also play video games. 14% are between 35-44, 12% are between 45-54, and 7% are over 65. These statistics suggest that video games are no longer played by teenage boys in their parents’ basements. People of all ages, races and genders are playing the game.

In the next several years, we are going to see gaming become an interaction language. If brands think of it as this isolated channel, they are already behind the curve. You no longer need a large gaming console connected to a TV to enjoy playing games. In 2022, virtually everyone has a full-fledged gaming console in their hands.

Gaming is now one of the best and brightest opportunities for marketers. Players are becoming increasingly diverse, and their interests extend far beyond just gaming. But when it comes to attracting attention and keeping an audience engaged, it’s hard to beat as a marketing medium.

But what should brands do if they want to start advertising in video games? The answer is mobile. Games like Candy Crush, Best Fiends and Apex Legends are popular among players of all ages. If brands want to get in front of their ideal demographic, mobile games are the way to do it. But there are some thoughts.

Mobile Games – Low Hanging Fruit

Mobile is the easiest way for advertisers and brands to jump into video game advertising. Because not all users are willing to pay for in-app purchases or prefer free games, advertising is a great way to compromise. Users get a chance to play the game for free, publishers get a chance to monetize the game, and advertisers get an opportunity to show ads to their target demographics.

In-game ads used to be intrusive, disruptive, and an overall bad experience for the player. Brands will shy away from in-game ad placements, citing junk or bot clicks and a waste of ad spend. But game developers for mobile, PC, console and online who wanted to monetize figured out a way to make ads feel native and part of the experience. Ads naturally fit into the ecosystem and advertising has become more realistic.

In-app advertising can also take the form of rewarded ads. These are uncut ads that give users previews of in-app items or add extra lives or benefits for those who would otherwise not want to pay for the ad-free version.

There are several in-game advertising platform options for advertisers. Platforms like Meta and Google AdMob offer ads in the following different formats:

  • Middle
  • native banner
  • Relevant
  • Rewarded
  • Expansion
  • In play

interstitial ads

Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that are placed on the interface of the app. They appear during natural pauses or transitions in the game and do not interrupt the user’s experience or pop up during play.

Interstitial ads are full-screen overlays. Like banner ads, they’re easy to implement and don’t affect gameplay because they’re full-screen. These are ideal for games with natural pauses or transition loops as ads can be shown to users while they are taking a break. Interstitial ads generate fewer impressions than banners but generally generate higher revenue.

native banner

Native banners are one of the most popular formats and one of the least intrusive. They are similar to normal banner ads, but the look and feel are similar to the environment of the game. They do not interfere with the game but they are displayed on part of the screen.

Banner ads are rectangular ads that can appear as text, images, or videos. They can appear on the home screen or be embedded in title or end-of-level screens. Banner ads are the easiest to implement and can maximize ad exposure while the user plays the game without disrupting the experience. Banner ads in mobile games are similar to banner ads on websites. AdMob has a “smart banner” feature that automatically adjusts the banner size to different devices.

Native ads can be customized in colour, visual design, layout and to match the context of the game where they are placed. They can contain pictures or videos. Native ads can reduce user churn and increase long-term value because they match the look and feel of the app.

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contextual advertising

Contextual ads use a standard mobile format to target users based on content preferences, interests and affinity. They naturally integrate products and services into the game.

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rewarded advertising

Many free-to-play games feature rewarded advertisements as a way for players to level up or earn rewards for watching a video ad in full. This format has the highest view rate and is widely accepted by the players as they are getting rewards for interacting.

Rewarded ads are when users choose to engage with an ad in exchange for a “reward” within the app. Rewards can range from extra time playing the game to power-ups and are usually only available through in-app purchase. Rewarded ads will serve as interactive ads like video ads and paid ads. This ad format gives users control over the ad experience: they decide whether to engage with an ad in exchange for a valuable reward. Rewarded ads have become an increasingly popular format in gaming as they drive user engagement while driving huge increases in revenue for developers.

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expandable ads

Expandable ads disrupt the user experience because they expand when a user clicks on them. When done correctly, they can be rewarding and provide an in-depth experience. But many times the ads get clicked by mistake and give little benefit to the player.

detailed advertisement

in-game video

In-game video ads are typically 15–30 seconds long and naturally placed at a natural transition point within the game. They interrupt the playing experience, so they should be well thought out and carefully placed.

Typically, players are rewarded with extra lives or prizes for watching a completed in-game video ad. For this reason, these types of ads usually have a higher success rate than others. They are also more expensive.

Brands should carefully consider which type of in-game advertising is best for their audience, goals and budget. Split testing of different offers, placements and platforms is also advised, as there can be variability with performance and cost.

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