In-Game Advertising: the ultimate performance marketing experience
With all of the buzz about virtual worlds and the metaverse, there already is a place where marketers can integrate their marketing into the playing experience: In-game advertising.
In-game advertising is the placement of ads within games. In-game ads appear during gameplay as part of the gaming experience. They can be signs on the side of a road or a boy giving his sports hero a can of Coke.
Gaming Stats: They will surprise you
According to data from game market insights and analytics from Newzoo, there are over 2.6 billion gamers. The gaming market generates $76 billion in revenue, and the average age of a gamer is 36. According to data from Omdia, in-game ads alone will generate $56 billion in revenue in 2024. Research from eMarketer found that in 2020, the age group most likely to start mobile gaming were users over 45.
Integrate into the experience
One of the complaints against TV advertising traditionally has been that ads break the content viewing experience. You’re watching a drama and as you’re about to find out who killed the antagonist, the program stops for three minutes of ads.
This example highlights the major benefit of in-game advertising: The marketing message does not disrupt the experience. Instead, the ad is integrated into the game-playing experience.
In many mobile games, in-game ads provide players with a clear value exchange. This is accomplished by providing players with free-play options for viewing in-game ads. Data from Tapjoy found that 72% of players understand the role advertising plays in mobile games and even actively engage with mobile ads.
Not all in-game ads provide players with rewards. But all in-game advertisers are mindful of the gaming experience. That’s why in-game ads uphold a “player-first” experience. They creatively integrate the marketing message into the game experience.
Why do gamers appreciate in-game ads?
Here are the main reasons why gamers derive value from in-game ads:
Rewards for engaging with ads: Many in-game advertisers give players who viewed or engaged with their ads an in-game incentive. Players appreciate this reward, and even seek it, as the abovementioned data from Tapjoy shows. And by rewarding the user, the in-game ads improve their gaming experience.
Support the gaming narrative: Major in-game advertisers often have an opportunity to support the game-playing experience. Like Coca-Cola’s 13-year sponsorship deal with American Idol, an in-game advertiser working with a game developer has the opportunity to integrate their product messaging into the game’s narrative. This can include billboards and in-store product displays or having players in the game actually using the product. With the game-playing stats highlighted above, we’re expecting more game developer-marketer integrations including in-game advertising in the coming years.
In-game ad formats
With the growth of gaming on mobile and other platforms, there has been an increase in in-game ad formats. Here’s a rundown of the most common in-game formats:
Rewarded ads/Rewarded video ads: Rewarded ads, as the name suggests, reward players for engaging with or watching the ad (if it’s a video). Players typically must watch or engage with the entire ad to unlock the reward.
Interstitial ads: These ads are usually full-screen and interactive ads that run between game levels or activities to reduce disruption. Many interstitial ads end with a call-to-action to download an app or game. This makes interstitial ads one of the more effective mobile marketing solutions for user acquisition.
Display banners: Similar to other digital marketing segments, display ads are still among the most common forms of in-game ads.
Playable ads: A fast-growing format, playable ads have become a highly effective user acquisition tactic. They offer a brief explanation of the game, a short, playable video, and end with a call-to-action to download the game. Playable ads are strong mobile marketing solutions that perform 8x better than interstitials according to research from SmartyAds.
Offerwalls: These ads are designed to encourage users to install other apps or perform other tasks in exchange for in-game rewards.
Coupon ads: These ads provide players with voucher codes that can be redeemed for prizes or discounts in the offline world.
Cross-promotional ads: This tactic is used by game and app developers with multiple and complementary offerings. With cross-promotional ads, a developer will market another game or app that the company is developing in the in-game ad unit. For cross-promotional ads, the only cost is the missed revenue from not selling that ad space. That’s why cross-promotional ads are used when ad space is unsold.
OK. But what can in-game ads do for me?
A mobile, landline, TV, and broadband connectivity provider turned to in-game advertising to increase awareness among the target audience, elevate brand perceptions and drive strong ad recall.
After the campaign, the client commissioned a market research firm to test the performance of the in-game ads. Here are the results:
The amount of time users spent dwelling (engaging) with the in-game ads was nearly one and a half times greater than the standard norm
Purchase intent increased by more than 10% among the target audience
The campaign generated a spontaneous brand recall of nearly 50%
These results highlight the performance marketing value of in-game advertising.
Interested in testing in-game advertising? If so, reach out to CC today to schedule a call to discuss how in-game ads can help you grow your business.