The revenue from in-game advertising is set to skyrocket from $42.3B in 2019 to $56B in 2024 (Venture Beat). With such promising growth, it's no surprise that marketers everywhere are looking to incorporate in-game advertising into their advertising strategies. But, which in-game ads work best? And how can you leverage in-game advertisements to maximize ROAS for your clients?
In this blog post, we will break down the 4 most powerful in-game advertising examples: how they work and what you can learn to inform your next in-game campaign.
A Brief Background on In-Game Advertising
In the simplest terms, in-game advertising is a type of digital advertising that displays image, video, and audio ads inside video games.
In-game ads are most commonly found inside mobile games for IOS and Android but they can also appear in games played on computers and game consoles such as Xbox and Playstation.
Key Benefits of In-Game Ads:
1. Increased revenue opportunities in a new innovative marketing channel.
2. A growing audience that is diverse and extremely engaged in immersive environments.
3. Precise targeting capabilities to leverage new audiences, maximize scale and increase brand awareness.
Now that you a brief background on in-game advertising, let's move onto the examples.
Example 1: Fornite x Air Jordans
Nike’s Jordan Brand teamed up with the uber popular game, Fortnite, on a product integration that released new characters showing off some of the athletic apparel brand’s signature sneakers.
The partnership included two new, limited-edition skins — downloadable character variants that users pay for — wearing Air Force 1s in a variety of colors, including the black and red color way associated with the Chicago Bulls, per Bloomberg and as well as the Los Angeles Lakers' purple and yellow. The deal promoted a new Fortnite racing game mode called "Downtown Drop."
Given that level of exposure, Evercore ISI footwear analyst Omar Saad described the Nike-Fortnite agreement as a “genius” move.
These limited-time deals kept the game fresh, while giving partners an advertising platform which has has roughly 250 million registered users.
Example 2: GumGum x Frameplay x Hersheys
GumGum partnered with Frameplay to offer clients the opportunity to tap into a highly engaged gaming audience via an extensive network of premium games within the Frameplay network. This partnership has proven to deliver many successful campaigns for major brands such as Hersheys and Johnsonville.
In recent in-game campaign for the Hershey brand, GumGum x Frameplay significantly increased ad recall for the OH HENRY! candy bar. Frameplay served the Hershey brand's OH HENRY! creative across a number of contextually relevant game genres, including sports, casual and simulation games.
The campaign for the OH HENRY! candy bar outperformed the industry benchmarks and proved to be more engaging and compelling to the target audiences, with a +15.9 pt lift in mobile ad recall and + 18 pts lift with respondents who “like OH HENRY! Sponsorship of games."
Example 3: Roblox x Gucci Garden Experience
The Gucci Garden offered a digital locale to fans where they could buy Gucci accessories for their Roblox avatar from the Roblox marketplace with in-game currency called Robux. The items in question were relatively inexpensive, especially for Gucci, but they were only sold during specific windows of time over the course of a few days.
The campaign was aimed to build Gucci's brand awareness in a virtual world amongst a fresh new audience. One virtual Gucci shoulder purse, based of the Gucci Dionysus bag, lit up the Roblox marketplace and was sold for just one hour on the Roblox platform.
This method of combining the Gucci brand with the overall Roblox gaming experience, especially for just a two week period, built a sense of exclusivity and brought the brand in front of a younger, more engaged and diverse audience to increase awareness and entice sales.
Example 4: Fornite x Travis Scott
In 2020, amid the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, rapper and producer Travis Scott held an unprecedented concert inside the popular video game Fortnite.
This concert, termed "Astronomical," was a breakthrough for virtual gaming industry: Millions of fans watched live as Scott performed “Sicko Mode,” his chart-topping single with Drake. Over the course of the 10-minute concert, Scott also lead gamers underwater and into outer space.
A staggering number of people watched the event, with Epic Games reporting that 12.3 million tuned in for the premiere. After five shows, that number has reached up to 27.7 million unique viewers, with 45.8 million views, suggesting plenty of people saw multiple shows.
For many marketers, game developers and audiences alike, the roaring success of this concert proved the power of in-game advertising and how it can be leveraged in many different ways to draw attention and deliver an incomparable experience for game players.
In-Game Ads & Branding Opportunities
As established, in-game advertising is a powerful tool to amplify your brand and build awareness amongst a growing target audience . Here's how to leverage in-game ads for branding opportunities:
In-Game Advertising Action Plan
Pick the Right VariantS
In order to fully capitalize on your gaming ads and reach your intended audience, make sure to pick the right variants of in-game ads.
Advertisers now have a variety of alternative and engaging ad formats to pick from, that can help reach consumers in different ways. In-game advertising includes static in-game advertising (non-changeable), dynamic in-game advertising (changeable ads) and advergaming (a game built as an advertisement). Intrinsic, interstitial, adjacent and audio are common examples of ad context.
For example, a skins ad works when a brand customizes a "skin" item such as adding a brand's logo to a jersey in a sporting game, a branded world ad consists of developing a fully immersive experience and intrinsic ads are placed within a video game's actual playable world.
With such diverse formats, it's crucial to determine a campaign's goals and key performance indictors and then choose the right variants of in-game ads accordingly.
PICK THE RIGHT MEDIUM TO DELIVER YOUR IN-GAME ADS
As advertisers increasing your investment in in-game advertising, it is important to be extremely aware of the setting in which these ads are being placed.
Furthermore, you should also do some research to understand why people engage with gaming content and how they play games. This knowledge can aid brands and advertisers to collaborate with developers and work towards fine-tuning their messaging which can then be synced with the gaming environment.
USE in-game advertising as a marketing channel throughout the user journey
With advances in immersive gaming environments, brands and advertisers are now able to to embed virtual elements within the games without disrupting the gameplay experience. Moreover, the depth and breadth of the mobile gaming audience continues to broaden across age groups with an almost even gender split.
With the availability of such advanced and varied advertisements options and huge set of diverse audience-mix, you can leverage in-game advertising as a marketing channel to reach your target audience from all age cohorts at every touch point across the user journey.
USE CONSUMER DATA TO DRIVE AD SUCCESS
With increased availability of data from video game advertising, you can learn more about your consumers to make informed decisions and close the loop on your marketing efforts.
Insights derived from the consumer data can help answers crucial questions such as which features within the game are being used more frequently, retention problems or signals, areas where new in-game revenue-generating features can boost profitability, and which game genres should be targeted if a specific kind of product category is to be advertised.
How to Achieve In Game Advertising Success
Whether it be static ads or dynamic ads, in-game advertising provides a huge opportunity for marketers to reach diverse audiences in an exciting and immersive new medium. To maximize your return on investment for in-game ad dollars, here are the top tips to drive campaign success:
• Connect with players at an emotional level
• Blend in seamlessly, don't disrupt
• Conceive the right ad, don't pollute the game environment
• Know your audience
• Choose the right partner and platforms
Undoubtedly, for brands, advertisers and game developers, in-game ads present a mountain of opportunity. Not only do these ads appear in front of millions of eyeballs, but they also allow consumers to experience products in new and innovative ways.
Now, it is just a matter of leveraging the right format, in the right placement with contextual relevance to get the most of out of your in-game advertising campaigns.
If you would like to know more about in-game advertising with GumGum, please reach out here.