Why You Should Invest in In-Game Advertising

Gaming is the most under-indexed channel in advertising right now: With 3 billion gamers spending upwards of 6 hours in immersive environments all over the world, there is a global and engaged audience to go after, and marketers are rising up to meet the challenge.

In this blog post, we will discuss why advertisers should be investing in in-game advertising. We will cover the growth of in-game advertising, how in-game ads work, different types of in-game ads, benefits, uses, and how they can help you connect with the right target audience to meet your goals.

What Is In-Game Advertising?

Before we get any deeper into in-game advertising, it's important to understand exactly what we are talking about. 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 advertising includes static (non-changeable) ads, dynamic (changeable ads) and advergaming (a game built as an advertisement). Intrinsic, interstitial, adjacent and audio are common examples of ad context.

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.

The Rise of In-Game Advertising

The in-game advertising market size is set to increase by $5182.68 million, with 35% of the growth originating from North America (Technavio).

Alt Text: Illustration of the Growth of In Game Ads as the Gaming Community Rises

While many industries took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, digital-content-focused segments of the entertainment industry found themselves in a unique position to grow and tack on new users. For example, with more people at home and seeking out ways to pass the time online, gaming became the hobby of choice.

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the rising number of smartphone users and the persisting popularity of social media sites such as Tik Tok and Instagram, have rapidly made gaming a household activity and brought in-game advertising to the forefront.

Alt Text: Illustration of the Growing Mobile Games Audience

Main Types of In-Game Advertising

Reach a Diverse Audience of Gamers

A 2022 Entertainment Software Association (ESA) report showed that 52% of gamers identified as male, and 48% identified as female, and that most gamers range in age across a few generations. This proves that the gaming audience encompasses a large range of people, who are diverse in their demographics, interests and purchase intentions.

Build Brand Awareness

Intrinsic in-game advertising helps you reach your target user in a non-disruptive, highly-viewable environment. You’re able to connect your brand with a captive audience who is unlikely to be multitasking, which increases the likelihood of brand recall and awareness. Brand awareness can expand your target audience, increase website traffic, increase brand affinity, and drive consumers further down the purchasing funnel. 

Non-Disruptive Ad Experience

Intrinsic in-game ads are seamlessly integrated into the environment of the game as audiences play and therefore appear before engaged audiences without disrupting their gaming experience. 

Explore New Targeting Strategies 

In-game advertising provides the opportunity to test unique ad formats that are exclusive to in-game environments. Plus, you can reach new audiences through emerging technologies and generate ad revenue in new environments.

Main Types of In-Game Advertising

According to the IAB Gaming Framework, there are four contexts when looking at how an in-game ad can be served:

Intrinsic In-Game

Intrinsic in-game advertising allows media buyers to place real-time and privacy compliant ads inside of video games. These ads appear inside a game, on virtual objects such as billboards, posters and bus stops to create a realistic and immersive environment for audiences.

Interstitial

Interstitial ads are typically displayed full-screen within a game, temporarily taking over the user interface. Interstitial ads can be effective in grabbing a user's attention but they should be used sparingly and should align with the user's interests.

Adjacent

The ad placement is next to the game, could be a banner image ad below or to the side of a mobile game.

Audio

This is purely audio in nature and is overlaid during the game, without pausing the gameplay.

In-Game Ad Formats

The IAB has also identified other types of display advertisements that can be present within gaming environments as well. 

These formats can be shown when a game is in play or when a game is paused and they can either be hard coded into the game or ad served.

Hard Coded Ads

Alt Text: Illustration of an Dynamic In Game Advertising

Hard coded ads are built into the game during the app's development stage, and cannot be changed. Advergaming ads typically involve a brand creating their own video game or making their products and services a key part of the video game. This not only promotes brand awareness but also improves engagement.Both of these are typically shown when a game is paused. 

There are two types of hard coded ads that can be shown when a game is played, Skins and Branded World.

Skins Ad

As the name implies, a brand can customize a ‚Äúskin‚ÄĚ item that players can utilize in their game that changes the appearance of their avatar. This could be adding a brand's logo to a jersey in a sporting game.

Branded World Ad

A branded world consists of a brand developing a fully immersive experience that the gamer can experience throughout their gameplay. 

Intrinsic in-game and audio ads are ad served ads, and function differently than hard coded ads because they are served while the game is in play. 

Ad Served Ads

Ad served ads that are served when the game is paused consist of adjacent, interstitial, sponsored and rewarded ads. Rewarded ads can be in the form of a video or an interactive experience for the gamer. Rewarded video ads encourage users to watch a short video in exchange for some sort of reward, such as in-game currency, in-game items, or extra lives. Rewarded video ads provide an engaging, non-disruptive, and user-friendly way for publishers to monetize their games.

Sponsored ads give brands the opportunity to brand themselves into a game with special levels or brand themselves within events throughout the game.

Intrinsic In-Game Ads

Intrinsic in-game ads are a type of advertising that is placed within a video game’s actual playable world. The ads are typically non-intrusive and placed in strategic locations within the game world. For example, an ad for a new release movie might be placed on a movie theater marquee within the game. 

GumGum's Intrinsic In-Game Advertising Solutions

GumGum has now partnered with Frameplay to bring contextually-relevant, intrinsic in-game ads to clients.

With this intrinsic in-game offering, GumGum is offering advertisers a unique opportunity to reach exciting, diverse and unexpected audience online, as well as opening up the doors into the Web 3.0 world. Now, advertisers have the chance to be early adopters of this emerging environment and reach gaming audiences across mobile, desktop and consoles with non-intrusive ads that blend seamlessly into the user's gaming experience.

In-Game Ads that Drive Results

GumGum x Frameplay’s recent in-game campaign significantly increased ad recall for the Johnsonville brand. Frameplay served the Johnsonville ad across a number of contextually relevant game genres, including sports, casual and simulation games. GumGum and Frameplay utilized Comscore to measure overall campaign performance through a brand lift study:

Results:

  • 13.7 point lift against ‚ÄúLikely to purchase Johnsonville Sausage‚ÄĚ
  • A consumer is 35% more likely to remember the brand after seeing a GumGum ad.

These results surpassed industry benchmarks for each category, helping Johnsonville achieve their campaign goals and proving the untapped and coveted potential of intrinsic in-game advertising for the future.

Alt Text: Illustration of GumGum's Intrinsic Video Game Ads within Sports Games

Get Started on Your Next Intrinsic In-Game Campaign with GumGum Here.

Why You Should Invest in In-Game Advertising Now

It's clear that moving forward, in-game advertising has the potential to become an extremely fruitful channel for marketers everywhere.

Alt Text: Illustration of Why You Should Invest in Advertising in Mobile Games

Now that we have provided a comprehensive list of reasons as to why you should invest in in-game advertising - here are the top considerations to keep in mind. With in-game, you can:

Be a First Mover:

There may be 3.2 billion gamers in the world, but advertisers spend just 5% of their budget on in-game advertising.

Expand Your Reach: 

Already vast, the global gaming audience is expected to grow.

Be in Brand Safe Environment: 

Most gaming networks today curate a list of games that are relevant and safe for brands to advertise in.


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