Most of us play video games.
Many people don’t realise that they are playing video games. While our parents may have scolded us for playing the PlayStation too often, they are busy looking at their Smartphone’s and playing Candy Crush.
Around 65% of households in America play video games every year. This doesn’t have to be sitting down for hours trying to work your way through Skyrim, it can be all the family joining in on a game on the Nintendo Wii.
The point that we are making is that video games are becoming much more normal in society. More people are playing them and this includes older, younger and middle-aged.
So, what does this mean from advertising? Is video game marketing really and thing? How big is the market and what types of in-game advertising can you use?
How big is the mobile game advertising market?
The video game advertising market, in general, has been growing for years and this applies to mobile games too. In fact, it is the mobile game advertising market that has really shot up recently.
With the success of many mobile games that can be played from simply unlocking your phone screen, more people have been getting it mobile games as a pastime. Not only do some of them become immerse and enjoyable but many people also use them to destress. Most of the games don’t require a huge amount of thought but they are addictive. More and more brands, businesses and influencers are seeing the potential of in-game advertising and they are beginning to move a lot of money into the market.
What is in-game advertising?
So far we have talked about how big the in-game advertising market is but what actually is it?
In the game advertising is essentially adverts within video games. We are going to look at a few examples below but they can take many forms. You might think that this is a new phenomenon however it has been around since video games were first being developed to a mainstream audience. Adventureland, a 1978 game that could be played on the ZX Spectrum, contained an ad for the next game in the series.
This differs from another method of advertising called advergaming which are games that are about a product for example America’s Army.
With the rise of mobile gaming particularly among a demographic that wouldn’t ordinarily be classified as ‘gamers’, in-game advertising is becoming a real way in which businesses can reach out to more consumers.
3 types of video game marketing
Let’s have a look at 3 ways in which video game advertisers are targeting their audience.
#1 Incentivised ads
These ads are ads that when clicked provide some sort of in-game value.
This will be something that benefits the user playing the game that might other have not been available or have taken a lot of time and effort to achieve. The CTR or click through rate for these ads is around 11% and they have been seen to be an effective way to engage the gamer.
Many brands are now turning to incentivised ads due to how they perform compared to other advertising methods.
#2 General ads
Sometimes video games and in particular mobile games just, well, show ads.
This can apply to really any app for your smartphone. As part of being able to download the game for free, you need to see a few in-game advertisements whether you are interested in them or not. This plays off the fact that pretty much any free service online these days whether it is a game you have downloaded from the App Store or the social media giant YouTube, will show ads.
While apps can have a premium function that allows you to get rid of the ads for a cost, this isn’t usually the case with mobile game advertising.
#3 Ad gating
Lastly, we have ad gating.
This is fairly straightforward. For the gamer to continue playing the game they need to watch an advertisement first. It means that there is generally 100% watch rate for these ads because there is no way to continue on with the game unless they watch the video advertisement.
It might sound pretty annoying but many gamers like this approach because it gives them a quick break during the game.
How do people respond to it?
Are in-game advertisements a good thing or bad thing on the part of the gamer? The stats for brands and companies is high as to how effective in-game advertising is for their conversions and sales but what about the gamers?
While some people do find it invasive and for many, it can be an annoyance, many gamers appreciate that to download and play a free game then ads are part and parcel of the process. They may not overly like the idea but they don’t hate it either.
The high CTR rates and conversions are proof that it works and it hasn’t had the calamitous effect on the industry that many envisaged. It has also allowed many companies to branch out and target demographics that they would not ordinarily be able to reach.
Native game advertising in the future
Developers are now seeing native game advertising as a vital opportunity to make money and reach new audiences.
The in-game advertising market has been growing and growing and growing over the past decade. A lot of this has come down to the fact that playing games on your console, laptop, tablet or smartphone is becoming the norm. It isn’t seen as ‘geeky’ or something that teenagers do, everyone is doing it.
The industry is expected to grow even bigger in the future and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With more mobile games being released that appeal to a much wider audience than the typical video game demographic, any marketer should be looking at developing a mobile game advertising strategy in the years to come.