Will video game advertising become a staple of your marketing mix?

I recently had a pleasant experience whilst waiting for a pizza after ordering online. On the screen where typically you get a view on the progress on your pizza there was an option to play a game. My son and I found ourselves highly entertained trying to beat each other’s score. This is not something I have seen before and subconsciously may make me favour this brand over others. This made me intrigued on how gaming can be utilised for advertisers.

The gaming industry is becoming a hot topic with more and more players, especially in mobile with 2.8 billion (yes billion) daily active users.

This increase also doesn’t show signs of slowing down. A Facebook Gaming report[1] indicates a growth in total hours: new players tend to have the same number sessions, but new players spend more hours a week gaming on mobile, which in the UK is 13.8 hours a week. Equally, they are open to having ads in games, more so ads that offer in-game rewards.

This audience is very much misunderstood, with the stereotypical view of what a “gamer” is still lingering. This is creating a barrier for advertisers using gaming as a path to reach consumers. A “gamer” is no longer a teenager that locks themselves in a room for hours on end. I for one (not a teenager) enjoy mobile games and play daily but don’t fall under this outdated stereotype. In fact, only 11%[2] of people who play exclusively on smartphones or tablets think of themselves as gamers. Candy Crush anyone?

There are many reasons why people play mobile games in the UK. 62% play to relieve stress; other reasons for playing include passing time (55%) and feeling accomplished (51%)[3]. So this goes much deeper than teenagers playing in their bedroom. This broad demographic pool of players, and the differentiated set of motivators that drive them to engage with games opens up a world of opportunity for advertisers.

Display ads within games are typically what you would think of and not have particularly good experiences with as a user. You patiently wait for the ‘x’ to show up to click off it and get back to your game. However, some in-game ads can have a value exchange to gain rewards which benefits both parties.

Looking at this a bit deeper, is the existing and developing technology for immersive in-gaming advertising! This whole new level is creating a more immersive experience that is not as disruptive and therefore advertising might thrive more. Well that’s the plan anyway.

80% of media buyers[4] felt it was important that advertising in games should not be disruptive or intrusive to players, it needs to feel normal, and part of the experience for it to be effective.

This advertising channel is very much utilising the same principles as OOH but within a game itself, having even more touchpoints with each user than a billboard on your way home from work would. This could be a billboard in a game or the boards around a football pitch in FIFA.

This immersive advertising can also be tapped into through sponsorship where games put events for their players to enjoy such as watching live music together.

There are also strong communities enhancing the social element of their game of choice. Currently, there are more than 230 million people who are active members in over 630,000 gaming groups on Facebook per month[5].

With the development of mobile gaming apps, it’s become so much more accessible, and you no longer need to spend hundreds on a PS4 or an Xbox to take part, making it accessible to so many more people, like myself.

Considering the top tech giants, Meta, Google, Microsoft and Amazon are in this space in some way and also have existing advertising platforms, this is clearly a lucrative audience to tap into.

With advances in technology in this space, which have been accelerated by connectivity such as 5G, the gaming community is an untapped area to reach a wider audience that I believe is worth further exploration by advertisers and brands.

93% of media buyers intend to run some form of in-game advertising by 2025[6], so why not get onboard? Speak to our media team and find out how you can incorporate in-game advertising into your digital media mix.


[1] Facebook Gaming: Games Marketing Insights for 2021

[2] Game on for Advertisers – October 2021 Video Gaming’s Potential as a Media Channel

[3] Game on for Advertisers – October 2021 Video Gaming’s Potential as a Media Channel

[4] Game on for Advertisers – October 2021 Video Gaming’s Potential as a Media Channel

[5] Facebook Internal Data, August 2020. This opens to the possibility to talk directly to this audience.

[6] Game on for Advertisers – October 2021 Video Gaming’s Potential as a Media Channel