In-game advertising (IGA) generated $34 million in 2004, $56 million in 2005, $80 million in 2006, and $295 million in 2007. In 2009, spending on IGA reached $699 million USD, $1 billion in 2014 and $7.2 billion in 2016. Clearly, people are loving their games and advertisers are loving the people who love games. In-game ads are very popular among advertisers as they can be integrated into a mobile game a myriad of ways.
Often in-game ads are inserted into a game where the game pauses to loads, when a user has paused it, or when starting and finishing a game or level. One of the most beneficial aspects of in-game ads is that they offer the user the option to interact with the product or be linked to a website where they can learn more about the product.
You may be wondering, “Do gamers really make a good audience?” And the answer is a resounding YES!
The gaming community are typically more engaged with content that is presented to them, as well as more receptive to ads and more likely to engage with advertisers. The placement of the in-game ads also seamlessly blends into the game environment, in loading screens or moments that games naturally pause. Some ads require that they be directly built into the game and the folks over at Game Analytics have those covered and explained for you here!
While there are, like other forms of advertising, multiple types of in-game ads, there are two main types available to advertisers that should be considered when constructing your media plan.
Incentivized In-game Ads
These are in-game ads that require the user to watch a video or interact with a video in exchange for game value. Incentivized ads have some of the highest measured cost per impression (CPM) and they are also reported to elicit positive feelings in gamers. The click-through-rate of these ads hovers around 11%!
These units are ads that a user can choose to watch in exchange for some incentive — an extra life in a game, an extended free trial, a puzzle hint, or virtual currency, for example.
If a user clicks on the ad, you can direct them to a URL that you set like your website or a custom landing page.
Pre-, Post-, and Mid-In-game Ads
While traditional banner ads are usually placed around the edges of various websites and browsers, in-game ads are placed in the center of the screen and are usually the only thing on the screen while the game loads in the background. The smaller mobile screens make for an increased rate of success with pre-, post-, or mid-in-game ads.
According to Cox Media Group, “There’s always a risk of losing viewers due to pre-roll ad abandonment, but research from YuMe suggests that, over the long run, pre-roll pays off — especially if you’re doing it for branding purposes. YuMe found that pre-roll ads are extremely effective across several metrics, including brand association, brand engagement, brand favorability and intent to purchase.
By many measurements, mid-roll advertising offers solid returns. Mid-roll ads enjoy a higher completion rate than both pre- and post-roll ads. Viewers have already watched some of the video content; if they make it to a mid-roll ad, it means they have remained engaged through roughly half of the video. Because such a large chunk of video remains, they are more willing to be patient.
“Mid-roll ads also fit the general schedule that viewers are accustomed to on TV. They are used to television shows that are interrupted midway through by advertisements. This doesn’t bother the viewer in the way other advertisements might.
“There are some instances in which post-roll video campaigns can be very effective. For example, if you’re using the ad as a call-to-action — especially if it follows branded video content — a post-roll ad can deliver value. If you keep video content streaming by using a hidden playlist, a post-roll ad can be effective when it is aired while the player lines up the next piece of content. If consumers are interested in the upcoming content, they’ll stick through the ad to see what follows.”
As in-game ads are built and run in very specific formats and environments, there is slightly less size and placement options available to advertisers but where size and place are slightly constricted, creativity is even more open! You are speaking to an audience who enjoys colours, themes, puzzles, characters, and other whimsy right from their phones. Your creatives need to snag their attention, so make them snap and sparkle!