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Top 7 Reasons Why Brands Should Advertise On Mobile Games

Team InMobi
7 min read
Posted on August 02, 2021

Many mobile game developers and publishers monetize their creations by allowing in-app advertising within the game, but should brands and agencies advertise on mobile games? The answer here is a resounding yes.  

As we have seen, the ad experience offered by mobile gaming apps is unparalleled, making it an ideal opportunity for advertisers of all stripes. To see what we mean, here are seven of the top reasons why brands and agencies should advertise in mobile gaming apps. 

1) Lots of People Play Games On Their Mobile Devices 

Mobile gaming is hugely popular, with an enormous audience both within the U.S. and worldwide. For brands and agencies hoping to reach a mass audience, mobile games are the way to go. Globally, an estimated 2.5 billion people play mobile games

This audience is largely addressable through advertising as well. While some games make money through in-app purchases or subscriptions, the vast majority of the most popular mobile titles are free to play and include some amount of advertising. 

2) Mobile Gamers Are A Highly Valuable Audience 

Not only are there lots of mobile gamers out there, but this audience is a lot more diverse than some brands and agencies may realize. Gamers have long been assumed to be a small subset of young men, but this stereotype doesn’t fit the bill when it comes to mobile gaming audiences. 

According to research from May 2021, 55% of all mobile gamers in the U.S. are women. A third are between 18 and 34 years old, while an additional 26% of this audience is between the ages of 35 and 54. Another study from June found that 86% of Gen Zers play mobile games too, as playing games is one of their favorite activities on mobile. 

3) In-Game Ads Are Highly Effective 

For brands and agencies looking to drive strong results, mobile games are a great choice. Compared to other media sources, mobile games are uniquely suited to meeting key performance indicators. 

“I know that for 15 minutes while people are playing a game, I have their undivided attention to insert my brand in there,” said Cameron Kelly, Director of Strategy at creative agency United Entertainment Group. “That’s an assurance that’s not awarded by every app, and certainly not social media apps.” 

Consider these stats: 

4) In-Game Advertising Is Effective Across The Marketing Funnel 

No matter what an advertiser is looking for or what their call to action may be, mobile games can be part of the solution. While some ad options are only good at the top of the funnel (reach, scale, viewability, etc.) or just at the bottom of the funnel (app downloads, sales, etc.), in-game advertising works across the proverbial marketing funnel. 

5) The Mobile Gaming Experience is Highly Brand Safe 

As programmatic advertising has grown, one issue that has arisen as a result has been around brand safety. Essentially, the issue is that if a brand is not careful, their ads may appear next to questionable content that could cause their consumers to develop a negative perception of the brand. 

For example, let’s say an advertiser decides to start working with a news app. That news app may have their ads appear next to a wide variety of articles, including stories about terrorism or crime. If a brand is not careful, then it could seem like their ads were endorsing questionable viewpoints or content that doesn’t align with the brand’s value. 

This is an especially problematic issue with any publisher that has user-generated content, as it is often difficult to effectively police what people say and post in real time. Take YouTube for example – how can a brand be sure that when they buy pre-roll ads that their ads won’t appear before questionable content? 

In the vast majority of mobile gaming apps, this is not an issue. With more stable content and a lack of user-generated content, brands and agencies can rest assured that their ads will not appear next to anything objectionable. The user experience offered by mobile gaming, especially casual and hypercasual gaming, is inherently brand safe for just about any advertiser. 

“Many gaming apps provide rich environments with zero user-generated content, which is considerably safer for discerning brands,” said Josh Gaynor, VP of Marketing and Communications for Bulgari

6) Brands Have Multiple Effective Ad Formats To Choose From 

When it comes to choice, mobile games can’t be beat. With gaming apps, advertisers can utilize a wide variety of creative ad formats. Some of the top choices include the following: 

  • Banner ads: These common ad units, which frequently appear at the very top or bottom of the screen, are ubiquitous for a reason. They’re available in just about all gaming apps and they’re very cost effective, making them an ideal option for reaching a mass audience. 
  • Interstitial ads: These ad units take up anywhere between a third and the entire screen, making them an ideal way to really capture someone’s attention. They often appear between levels or at other natural game breaks; since they don’t interrupt the natural flow of the game, they’re generally not seen as disruptive by gamers. As a result, they’re a great way to drive brand recognition and awareness with gaming audiences. 
  • Rewarded ad units like rewarded video ads: These ad units offer in-game rewards, like extra lives, additional points or bonuses, for example, in exchange for watching an ad. Because gamers get something in exchange for watching the rewarded ad, they are generally well received by end users. As a result, user engagement with rewarded ads tends to be fairly high.  
  • Native in-game ads: Also commonly known as just in-game ads, these ad units blend seamlessly into the gaming environment. For example, a game that occurs in a cityscape scene may have dynamic ads appear on the sides of buses or on billboards as users navigate around. Further, a game that has stadiums in it (like a professional sports game) may allow brands to place ads on jerseys or on the virtual jumbotron. Like their real-world counterparts, native in-game ads are brand safe and ideal for meeting top-of-funnel brand metrics. 

7) The World’s Biggest Brands Run Ads On Gaming Mobile Apps 

For too long, mobile games have been the best kept secret in the world of advertising. But that’s starting to change. Today, some of the biggest names around the globe are running ads inside gaming apps and seeing great results from these campaigns. That means advertisers can rest assured knowing they are using a tried-and-tested advertising channel with proven benchmarks. 

On the flip side, many in-game ads are advertising other mobile games – at least 10%, according to one study. That means brands don’t have to worry too much about competitor conquesting, overall giving them a greater share of voice in the space.  

This helps to explain why 53% of agencies and brands told Advertiser Perceptions in December 2020 that they plan on increasing their spending in mobile gaming going forward. In fact, this cohort said they were more likely to increase spending on mobile games then they were on entertainment, lifestyle or any other mobile content category. 

Want To Get Started On a Gaming-Focused Mobile Advertising Campaign? 

If these points are resonating with you, then be sure to reach out to speak with one of InMobi’s mobile experts. We’ve helped advertisers the world over run successful ad campaigns in mobile gaming apps, and we’re ready to help you too. 

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