Why In-Game Ads Are Popular

Why In-Game Ads Are Popular

Advertising

In-game ads are hot! According to a new study conducted by The Drum/YouGov, 37 percent of mobile gamers say that in-game ads have predisposed them to make a purchase during the past three months. Moreover, almost a quarter (23 percent) of those polled indicate that in-game ads have inspired them to make multiple purchases. Let’s take a closer look at what this news might mean for your brand.

What Is an In-Game Ad?

In-game ads have evolved to the point where, as discussed in Business of Apps, “we are referring to ad content that seamlessly blends into the gaming environment.” What does this look like, exactly? Essentially, in-game ads can be incorporated into the same places you might see ads in the real world. Sports games like Madden NFL, for example, might feature ads on in-game stadium signage or player jerseys; other games might showcase ads on billboards or storefronts. It’s important to note that “blended” in-game ads like this aren’t meant to be clickable, any more than one can “click” on a billboard when driving by on an expressway. They exist, in the game environment, solely to create brand awareness and affinity. The idea is that intent gamers, presumably hyper-focused on every detail on the screen, will also absorb the ad content.

Brands are already capitalizing on the opportunities inherent in in-game ads. Consider Mastercard, which in a move mimicking real-life exposure, placed its branding on digital banners in Riot Games’ League of Legends Summer Split tournament. As Naz Aletaha, Riot Games Head of Global Esports Partnerships, notes, “SR Arena Banners put our partners’ brands directly on the field of play, creating an immersive experience that echoes the energy found in major sports arenas.”

How Much Money Do In-Game Ads Generate?

Art imitating life in this way can be lucrative. As reported by Technavio research, the in-game advertising market is set to grow by $10.97 billion during the 2020-2024 time window. The study cites an increase in the number of gamers, plus the affinity growing between advertisers and video game companies, as driving the projected growth over the next few years.

In-game ads are certainly poised to capitalize on the growth of the stay-at-home economy as digital, even post-pandemic, becomes a bigger focus of our lives.

What Did the Drum/YouGov Study Say?

For some context, let’s look more closely at The Drum/YouGov study mentioned earlier. The poll of 1,200 U.S. adults, conducted on May 19, 2021, revealed some interesting stats: of those who were inspired to spend because of an in-game ad, half were male, half were female, and the most likely demographic to make a purchase was the 30- to 35-year-old bracket. Although some gamers are still disinclined to succumb to an actual purchase, nearly two in five (39 percent) of mobile gamers say they at least remember the brands they saw, very well or fairly well. (Again, the Millennial market dominated this response, with 53 percent recalling an ad.)

Nicole Pike, YouGov’s global sector head of esports and gaming, sums it up: “In-game advertising, especially on mobile, continues to be a severely undertapped ad medium relative to the time and money investment we see from gamers.”

What Should Brands Do?

What to make of this intel? We recommend that you:

  • Know your audience—and where to find them. As we’ve blogged, gamers are a diverse audience. Know their habits and their passion points. Above all, understand what games your target audience enjoys. Are you reaching out to moms looking to relax with a game like Monument Valley 2? Teens invested in the worldbuilding aspects of Minecraft? Knowing where to find your audience is key.
  • Know your gaming opportunities. It’s important to understand how and where your in-game ad will appear. And make sure the game is a good fit for your brand overall. You may not want, for example, your ad to appear in a game like Grand Theft Auto if its content (violent adult themes) is in direct conflict with the brand your company has created.

Contact True Interactive

Eager to learn more about the opportunities gaming—and in-game ads—can afford your brand? Contact us. We can help.

Apple Announces New Privacy Features

Apple Announces New Privacy Features

Apple

Apple has once again made some moves to make the internet more private. At its 2021 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple announced new features intended to give consumers more control over how businesses interact with them. Let’s take a closer look.

What Privacy Controls Did Apple Announce at WWDC?

Apple announced that later in 2021, the company will roll out new features to help people control how their online data is used by third parties. They include:

  • Allowing people to disable the ability of marketers to see if and when an email is opened via Apple’s Mail app.
  • Making it possible for people to hide their internet protocol (IP) address information in order to prevent businesses from tracking web usage on the Safari browser.

In addition, Apple indicted that premium iCloud users will be able to access the internet with a feature called Private Relay. This feature will  block network providers from using IP addresses and web usage to create a user profile for tracking.

Why Does Apple’s WWDC Announcement Matter?

The news from WWDC is the latest in a series of actions from technology giants Apple and Google to make it more difficult for businesses to track users in order to deliver personalized advertising. For instance:

  • In 2020, Google announced it would stop supporting third-party cookies on the Chrome browser. In 2021, Google toughened its stance by saying it would not support workarounds for third-party cookie tracking.
  • Apple recently launched a privacy control known as Application Tracking Transparency (ATT), which requires apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies for advertising, or sharing their data with data brokers.

The advertising world has reacted with a mixture of concern and resignation as businesses adapt to a reality in which third-party cookies will be less useful for creating targeted advertising. In addition, Facebook has argued that Apple’s ATT will hurt small businesses that rely on Facebook’s advertising tools to create personalized content.

How Will the WWDC Announcement Affect Advertisers?

It’s really too early to say yet how advertisers will be affected by Apple’s latest announcements. For one thing, they have not been launched yet. In addition, although Safari is the second-most popular browser in the world, it lags far behind Chrome in terms of usage. On the other hand, Chrome and Safari together constitute 83 percent of the global market share for browsers. The real impact will be seen when both Google’s and Apple’s tighter restrictions take hold together. It will be interesting to see the impact of the restrictions in Apple Mail, which has the largest market share among email apps.

What Should Advertisers Do?

As I noted in a recent blog post,

  • Don’t assume targeting and personalization are dead because of the way Apple and Google are focusing on privacy. You can still use your own data to buy targeted ads on Google properties such as YouTube, Gmail, and Google Search – so long as you bring their first-party data into Google through the company’s existing Customer Match product. Moreover, as we noted in a recent blog post, if you want to use your own data to serve up targeted ads outside Google’s walls, Google is developing its own cohort-based alternative to third-party cookies to help you do that. Stay tuned for more product developments.
  • Do consider tapping into your own first-party data more effectively to create ads (and True Interactive can help you do so). For example, collect more first-party data by using cookies to understand who visits your site; or run a promotion that collects email addresses. Collect purchase data if applicable to your site.

My blog post “Google Unlocks First-Party Data for Publishers” contains more tips.

At True Interactive, we’re doing the heavy lifting to help our clients navigate these changes. Bottom line: be ready to adapt. But don’t panic.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising, contact True Interactive. Read about some of our client work here.

Photo by Laurenz Heymann on Unsplash

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