Are you ready to unlock access to a massive market of gamers? Are you eager to show your ads on the platforms where the users are already engaged? Do you want to start in-game advertising but are not sure how to do it best? Are you curious about new ways to cash in with technology ads for teens?
You are in the right place. But before we move on, let's see if the in-game advertising market is a real deal or just a passing fad.
The gaming industry is a growing global market. That’s no secret. But there has been substantial growth in the market over the past decade, especially since the beginning of lockdowns.
In-game advertising is not limited to one form and style. Here are the most common practices for in-game ad formats:
When players are seeking to unlock new bonuses to add more power to their game features, it is a golden opportunity to let them have it by watching a short video they cannot skip. Rewarded video ads (RV) can be as long as 15 seconds to 1 minute and users eagerly watch them. Gamers are motivated to engage in harder games, and publishers get more exposure and increase their interaction ratios.
There are some transitional points in any game when interstitial ads can be displayed. These are full-screen ads for users on mobile apps. Gamers can either watch the entire ad, visit a promotional page through these ads, or watch for a selected time (a few seconds for example) before they can skip the ad. Having a call-to-action is a persuasive way to ask users to download or install apps. It is essential that the flow of the game is not interrupted by interstitial ads.
Display banners are banners that are on the upper side or lower side of the screen. A huge challenge for banner ads is banner blindness, which makes viewers ignore anything that resembles ads. Compared to other formats, banner ads produce lower revenue but they are a low-cost format if a far-reaching branding campaign is required.
Playable ads are interactive ads where users are challenged to play a specially designed demo of a game. This simulated ad format performs 8x better than typical interstitial ads. The ads come in three stages:
Offerwalls are similar to rewarded ads in function and purpose. They prompt the users to install an app or fill out a survey, in order to gain more rewards and bonuses in the game. It is a list of apps or offers that players can choose from, during a game.
If you have a brick-and-mortar business and you need to pull in more customers to come to your place, coupon ads help you do so. It offers players a coupon or a code that they can redeem to receive prizes or discounts. Coupon ads combine in-game advertising with an offline promotion for your business.
If a company has several apps in multiple categories, they can promote their top-performing app in their network to increase the chance of buying or app installation. This cross-promotion strategy helps advertisers to promote apps without any costs. When users fall in love with a company’s app, the likelihood of using other apps from the same company increases.
How do great companies integrate in-game ads aimed at teens and adolescent users within the gaming industry? By reviewing the best practices you will identify new ways to think about possibilities to reach your target audience.
Even Obama’s presidential marketing team could not overlook the huge number of gamers and their potential impact. In the presidential election campaign in 2008, they utilized big virtual billboards or banners on the side of the screen, promoting voting or early voting for Barack Obama.
Their competition went to the virtual world and the gaming industry. Games such as NBA live 2008, Need for speed carbon, Guitar Hero III, Nascar 09, Madden NFL09, and Burnout Paradise were selected as platforms for in-game advertising. They repeated the campaign in the 2012 presidential election campaigns.
Adidas sponsored two climbers as they started their toughest challenge of climbing the Bavella mountain range in Corsica, France. They collaborated with interactive producers, a London-based VR agency, and an animation studio in Argentina to create a real experience of climbing Delicatessen, which is a granite route in Punta Du Corbi.
The players could climb the mountains using interactive 360-degree video and experience real-world excitement. Adidas used this experience for its retail stores in China to promote TERREX, an Adidas line of outdoor gear.
When Mcdonald's wanted to leverage in-game ads, they started a VR campaign using a happy meal box. Customers could turn this box into a VR viewer that looked like the Google Cardboard.
They used Happy Goggles to connect to an educational and fun game called Slope Stars, which allowed children to experience virtual reality. This company made virtual reality appealing to the public. Customers could use a limited edition of Meal boxes and change it to VR viewers wherever possible to gain access to the game.
Way back in 2009, Tony Hawk: Ride, a skateboarding video game was released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii. players could see the ads from Stride, a Canadian chewing gum company while discovering boards or during trick performances.
Other billboards were on display at other parts of the game which enabled players to unlock more features of the game. Players could see the ads on other parts of the game as well.
Gucci, the well-known fashion brand, introduced Gucci town, a virtual town in the Roblox metaverse. The idea was to provide users with the opportunity to uncover every part of the town, and in the process, they could find out about Gucci’s history and simultaneously connect with other people in the game.
To achieve this, Gucci and Roblox integrated mini-games, art exhibitions that players could browse, and a Gucci store that allowed shoppers to purchase clothing for their Roblox avatars. After users wore the clothing they could start a dialog with other players who were questioning the brand items and the town, which inspired them to visit the town to discover items for themselves.
Nike also implemented technology ads for teens and younger generations by partnering with Roblox. They created Nikeland, a virtual world that resembled its real headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. The players could compete in minigames and could navigate through fields, buildings, and arenas in the virtual town.
The game duplicated real-world movements through the use of accelerometers on users’ mobile devices. Players could do long jumps or speed runs in the arena and test their skills by competing in diverse mini-games. Players could receive their gold medals or blue ribbon awards for participating and winning in the games.
Blue ribbons were used to get building materials for yards and golden medals for virtual products for avatars.
In 2021, Fortnite and Jordan's brand continued their collaboration in the virtual world. Fortnite players could compete in the game to qualify for Air Jordan XI Cool Gray, the popular sneaker model from Jordan shoes.
If they received the best player title, they could have their own private space and rooms. As a step further, MVP players could access the virtual museum, a basketball court where they could test their talents, and immersive videos that advertised the Jordan brand.
Nike and Puma chose NBA video games to put their logos in the virtual reality world in 2022. After sponsoring professional and amateur sports, they decided they need to connect with the gamers and increase their brand awareness there.
Since these two are sports brands it is a perfect niche for them to use branded in-game advertising for targeting the younger generation. The augmented reality world helped these brands to deliver their messages to broader audiences and create a positive brand image.
In 2022, Wendy’s created a virtual restaurant on Meta’s Horizon World's platform called Wendyverse. Visitors could find hidden easter eggs available only on Horizon Worlds. They could also interact with friends and walk behind the counter.
Also, users could play games relevant to branded items and have more fun while in the virtual restaurant. Once again another brand chose in-game advertising and an immersive experience in the virtual reality world to achieve their marketing goals and reach potential customers. Another example of in-game ads for older and young adults.
Belko VR, a short and free VR game, was streamed to promote a movie. Gamers were in a setup very close to the movie storyline, in which the player had 15 minutes to solve a puzzle to escape, or they die.
The experiment created a sense of suspense which was similar to the movie theme, and during the game, they became interested in watching the actual movie. Over 100,000 people played the game. This made enough virtual publicity for the movie and demonstrated how the movie industry can integrate VR into advertising and promotion.
Belko VR created excitement and an immersive experience combined with a sense of curiosity and problem-solving to lure users into watching the movie.
Disney and RapidFire joined forces to promote the remake of the movie Pete’s Dragon in 2016. RapidFire's idea was to utilize in-game advertising and geo-targeting to promote the movie to Portuguese audiences and increase brand awareness.
Disney also promoted the movie “Legend of Dragons” as billboards in car racing games, outside the field banners in the football games, Snooker and billiard games, and motor racing games. The ads were delivered in real-time inside gaming consoles, streams, and PC video games. The campaign started promoting the movie before its theatrical release.
The Jackass series was the inspiration for the American game PAIN. They cooperated with AXE, a men's deodorant brand to promote the brand via in-game advertising. The players participated in a contest, with a character named Smooth Jarvis, a brand representative.
Gamers had to import the Smooth Jarvis character into the game and then shoot Smooth Jarvis into the different scenarios while the character used AXE deodorant at the same time. They recorded their videos which had to be either funny or difficult.
These video clips were sent to the PAIN YouTube channel and the best of them received prizes. Over 200 videos were submitted to the channel. The brand got millions of views from these videos and made the character and the brand loveable and fun.
To keep it short: it works! In-game ads help both advertisers and publishers in various ways to achieve their marketing and financial goals. As an advertiser, you have an immersive and entertaining way to connect with users. As a publisher, ads are revenue generators and a way for users to take part to a greater extent while they’re inside a gaming platform.
Let's explore in what areas it really benefits businesses.
On every corner, you can see apps that ask users to play for nothing. And that is the start. When users are really captivated, advertising comes on board to bring in the real cash. VentureBeat reports that in-game advertising is predicted to reach 56 billion USD in 2024.
One of the principles of using in-game advertising is to give users a sense of achievement and exhilaration. When they can see how quickly they’ll be able to win a game and accumulate points, they will be ready to partake in the new game, even though they’re already playing a game.
In-game advertising retains gamers' attention for a longer period of time and allows them to play more.
The gaming demographics have reshaped over the years. Although you can implement in-game ads for teens, gaming is not exclusively for teens anymore. Nowadays, even players ranging from 30 to 64 are showing a passion for gaming.
Globally, there are approximately 3.09 billion active video gamers. Over 1 billion people have joined the community in just seven years (a 32% increase) with 3.32 billion gamers expected by 2024.
This is a great potential for advertisers to get to more diversified users.
The mobile share of the gaming market has increased from 18 to 59% during a period of 9 years from 2012 to 2021. It’s clear that mobile gaming is (literally) a prominent player in the gaming market, and in-game advertising has proved to be an efficient way to communicate and connect with audiences.
The gaming industry is booming and this perpetuates a historical chance for marketers and advertisers to capitalize on it. If you are looking to take advantage of in-game ads targeted at teens, millennials, or Gen X, you can bet on our expertise at Driver Studios. Feel free to Contact Us for more insights into in-game campaigns that drive results.