What Is In-Game Advertising?

Digital Marketing
Last updated:
September 5, 2022

In-game advertising (IGA) is a clever way to take advantage of video games for advertising. Formats can vary from images, videos, audio, dynamic ads, static ads and more. Video games are great because of their large variety in target demographic and increasing popularity among youth and adults. The game platform you choose to advertise in varies from mobile games (iOS and Android) to games played on consoles and computers.


Is It Effective? What's the Demographic Like?


The gaming industry is said to be currently worth over US$300 billion and is expected to grow with over 3.24 billion gamers across the globe. As an effect of the pandemic, systems have evolved to adapt remote models giving rise to video games as a form of at-home entertainment. Most video games require a span of constant engagement that businesses can take advantage of to expose their product to a wide range of users. This form of advertising is also beneficial to differentiate your brand from others and directly seek out a specific audience through a creative avenue with less competition.


As the game genre has developed over the years, a growing variety of audiences have formed. Gamers can range anywhere from ages 3 to 50+ these days with differing interests in games challenging logic, creativity, agility and more. Deloitte suggests that the younger generations gravitate towards video games. As much as 96% of Generation Z and Millennial are gamers in the U.S.: logging on average 11-13 hours per week. As our society


Moves towards these video games, it makes sense to start utilizing it as ad space just as we would with other forms of online advertising.


Another benefit of IGA is collecting precise data on their tendencies and demographics. Depending on the platform you choose to advertise on, video games may have access to personal user data such as social behaviour with other players, purchasing patterns, demographics (age, gender, location), and even biometrics. Using the collected data, businesses can utilize them to understand their target market more, further optimizing their product and advertising angle.


Not only is choosing to advertise in-game beneficial to business owners, but they also tend to help the game experience. Integrated in-game advertisements, which appear as a part of the game, can make the game seem more realistic, thus improving the retention rate and overall enjoyability. As gamers produce dopamine and other 'feel-good' chemicals as they play video games, users may subconsciously connect that positive feeling with a correlation to your branding.


What Formats Are There?


Advertisements can be subtly placed anywhere in video games. Here are three main types of in-game advertising strategies that are commonly used.


Dynamic In-Game Advertising (DIGA)


DIGA is a popular integrated advertising method that appears as a part of a 3D game environment. These dynamic ads are delivered in real-time using ad servers and allow games to update them even after it's been released continuously. These are advantageous for businesses that want exposure for a certain period as they usually run on a CPM(cost per mile) basis. They're straightforward to implement in a short time frame and can just as easily be removed quickly. The picture above depicts a realistic billboard advertisement within the Spider-Man: Miles Morales video game.


Static In-Game Advertising


This technique is used more for product placement within the games as they're planned and integrated within the development stage of the video game. They allow more customization into how they're integrated within the storyline compared to DIGA but would remain for the entire life cycle of the video game and require more commitment.


Advergames


These are games that are custom-built for promoting a product or brand. For instance, the Spider-Man: Miles Morales video game shown earlier is strictly for promoting the marvel superhero Spider-Man from Sony and Insomniac Games. This allows players to connect with the brand and product more immersive and fun. This is great for spreading global awareness, building authenticity and positive branding; however, this method is usually costly and takes longer to implement than most other methods.


Other Advertising Methods

There are also popular in-game advertising methods utilized within mobile games. The image above shows standard banner ads that appear on the borders of mobile games, which redirect players to their product if interacted with. Mobile games also display still-picture, video or engaging pop-up ads within the game environment. Pop-up ads are often timed for a short duration before users can continue the game to increase engagement with the ad. Video ads could also be incorporated as a part of the mobile game storyline, were engaging with an ad would provide some value, whether it be to 'heal a character' or earn in-game currency.

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