When gameplay meets advertising - Tangoo
17.07.2023 Marketing Pills

When gameplay meets advertising

Strategies and planning for In-Game Ads

by Marketing department

The statistics reveal that on average, gamers spend approximately 8 hours and 27 minutes per week engaged in gaming sessions. This data becomes less surprising when compared to the advertising market.

The global market for In-Game Advertising is constantly growing and is projected to reach $17.6 billion by 2030. This increase is not only due to the growing number of hours spent in-game but also, and more importantly, to the interest of brands and agencies in utilizing this channel.

Faced with such a significant market volume, marketers cannot and should not remain indifferent. This is because video games have long ceased to be considered merely a pastime for a specific target audience and have transformed into a mass media that engages people of all ages and backgrounds.

The age range of gamers is significantly increasing: the number of gamers of the age range between 55 to 64 has grown by 32% in the last two years, and over 27% of Gen Z states that gaming is their primary source of entertainment.

With the increasing popularity of this medium, marketers have started to explore new ways to connect with their audiences in vast virtual worlds, which are now also being explored by brands and agencies.

The increasing trend of In-Game Advertising can be attributed to various factors. Let’s take India, currently the leading mobile-first gaming market, or the USA, where over half of Americans are into gaming platforms. These countries are trendsetters that are already spreading their influence around the world.

By leveraging these advanced and diverse advertising options for a diverse set of users, brands can build successful strategies by incorporating In-Game Advertising into their marketing mix. Effectively reaching your audience at every stage of their customer journey has never been easier.

So why is In-Game Advertising an excellent opportunity to invest in right now? Despite its substantial growth and immense potential in terms of penetration and time spent by users, it remains largely underestimated by many. The application of In-Game Advertising in advertising strategies is still not widely adopted, resulting in cost-effectiveness. In comparison to other media channels, it offers compelling outcomes in terms of engagement and visibility, even with minimal budgets.


When it comes to gaming industry, customization is often the key, whether for creating your own character, building the game world or the storyline itself. Ad formats can also be customized to fit the gaming experiences, primarily differing in placement and integration methods.

  • In-App Banner: Similar to mobile web and In-App Advertising, these banners can be placed in various areas of the screen and when integrated into the mobile gaming context (such as loading screens, menus, or along the edges of the interface), they ensure constant visibility.
  • Interstitial: High-impact ads that cover the entire screen. Due to this reason, this type of ad is often “playable,” and the ad itself becomes a mini-game within the game.
  • Rewarded: Usually video ads that offer mobile users the opportunity to receive a reward (such as extra lives or in-game currency) if watched in full.
  • Native In-Game: They integrate directly and realistically into the game environment. They can be explicit, such as product placements, allowing players to use a brand’s products (a consumable, a skin, or a car model), or presented indirectly, similar to DOOH (Digital Out-of-Home) and traditional advertisements. The goal here is to impact the audience by creating a realistic, consistent, uninterrupted, and above all, memorable gaming experience.
  • Audio: It has always been extremely important in video games as it helps to establish the desired atmosphere and pace, just like in cinema. In-Game audio ads, therefore, become a vehicle for non-intrusive messages, without interrupting the gaming experience. Even major streaming audio platforms like Spotify are recognizing the potential in gaming-related solutions. For instance, they provide options to target users who are listening to music from PlayStation or engaging in a gaming session on their platform.


Programmatic has become increasingly relevant in the context of In-Game Advertising. This allows for the automatic and timely purchase of advertising space within game environments, just like on the web, based on the analysis of various factors such as player profiles, gaming experience, and personal preferences.

This enables brands to reach their audience extremely effectively in a different context that is still relatively unexplored by many. Additionally, programmatic advertising provides the ability to monitor and measure campaign performance in real-time, optimizing targeting strategies and budget allocation. 

This advantage extends to software houses and independent developers as well. By leveraging the scalability of programmatic advertising, they can monetize their games more efficiently by becoming integrated into the supply chain.

Currently, there are several industries showing significant interest in programmatic In-Game advertising, including the automotive, consumer goods, and entertainment industries, which, by investing in this new advertising format, achieve significant results such as a 20% increase in brand consideration and a 19% increase in top-of-mind awareness.

The immersive gaming environment and the ability to target specific groups of players make this channel a must for companies seeking to achieve an omnichannel impact.

To create an effective marketing strategy, it is crucial to fully understand the target audience, considering different game genres and the results they can bring.

While understanding the target audience is only the initial phase of a broader study, when planning a campaign on this channel, it is crucial to consider the platform on which it will be distributed. Currently, the mobile market is the most profitable (mostly populated by casual gamers), followed by consoles (with a high concentration of professional gamers) and PCs (more niche and hardcore gamers). Mobile games should not be underestimated, as they have the highest earning potential due to the evolution of smartphones. It is predicted that mobile games will represent 60% of the global market’s revenue by 2028.

Indeed, the results can be remarkable. For example, Prada’s perfume campaign launched on Candy Crush generated a traffic increase of 1,800%.

However, interrupting a gamer during a gaming session is never a good idea. If it’s not managed properly, In-Game ads can disrupt the user experiences. It is important to carefully study the non-intrusive ad formats and prioritize user experiences, contributing to the success of the campaigns.

The key to success is understanding that the virtual worlds should be leveraged now, without waiting for the channel to become crowded with competitors fighting for their space.

The question every brand should ask is: Do I want to be a spectator or a player in In-Game Advertising?

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