Which types of in-game advertising do users love (or hate)?

Gamers are not very positive about in-game advertising, but there are formats they prefer. And they make up a huge audience.

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Gamers “can’t stand” video ads. They don’t like banner and display ads either. A new report from data.ai and IDC examines the in-game ad formats most popular with marketers and users. It also confirms that the gaming experience is very much a mobile experience and that consumer spending on mobile gains is set to reach $108 billion this year.

Why we care. For some reason, marketers seem to talk a lot more about social media advertising and CTV advertising than game-based advertising, even though the global gaming audience has surpassed three billion (compared with a global social media audience of almost five billion). There are huge opportunities, especially as this can be a somewhat captive audience once immersed in a game.

The challenge is finding ad formats that aren’t an immediate turn-off for Minecraft addicts or other members of a large and diverse audience.

Dig deeper: In-game advertising: A marketer’s guide

Unpopular with users. Of course, user preferences don’t necessarily signal outright rejection of a particular ad format. But there are some that people really don’t like:

  • Although over 80% of users reported seeing in-game banner ads, 24% more users dislike them than like them.
  • 85% of users acknowledged seeing in-game video ads; 32% more users dislike them than like them.
  • These preference gaps have grown YoY.

Popular with users. Let the audience win something and they’re on your side:

  • Rewarded video ads are the most popular of formats with 20% saying they like them. These opt-in ads provide a reward, usually in the context of the game, such as an extra life or more power.
  • Playable ads rate second with users; 16% say they like them. These interactive ads give users a chance to sample a mobile game experience before committing to downloading the app. This isn’t just for gaming brands; it’s an opportunity for brands in general to serve playable ads.

Read more about the findings here.


About the author

Kim Davis
Kim Davis is currently editor at large at MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for almost three decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Shortly thereafter he joined Third Door Media as Editorial Director at MarTech.

Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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