By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

March 27, 2023 | 7 min read

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As part of The Drum’s AI to Web3: the tech takeover Deep Dive, StackAdapt’s Khaled Alfangary explores how to unlock success in the metaverse with programmatic in-game ads.

StackAdapt explores how to unlock success in the metaverse with programmatic in-game ads

StackAdapt explores how to unlock success in the metaverse with programmatic in-game ads

Gaming is already a $300bn industry – but the dawn of web3 takes things to the next level as gaming moves outside its box to invade multiple emerging channels across TV, audio and the metaverse. For digital marketers to embrace this new world, the need for speed is key – but how can they experiment with new formats and activate programmatically to drive success?

In a world where privacy is paramount, the dawn of web3 has ushered a high level of anonymity while also opening doors to more advanced approaches and innovative experiences. But despite still being in its early stages, “the prospects of the new internet age are quite exciting – particularly for digital advertisers,” says Khaled Alfangary, manager of client services, StackAdapt EMEA. Watch the ‘Gateway to the metaverse: powering up with programmatic in-game ads’ video above.

Unlocking value in a new universe

Alfangary notes that while virtual reality (VR) took the hot seat back in 2021, tech advances brought about by web3 development and the combination of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have given emergence to highly interactive formats, allowing marketers to deliver hyper personalized ad exposures based on a deeper understanding of their customers.

One such format is in-game advertising – which is an exciting gateway to the metaverse for brands to start experimenting with, says Alfangary. But to overcome the challenges surrounding web3 advances and exploit these new technologies to the maximum, advertisers need easier, faster access to formats which will require a standardized tech approach.

“The digital marketing industry as a whole will need to come together and standardize our tech approach to avoid having a fragmented internet with different ways of working,” he says. “ML and AI are a huge part of the conversation to take it to the next level.”

As a new technology with complicated concepts, to overcome adoption and market scepticism marketers will need to “stay ahead of the curve and not be afraid to test and learn, because this is the only way to embrace the changing landscape,” says Alfangary. “It’s speed that makes the difference – not just in how brands adapt their marketing approach, but the speed of staying ahead of the curve and looking to the future.”

Key to this is selecting the right partner who “not only invests in the present but is actively planning ahead – empowering advertisers to make the smart choices for their strategies and [be able to] adapt them to future market changes,” he says.

Creating a better, contextual user experience

In a world where user experience is paramount, gaining access to in-game advertising through programmatic – where global spend is forecast to surpass $700bn by 2026 – gives brands a much easier and quicker opportunity to maximize incremental reach while also engaging captive audiences in a controlled brand safe environment.

StackAdapt’s gaming partner Anzu has enabled brands including Vodafone, Samsung and Hotwheel to tap into in-game advertising formats and benefit from strong results. What has been key to their success, Alfangary explains, is the right context to reach audiences in a non-intrusive way.

“Introducing blended in-game ads to the ad-sequencing strategy can enhance the storytelling experience ever further, resulting in excellent brand awareness uplift,” he says. “But you must ensure relevancy, so the creative isn’t intrusive to the user experience.”

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Staying one step ahead of the curve

Launching in-game advertising shouldn’t just be a one-off activation or a vanity play to showcase a cool format, Alfangary advises. Instead, “brands need to adopt a cross-channel strategy and truly use in-game as a way to complement their top funnel activities with clear goals and KPIs that feed into their long-term plans to increase brand recognition.”

For marketers to really seize the opportunity, they need to “take a step back and gain a full understanding on how to best leverage where programmatic sits in the marketing funnel,” he adds.

In-game can take a multitude of formats – so brands must be willing to test and learn. Alfangary notes: “There is no single approach that fits every brand or advertiser, so developing a short- and long-term test and learn plan is essential – including how to best utilize in-game advertising in your top funnel, and how to best deploy the different creative formats accordingly.”

If there’s one lasting piece of advice, it’s to get ahead of the curve now. “Start re-assessing your marketing approach and see how to make it future-proof,” says Alfangary. “Look for easy access to in-game advertising while also incorporating it within a cross-channel strategy.”

Watch the video above for more insights and tips for creative best practice to unlock success with programmatic in-game advertising in this emerging, immersive world.

In-game Ads Metaverse Web3

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StackAdapt is a multi-channel programmatic advertising platform used by the most exceptional digital marketers. This state-of-the-art platform is where some of the...

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