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Gaming Open Mic

Why marketers should embrace gaming as the premium environment it is

By Charlotte Robinson



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April 25, 2024 | 6 min read

Here, members of IAB UK’s Gaming Group explain why marketers should hold gaming in the same regard as other marketing channels.

In just a few short decades, gaming has transformed from a niche hobby into a global multi-billion dollar industry that draws in billions of daily users, with in-game advertising enjoying high attention rates and diverse audiences.

But gaming is still widely viewed as a ‘nice to have’, rather than an integral component. Here, members of IAB UK’s Gaming Group explain why marketers should hold gaming in the same regard as other marketing channels.

Why should marketers think of gaming as a premium environment?

The benefit of positive brand associations

Melinda Spence (head of advertising insights at Activision Blizzard Media): “With 73% of players viewing mobile games as high-quality and 86% engaging with mobile games weekly, gaming is a premium space for marketers looking to reach a diverse, dynamic and vastly attentive audience at scale. 

"Through seamless ad integrations that align with evolving player expectations, mobile gaming presents an unparalleled avenue for innovative in-game marketing strategies that leverage the universal appeal and engagement that mobile gaming commands. 

"Furthermore, partnering with premium publishers and games allows brands to benefit from positive brand association by positioning themselves alongside much-loved game titles and franchises.”

Gaming engages diverse audiences

Steve Ford (SVP, advertising, ESL Faceit Group): "Gaming isn't just the future of entertainment -it's the now and it’s the present. With 3.2 billion gamers globally and a market expected to grow to $189bn in 2024, brands have a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse and captive audience. 

"From esports tournaments to streaming and influencers, gaming fosters tight-knit communities that are open to all, allowing creativity to thrive and connections to deepen. In gaming, everyone is welcome to play, to make the journey from zero to hero, irrespective of gender, race, location, disability, background, or skill. 

"Brands tapping into this special ecosystem can authentically forge connections with the next generation - who are tech-savvy, fast-growing, and open for meaningful engagement - in a way that is unparalleled when compared to other channels."

A universal appeal

Faye McDowall (strategy director, DAX at Global): “It’s simple - little moments for mobile gamers are big moments for brands thanks to in-game audio advertising. Mobile gaming has exploded in popularity since the pandemic, everyone from parents to city workers is loving little moments of light relief and fun. 

"A more positive alternative to doom scrolling, mobile gaming offers those playing a series of moments - often not more than 10 minutes at a time - of relaxation and distraction. Premium advertising in mobile gaming means desirable audiences in a positive mindset, receptive to the well-documented benefits of audio advertising.”

Creating immersive experiences

David Kleeman (SVP of global trends, Dubit): “Generations Z and Alpha live organically cross-platform lives, engaging with favorite brands and content across games, video and physical products. 

"User-generated content (UGC) gaming platforms like Roblox  and Fortnite in particular are booming because they immerse young people in worlds built around their fandoms and passions. They can wear the brand, play the characters and create their own fan content. They’re a brand discovery driver, as well - Dubit’s Global Trends Tracker finds that 20% of UK six-to-15 year olds discover new brands through gaming.”

Gaming drives engagement

Tom Purcell (demand partnerships director, AdInMo): “When it comes to gaming, premium is about quality of gameplay, relevancy of the ad for players and authenticity of the actual ad placement, rather than just the game title or publisher. The lean-in nature of games, when combined with player-level addressability, drives higher engagement for advertisers, and a much better in-game experience for players. Now that’s premium.”

How does gaming interconnect with other media

Storytelling & seizing attention

Rich Jones (product director, Dataseat): “Advertising in mobile games has similarities to other channels with storytelling, like linear and connected TV. Fullscreen video formats served between segments of content can capture a high degree of attention – especially non-skippable rewarded placements in games. Non-game advertisers are increasingly recognizing the value of these impressions, and the expanding demographics of gaming audiences is also a boost here.”

Forging meaningful connections

Michael Smith (VP sales, EMEA at Anzu): “Gaming is similar to other media channels in that it presents prime advertising space for marketers, allowing them to make meaningful connections with players across the sales funnel. 

"Recent research by Anzu and Happydemics revealed that intrinsic in-game ads effectively boost ad recall (+13pts), brand identification (+11pts), and purchase consideration (+5pts) compared to online media benchmarks. As data continues to underscore gaming's efficacy, it's poised to become an integral component of every advertiser's media strategy.”

Creating fan communities

Rohan Premnath (commercial lead, Odeeo): “When we think about gaming in context of other media, it’s essential to understand that gaming incorporates some of the best features of modern entertainment. Gaming can have all the best characteristics of other mass mediums, ranging from incredible IP to intense emotional player engagement, to the creation of fan communities and interaction that extends far beyond the gaming session. 

"Mobile games in particular are built for engagement and active participation, with the player highly focused on the medium allowing for unique connections between brand and audience.”

Gaming Open Mic


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