Written by Sam Yadegar on May 13 , 2022

Find out why gaming is an industry that in-the-know marketers are exploring.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What gaming advertising is
  • Types of gaming advertising at your disposal
  • A look at gaming ad costs
  • Advantages and challenges of advertising on these platforms

Most marketers know advertising across as many channels as possible is the key to reaching a wider audience and connecting them with your offerings.

While it was once a challenge to get buy-in for paid social ads, it’s now pretty well understood in most industries that these platforms are worth investing in. Now, it seems the next frontier for marketers is gaming.

The numbers don’t lie. Experts predict gaming will become a $435 billion industry by 2028. In 2021, around 45% of the world’s population (3.42 billion people) played video games, including hundreds of millions in the U.S. alone.

And since the demand for online gaming is so high, that means the opportunity for digital marketers is as well. 

Let’s take a closer look at the top reasons why gaming advertising should potentially become part of your digital marketing strategy.

Child playing video games

With gaming advertising, you aren’t limited to one or two marketing options. (Image: Rawpixel)

1. Impressive audience diversity

Long gone are the days when the stereotypical gamer — an antisocial teen their parent’s basement — reigned supreme.

Today, active gamers span age, income, and a variety of other demographics. In fact:

  • 64% of American gamers are between 18 and 54 years of age. (Statista)
  • 45% of American gamers are women. (Statista)
  • 60% of Americans play video games every day. (IGEA)
  • In 2022, the video gaming industry’s market size is $95.4 billion. (IBISWorld)

Gaming surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the trend doesn’t appear to be waning anytime soon. 

2. A variety of advertising options

With gaming advertising, you aren’t limited to one or two marketing options. The most common options are:

  • Reward ads – Players get in-game rewards for watching a full ad.
  • Interstitial ads – Gamers see the ad when completing a certain level inside the game.
  • Display ads – These ads appear on top or at the bottom of the game screen.
  • Advergaming – These are built-in ads that promote products within the game itself.

Dynamic in-game advertising

This highly innovative method of advertising places your ad inside the gaming environment. Your ad can appear on virtual objects such as posters, billboards, walls, and other places you would expect to see an offline ad in the real world. 

The technology behind this type of ad placement is similar to serving banner ads on websites. You have an opportunity to place these ads in previously released and upcoming games.

3. Top-of-mind awareness

Top-of-mind awareness is one of the most important marketing metrics. Increasing awareness can streamline the rest of your digital marketing efforts and speed up the customer’s journey down the sales funnel.

Gaming advertising creates an opportunity to put your brand in front of the target audience in a seamless, non-aggressive manner. Your product can appear organically within the game when the buyer is susceptible to information.

This contributes to better brand visibility and keeps your offerings top of mind.

Pro tip: In spring 2022, The Verge reported that both Sony and Microsoft plan to introduce ads in games this year.

4. Competitive edge

While there may be growing buzz around gaming advertising, only a small percentage of companies appear to be taking advantage of it. 

What’s more, around 75% underestimate the size of the gaming market, and 60% don’t have a clear understanding of the gamers’ demographics.  

Because of this, those who take the time to explore this marketing opportunity have a chance to gain a competitive edge and steal market share.

Boys playing video games together

When creating a gaming ad budget, you have to make several important decisions about how you want to proceed. (Image: Rawpixel)

5. New influencer opportunities

Gamers don’t just play games. They also enjoy watching how others do it. Twitch, which is the largest video gaming streaming platform in the world, has over 140 million users.

Top video game players are excellent influencers. By partnering with these people, you gain an opportunity to reach millions of potential clients.

Pro tip: Not sure where to begin with influencer marketing? Start here.

6. Delivery challenges

While gaming advertising comes with many benefits, it also has its challenges. 

One of them is smooth ad delivery. Gamers are passionate about the gaming process and view everything that tries to interrupt it as a nuisance. (This isn’t dissimilar to sentiment around pop-up ads, for example.)

It can be difficult to find a way to serve up ads in the most non-obtrusive yet effective way possible.

When it comes to gaming advertising, you don’t just need to understand your target audience. You also need to learn how they behave in the gaming environment. This can help you come up with high-quality content that doesn’t interfere with the gaming process itself.

7. Costs of gaming advertising

When creating a gaming ad budget, you have to make several important decisions about how you want to proceed.

Dynamic ads

If you want to place your ad on a billboard or a poster inside the gaming environment or an app, you can expect the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) to be around $4 -$12.

These ads don’t cost as much as others because they don’t offer much in the way of customization and engagement. They also require players to use an internet connection.

Static in-game ads

If you want to program the ad directly into the game, the costs can vary between $50,000 and $500,000, according to experts. The price depends on the type of game, the level of integration, and the audience size. Once you make a one-time payment, the ad remains in the game forever.

Advergaming

If you want your brand to become an integral part of the game, the costs start at $15,000 (for smaller mobile games) and go up to $100,000 and beyond.  

The takeaway

Gaming advertising is a nascent marketing channel that’s gaining traction fast.

If it seems like your target audience is made up of gamers, exploring gaming ads could be an excellent way to reach your ideal client persona while giving you an extra competitive edge. 

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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