Play to Win: Leveraging Advertising Opportunities in the Gaming Industry

Play to Win Leveraging Advertising Opportunities in Gaming Industry

Marketing professionals no longer believe that the gaming audience consists exclusively of children or teenagers — recently, the age range of gamers has become significantly broader, largely due to the emergence of mobile gaming. Mobile games are becoming increasingly popular — this trend is quite evident in the context of overall global digitalization. For the gaming niche, this means that its audience will grow even stronger in the years to come.

In addition to the growing number of players, the proliferation of mobile gaming also affects the amount of time gamers spend online, which means that the market will continue to grow. So, it’s about time to learn how to work with and advertise in this market. What trends should be taken into account, and how can advertisers reach the right audience effectively? Let’s figure it out.

What’s behind the exponential growth of the gaming niche?

The number of video gamers increased from 2.7 billion in 2020 to 3.2 billion, a 5.6% rise by 2023. It is projected to further increase to 3.34 billion by 2024. Namely, the absolute winner in revenue last year was Roblox, which scored $665.3 million only in the first quarter of 2023. 

According to the abovementioned source (, we can observe that 79% of Internet users are occasionally involved in gaming activities. More so, there are a couple of interesting facts about the modern gaming industry that advertisers need to take into account: 

  • Females account for nearly 48% of the gaming audience;
  • Around 78% of gamers are older than 18 years;
  • The median age of a video game player usually reaches 35 years old;
  • Around 80% of male gamers prefer such game genres as “shooter,” which is also relevant for mobile games;
  • Among American gamers, 71% are Caucasian, making it the largest ethnic group. Following closely behind, Hispanic gamers constitute 10%, while African Americans make up 8%. Additionally, 7% are Asian or Pacific Islanders, and the remaining 3% belong to other ethnic backgrounds;
  • China accounts for gathering the largest pool of gamers (750 million or more);
  • Among adult gamers whose age crosses 18 years, most hail from UAE.

When it comes to the mobile gaming market, we see the following numbers (

  • $98.74 billion worldwide — this is how much the mobile gaming market will make by the end of 2024;
  • In this segment, the number of users is expected to reach 1.9 billion by the end of 2027;
  • Again, China is the leading country that will count for generation of the highest revenues this year ($34,660.00 million);
  • Meanwhile, the per-user revenue is also growing exponentially and is expected to reach $57.64 this year.

Such stats obviously signify that the demographics of the gaming niche are diverse and growing. With this, mobile gaming represents the largest opportunity for advertisers, as mobile games see wider adoption among all genders and age groups. Mobile games are much easier to install and don’t need additional equipment and a profound gaming experience. Last but not least, advertising in mobile gaming apps is a much easier strategy for advertisers to reach their audiences, both in terms of supported ad formats and the specifics of the environment. 

Exploring gaming industry opportunities for advertising

As we’ve already found out, gaming is growing rapidly these days, especially thanks to the wide adoption of mobile games. The reputation of the gaming industry is also improving thanks to the active esports communities worldwide. While gaming and esports are distinct entities, esports is gaining traction — thus, advertisers have a huge opportunity to promote their products or services via sponsoring esports teams. 

1. Esports sponsorships

The revenue generated from sponsorship and media rights in esports reached $1.2 billion in 2023. With this, the modern esports industry is inconceivable without sponsorships. Every esports team has several partner companies, ranging from small startups to globally renowned corporations. In each region, there are popular categories of sponsors.

Some regions see high demand from computer components and equipment manufacturers, while sponsors often include food and beverage vendors in others. The diversity of sponsors in esports is vast — ranging from companies specializing in children’s toys to luxury automotive brands.

Logitech is the most popular technological sponsor in the esports niche, collaborating with five teams, including Karmine Corp and Team Heretics. With this, those sponsor brands normally need to collaborate with teams from different regional esports leagues to ensure representation in each of them. Chupa Chups here is rather an exception, as this brand is sponsoring three teams in the EMEA league simultaneously. Before tapping into esports partnerships, it is important to analyze your audience and then continually engage with the community through social media, events, and other platforms where they spend most of their time.

2. In-game ads

In-game advertising is another form of promoting products, services, or newly launched apps. From 2024 to 2029, this market segment is projected to demonstrate a yearly growth rate of 9.10%, reaching a market volume of $169.40 billion by the conclusion of 2029. In a mobile environment, in particular, the ad spend is supposed to reach $77.4 billion by the end of this year. 

Advertisers no longer have to contact app developers directly when it comes to advertising products or services. In order to advertise inside of game apps, it is enough to register on a demand-side platform and launch targeted ad campaigns in gaming apps automatically, according to pre-selected campaign settings. Aside from general ad formats like banners and rich media, you can select among various formats specially crafted for in-game apps — playable ads, rewarded ads, or reveal ads. One of the specifics of such platforms is that you can channel the ads only to the relevant groups of users, which becomes possible thanks to the data-driven approach that takes into account the characteristics of users, their interests, age range, and more.

If you are planning to unfold advertising in video games, you might need to find a specific in-game advertising network or platform that works with the game environments you require — console games, Internet games, or more. Banners, video ads, game advertising, and audio ads, among other formats, are also available for the abovementioned environments. 

3. Sponsored content

Within the diverse ecosystem of mobile game monetization, sponsored content emerges as an innovative and convenient advertising approach. This strategy typically involves integrating native advertisements within the application. Unlike traditional advertising, which can sometimes disrupt the user experience, content is organically crafted, enhancing the value of user interaction with the app.

The implementation of sponsored content requires a thorough understanding of your audience. The key here lies in subtlety and relevance: sponsored content should be perceived not as advertising but as a natural part of the application’s offering. Sponsored content needs to be seamlessly integrated into the application. Whether it’s sponsored posts in the content feed or branded mini-games, the execution should be aligned with the rest of the gaming app environment.

4. Influencer partnerships

Around 23% of gamers follow social media influencers, and there’s no surprise — influencers wield authority and trust among their audiences. Their followers know and admire them, believing their idol wouldn’t endorse something bad. Moreover, influencers can promote and advertise all kinds of games, not just mobile gaming apps. Partnering with well-known streamers who specialize in your genre of games can also be beneficial. Streamers can conduct live streams and share their impressions with their audience.

The main task is to find an influencer who has the appropriate target audience. Additionally, factors such as the number of followers, reputation, social media activity, engagement, etc., need to be taken into consideration. Next comes the development of content that will be promoted by influencers. This could include photos, videos, or other formats that best suit the target audience. After this, the advertiser needs to regularly analyze the outcomes of their advertising campaign performed by influencers in order to understand if they generate the desired results, whether it is the number of downloads, subscriptions, or purchases from the landing page. 

5. Emerging trends and future opportunities

The future of advertising in games is heading in a specific direction; it is becoming increasingly interactive and dynamic. This way, for instance, integrations into gaming events have turned into a new norm. If such a strategy is executed skillfully, it can greatly drive both online and offline sales. This is one of the best ways to build brand awareness and increase loyalty among players.

Immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are being successfully integrated into advertising campaigns as well. Back in its time, Pokémon Go sparked a revolution among mobile applications by blending smartphone gaming with augmented reality (AR). Characters from the game would appear on phone screens when users captured various objects, be it streets, apartments, public transportation, and so forth. By 2028, the number of users in the AR and VR market worldwide is expected to reach 6,887 million users. Forecasts suggest that user engagement levels will be at 92.2% in 2023 and are expected to increase to 104.9% by 2028. All this represents outstanding chances for advertisers to launch unforgettable ad campaigns within AR and VR gaming apps in the future. 

At the same time, it is not all limited to mobile app niches, as there are more opportunities that will arise with the massive adoption of VR gadgets like Apple Vision Pro. Outdoor advertising with gamified experiences will also see a new life. A good example of this is Timberland’s AR campaign conducted in 2020 — it offered people the chance to “try on” items from the brand’s new collection without the need for physical fitting. This advertising campaign delighted customers and significantly boosted sales of the new collection.

To wrap it up

The gaming niche is rapidly expanding, and to successfully promote your services, products, or applications, it’s essential to utilize all available channels and resources, from advertising platforms to collaborations with influencers and sponsored content. Set clear goals and objectives for yourself, determining the specific outcomes you aim to achieve. With clear goals in mind, the results of your promotion efforts will not be far behind. Additionally, you can combine various advertising formats and employ precise targeting to maximize effectiveness and reach your target audience.

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