Mobile has evolved into a significant brand platform, offering countless opportunities to integrate branded content into everyday lives. Gone are the days when our Nokia and Motorola devices were the sole brand offering – today our Samsung or Apple device also runs apps from thousands of other brands. A recent report from Google and Ipsos MORI revealed that a third of smartphone users are playing a games app on a daily basis – presenting a huge opportunity for marketers and advertisers.

Of all app activity (which also includes news, entertainment and sports), mobile gaming came out on top for smartphone users. In allowing players to interact with gaming content quickly, easily and at minimal cost, mobile gaming has been able to hold consumer engagement like no other – just take Pokémon Go as a global example.

Dropping the mobile stereotype

Despite mobile gaming’s explosive popularity over recent years, when it comes to optimising the potential of mobile games, marketers and advertisers are yet to take full advantage of its offering.

When it comes to gaming, many continue to underestimate the breadth of audience. Previously, we might have associated mobile gaming with the archetype young, male gamer, but this profile is long since out of date. Google’s research found that women make up 52% of total usage time. When it comes to audience, mobile gaming has no set demographic.

In dropping the stigma around mobile gaming, brands will find a hidden gem. Seventy-eight per cent of app users claim to spend six and a half hours a week playing mobile games, which is an incredible amount of time spent immersed in play. Combine this with the simple fact that, when we play games, we are typically in a positive, receptive state of mind – there is no better audience to serve branded ad content to.

Success through engagement

Unlike the disruptive banner ads or invasive pop ups that are commonly used on news or entertainment apps, mobile gaming allows for the seamless integration of branded content through in-game advertising.

For example, branded mini-games can be carefully tailored to the player’s interests, with rewards- based messages that provide incentives to watch. By elevating the overall gaming experience, players can develop positive affiliations with branded advertising. Research shows that 62% of mobile game players regularly choose to engage with a video ad for an in-game reward.

We know that if the content is engaging, consumers, on the whole, have no issue being served branded ad content – just look at Snapchat’s heavily branded AR filters which continue to prove immensely popular among its users. It is not the brand itself that has the power to disrupt, but the way it is positioned.

Tapping into mobile

As our smartphones get more sophisticated and our engagement with content rises, mobile game players are becoming increasingly invested in branded advertising, allowing us to serve better in- game ads than ever before. Brands can sponsor competitive events, putting them at the heart of engaging content we know players love. By offering exclusive access to one off events like these, advertisers are able to serve more tailored ad content whilst players are rewarded for their commitment to the game.

Google’s research has shown that we have a daily opportunity to reach a diverse and engaged audience through increasingly creative and effective content. The appetite for mobile gaming is continuing to grow and the opportunity for advertisers is there for the taking.


By John-Paul Burke, country manager UK and Ireland at Gameloft

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