In-Game Advertising

2024 Game Advertising Trends You Can't Afford to Miss

March 12, 2024
5 Minutes

2024 game advertising trends are evolving rapidly, driven by technological advancements, changing consumer behaviors, and the increasing popularity of gaming across various platforms. 

Gamers are exhibiting substantial buying power and are ready to spend. Marketers, brands, advertisers, and media buyers need to be aware of these behavioral shifts to capitalize on and respond to these emerging (and lucrative) trends.

Here are some key trends you can't afford to miss:

The INs: Game-Changing Trends of 2024

Venturing into the futuristic landscape of Game Advertising, these five key transformations are taking center stage:

  1. Premium Inventory in Game Advertising
  2. More Video Functionality in Virtual 3D Gaming Worlds
  3. User-Generated Content (UGC) Games: Empowering Gaming Creators
  4. Mobile Game Advertising Trends Shaping the Industry
  5. The Integration between Games and eSports

Premium Inventory in Game Advertising: The New Gold Standard

As we head into 2024, the spotlight in the advertising world is on premium inventory in game advertising and ad quality. 

Brands, advertisers, and publishers are all pivoting towards these areas, driven by the industry's shift to meet the rising demand for quality game advertising inventory. 

This change is in response to advertisers increasingly valuing in-game advertising as a key component of their omnichannel media budgets.

Two major factors fuel this shift: the impending end of third-party cookies and the growing necessity for contextually relevant targeting.

In-game advertising is uniquely positioned to offer this kind of targeting effectively. A recent example is Roblox, which expanded its in-game advertising to meet the demand for high-quality ad spaces.

This trend has deep roots. In fact, in 2002, tech giants Sony and Microsoft announced plans to introduce premium inventory in Playstation and Xbox games, as reported by AdExchanger. 

This move signals a clear direction for brands and advertisers aiming to make a significant impact: invest in premium ad inventory in high-quality, contextually relevant gaming environments.

Such an approach promises improved targeting, heightened engagement, and increased visibility. 

Paving the way for a higher ROI, positioning premium in-game advertising as the industry's new gold standard.

More Video Functionality in Game Advertising

A 2023 PWC report predicts a significant rise in revenue from ad-supported video on demand, expecting it to nearly double in the next five years. 

This growth is attributed to the increasing popularity of streaming and audiences' growing acceptance of advertising within these platforms, marking a key trend in advertising.

Venturing into gaming’s virtual worlds. Platforms like Roblox are introducing video functionality for all in-game billboards starting in Q1 2024. 

The trend of video functionality in advertising is characterized by a move towards more immersive, integrated, and interactive advertising experiences.

It reflects the broader shifts in consumer behavior and technological advancements, emphasizing the need for advertisers to adapt to the evolving gaming landscape to engage with their target audiences more effectively.

User-Generated Content (UGC) in Games: Empowering Gaming Creators

User-generated content (UGC) has become a significant force in the gaming industry, impacting various aspects such as player engagement, game development, marketing, and the overall gaming economy.

This is evident as Roblox and Fortnite empower their creators with generative AI tools and better analytics, empowering them to make better, more relevant player experiences.

Beyond these platforms, user-generated content (UGC) is expected to make its way into gaming video ads as more brands recognize the importance of working with their community, prioritizing gameplay and combining it with unique brand experiences. 

This trend points towards a future where UGC in games becomes a staple across more games than not. 

Supporting this view, 80 Level Media on UGC in games suggests that player-created content will likely dominate the top games globally in the coming years.

Mobile Game Advertising Trends: The Future is Mobile

eMarketer shared that mobile in-game ad spend is expected to hit 177.4 billion USD by the end of the year (2024).

The mobile gaming industry surge is driven by the rapid growth of the Asia-Pacific gaming market, fueled by widespread smartphone and tablet usage, presenting a wealth of opportunities. 

Let's explore the innovative ad units revolutionizing mobile game advertising:

  • In-game reward ad notifications: Integrated into the game's narrative, these ads offer players rewards for engaging with them. This approach not only fosters positive brand associations but also enhances user engagement.
  • Branded missions: These are brand-specific missions within games, offering players in-game perks for completion. This strategy increases engagement and allows brands to integrate deeper into the gaming experience.
  • Brand surveys: Integrated surveys provide valuable insights to advertisers and reward players for participating, creating a win-win situation.
  • Gamified ads: These ads use game mechanics to create engaging, interactive experiences, significantly boosting user engagement and conversion rates. They can increase sales up to four times more than traditional ads.
  • Data capture ad formats: Some ads now let you collect information in the game to customize messages and offers based on player preferences. 

Using these innovative ad units is essential for brands and advertisers looking to bolster engagement and growth in the mobile gaming sector.

The Integration between Games and eSports

As of 2024, the global gaming community boasts 3.26 billion active gamers, accounting for nearly 41% of the global population.

This substantial figure reflects the widespread appeal of gaming across various demographics.

Forbes notes that 27% of gamers stream video games for 1 to 5 hours each week. 

This engagement is particularly strong among younger adults, with 77-80% of gamers aged between 18 and 34. This high level of involvement in the gaming and esports sector presents a ripe opportunity for brands to connect with a young, enthusiastic audience.

The global esports market, a vital component of the gaming revolution, is on track to generate $4.3 billion in US revenue by the end of 2024

The scale and popularity of major esports events are now comparable to traditional sports.

For example, the League of Legends 2023 World Championship broke viewership records with 6.4 million peak viewers, becoming the most-watched esports event. 

Another notable event, the Free Fire World Series 2021 in Singapore, attracted 5.41 million peak viewers.

Looking ahead, Statista forecasts that by 2025, the number of dedicated esports fans will reach 318.1 million, with occasional viewers totalling 322.7 million.

This underscores the sector's expansive growth and significant impact on global digital entertainment, making it an essential component of modern digital marketing strategies.

The OUTs: "Game Over” for These Advertising Trends in 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of game advertising, what's "out" is as crucial as what's "in."

  1. Traditional advertising methods are fading into obscurity
  2. Intrusive advertising is on the outs

Why Traditional Advertising Methods Are Losing Ground

Traditional advertising methods, such as print ads, radio spots, billboards, and TV commercials, are losing effectiveness in today's digital age. 

A 2023 PWC report highlighted that in the US, the most prominent traditional TV market, saw digital advertising spend exceed the revenue from cable and other subscriptions.

This shift is primarily attributed to the rise of the internet and the widespread adoption of mobile devices, which have changed how we create and consume media.

Modern audiences tend to prefer highly personalized, on-demand content that traditional media, with its one-size-fits approach, struggles to meet. 

To illustrate this point, a recent Variety article highlighted significant declines in TV advertising revenue among major media conglomerates. 

Warner Bros. Discovery's TV ad revenue dropped by 13% in Q3 2023, reaching $1.71 billion. 

Similarly, Paramount Global experienced a 14% decrease, and NBCU saw an 8.4% decline to $1.91 billion.

Even Fox, heavily reliant on sports, faced a 1.6% reduction in ad revenue.

These figures reflect a broader industry trend where traditional advertising channels are losing ground to more targeted, interactive, and engaging formats like in-game advertising.

The Decline of Intrusive Ads: A Win for User Experience

Another significant shift is the decline of intrusive ads. 

Much like traditional advertising, intrusive ads have worn out their welcome.

This trend is backed by stats showing how intrusive ads harm user experience and brand perception.

These statistics demonstrate that intrusive advertising disrupts the user experience, damages brand reputation, and can lead to a decline in user engagement.

The Bigger Picture: Understanding the Forces Shaping Game Advertising

In-Game Advertising Budgets are on The Rise

Gamers represent a diverse, engaged demographic with significant spending power, making them an attractive audience for advertisers. In turn, this has led to an explosive growth in in-game advertising budgets.

One example of this trend is how the total game ad revenues in the US have more than doubled in just five years, with advertisers expected to spend $8.53 billion in 2024.

PWC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2023 report confirms this: "With confidence in the gaming sector rising, advertising revenue is projected to nearly double between 2022 and 2027 and will reach US$100 billion in 2025.”

Under-the-Radar Advertising Forecast: The Trends to Watch

Beyond the headline-grabbing developments, several underappreciated trends are shaping the future of game advertising — trends that promise to make an impact.

  • Attention metrics are becoming increasingly important to measure ad performance beyond traditional metrics like viewability. Almost 96% of advertisers globally use attention metrics to measure and track at least some of their sales effectiveness.
  • Shoppable media in games is set to change advertising by allowing instant purchases, blurring the line between entertainment and shopping. Much like Roku and Walmart's TV shopping partnership in 2022, future game ads may integrate more deeply with e-commerce. This suggests a rise in interactive gaming ads, where players can effortlessly shop within their gaming experience.

The Future of Game Advertising is Now

This landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by technological advancements, shifting consumer behaviors, and the ever-growing popularity of gaming. 

As traditional advertising methods like print, radio, and TV commercials lose their appeal, game advertising emerges as a dynamic and effective alternative.

This new advertising landscape is an opportunity to create unique and engaging experiences that captivate customers.

So, it's time for brands and advertisers looking for results to enter the gaming arena and step up their advertising game! 

Now is the time to get your creative teams on board to brainstorm and devise innovative ways to leverage these trends.

Ready to get in the game but not sure where to start? 

Contact us and let our experts take your advertising game to new heights.

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