In-Game Advertising

Brand Ads vs Performance Ads: Advertising Strategies in the Gaming Industry

April 19, 2023
5 minutes

Advertising is an essential tool that enables brands to tell a story about their products and services, expand their outreach and achieve better results. 

The growth of the gaming ecosystem has led to a dramatic increase in the number of ads being served daily. For example, the average person in the 1970’s United States saw an average of 700-800 ads per day, which reached a staggering 4,000-10,000 ads per day, last year (Source: Zippia).

The gaming industry's rapid growth has attracted various traditional brands to in-game advertising, and many are excelling at it. Well-known examples include Adidas' marketing campaign for ZX 2K Boost shoes, which involved Fortnite streamers, and Louis Vuitton's partnership with League of Legends to design in-game clothes for a hip-hop group. Red Bull has also been a long standing industry player.

The critical question for any brand executing an ad campaign is a combination of  choosing the right type of ad formats, delivering the relevant message within the appropriate environment. 

In this article, we will explore how brand ads and performance ads within the gaming vertical may be leveraged. More specifically, we will discuss in the gaming industry, discussing how and why each may be delivered effectively to drive marketing outcomes their strengths and weaknesses, and how they can be used effectively.

Comparing Brand Ads and Performance Ads in  Gaming Environments

The expansion of gaming environments offer a highly engaged, yet hard to reach audience segments that may span various demographics. As such, brands from CPG, to retail, to automotive etc have embraced in-game environments to capture the attention of audience group who are light consumer of the typical digital and linear media channels. In addition, as a result of the format, drive  enhanced customer impact .

In-game ads allow brands to capitalise on their brand advertising outcomes. First to foster audience connections and build brand equity, as well as deliver product awareness to influence future purchases.

Publishers and game developers can also use brand ads within gaming environements to increase their revenue opportunities. 

One very successful brand ad campaign example is PUBG Mobile's partnership with Coca-Cola.

Key advantages of brand advertising include: - these are very generic examples

  1. Highly effective strategy to drive brand awareness and favorability.
  2. Long-term benefits surpassing short-term approaches like performance ads.
  3. Appeals to a broader audience, offering unique brand experiences, and leading to potential conversions later on.

Performance Advertising: Goal-Driven Short-Term Growth

The rise of mobile gaming has seen an increase in  performance ads as more publishers and brands look to leverage the opportunity this space provides.

Performance advertising is designed to achieve specific, measurable goals within a set time frame, targeting short-term results rather than brand ads' long-term focus on awareness and recognition.

Common performance ads’ goals include driving sales, downloads, or app installs. 

The main difference between brand ads and performance ads is the latter's focus on specific actions, often using cost-per-action (CPA) pricing models. This means advertisers only pay when the desired action occurs.

Performance ads allow brands to target highly engaged audiences while offering publishers opportunities to grow revenue.

Many prominent games have used performance ads across channels to execute goal-oriented campaigns. 

Key advantages of performance advertising include:

  1. Goal-oriented ad campaigns to boost return on ad spend (ROAS).
  2.  Remind users about the brand while promoting value-adds to drive favorable actions, such as app installs or purchases.
  3. Provide short-term benefits and cater to targeted audiences for higher conversions.

Brand Ads vs Performance Ads In The Gaming Industry

In the gaming industry, both brand ads and performance ads play vital roles in driving success for companies. 

Each kind of ad serves a distinct purpose and yields varying results, catering to different objectives and audiences. 

By strategically combining these ad types, companies can build a strong brand presence while driving revenue and achieving scalable results.

in game blended ad example
In-game blended ads offer a rich ad experience
interstitial ads example
Interstitial ads are a prominent ad format in around the game advertising

Utilizing a mix of brand and performance ads in the gaming industry allows companies to leverage the highly engaged gaming audience and enhance their advertising strategies. 

By understanding the unique purposes of each ad type and effectively implementing them, gaming companies can achieve both short-term and long-term success while simultaneously building a strong brand presence and driving revenue.

Choosing The Right Ad Strategy

To help you build your next ad campaign, here's an overview of the key differences between brand ads and performance ads:

Factor Brand Ads Performance Ads
Impact Long-Term Short-Term
Goal Drive brand awareness and favorability. Drive ROAS through a specific action (app installs, purchase).
Measurement Measured through feedback collection and brand awareness on different channels, such as mention recall and viewability. Measured through the specified goal (sales, installs, emails collected) can measure metrics such as Video Completion Rate (VCR), Click-Through Rate (CTR).
Audience Broader audience for maximum outreach. Targeted audience for maximum results.
Gaming Execution In-game blended ads for a favorable ad experience. Around the game ads at natural transition points to offer the proposition.

When deciding which type of ad to use in the gaming ecosystem, advertisers need to consider factors such as the target audience, the type of game, and the desired outcome. 

To build the right mix of brand ads and performance ads, consider the following steps:

  • Define your goals: Clearly outline your advertising goals, whether it's raising brand awareness, driving app installs, or increasing sales. This will help you choose the appropriate ad type.
  • Understand your target audience: Analyze your target audience's demographics, interests, and gaming preferences to tailor your ads to their needs and preferences.
  • Choose the right game environment: Select a game environment that complements your brand and advertising goals. For example, if you're targeting casual gamers, choose games with a large, diverse user base.
  • Test and optimize: Continuously monitor your ad performance, analyze the data, and make adjustments as needed to improve your results. This may include adjusting your ad creative, targeting, or overall strategy.
  • Allocate your budget wisely: Determine the right balance between brand and performance ads based on your goals and target audience. This may require adjusting your budget allocation over time as you test and learn from your campaigns.

By following these steps and leveraging the unique benefits of both brand and performance ads, you can create a successful advertising strategy that drives results in the gaming industry.

iion enables brands and advertisers to execute the optimal ad strategy and reach a highly engaging and diverse audience through games. With a suite of next-gen tools offered by iion, advertisers can catalyze growth and drive conversions.

Want to know how to build the right mix of brand ads and performance ads? 

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  1. What are brand ads?
    Brand advertising is a form of advertising that aims to foster better relationships with the viewer, in the long run, to drive conversions in the future
  2. What are performance ads?
    Performance advertising is an ad strategy executed to achieve measurable goals within a specified time, which can include app installs, sales, email collection, and more.
  3. How do the ads differ in terms of the target audience?
    Brand ads traditionally use a broader audience, as the end goal is to create brand awareness. On the other hand, performance ads utilize audience targeting to reach the ideal demo for maximum returns.
  4. What are the key advantages of brand ads and performance ads?
    Brand ads are the ideal ad strategy to create brand awareness in the long run and offer unique experiences related to the brand, which can result in conversions later. Performance ads can be helpful in executing a goal-oriented ad campaign that aims to increase ROAS and drive a specific goal from the users.
  5. Which ad type is best for advertising in the gaming industry?
    Brand ads and performance ads in the gaming industry serve different purposes and bring in different results. Companies can succeed by using a combination of both types of ads to achieve the best results.

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