In-Game Advertising

Cross-Device Advertising in the Gaming Industry

October 12, 2023
5 Minutes

Gaming is a multi-platform experience. Nearly 50% of all gamers play on multiple devices—PC, console, and mobile. This isn't just a trend; it's a call to action for advertisers. 🎮📱💻

You can't just target gamers on one platform; like most other advertising campaigns, you need a cross-device marketing strategy that reaches them wherever they play or think about gaming. The key with cross-device advertising is to ensure you target your audience across the customer journey.

This article will explore advertising in gaming on various platforms. It will provide real-life examples and trends to assist you in developing a successful plan.

Game advertising environments and ad types

There are three main IAB gaming environments, each with their own ad types and purpose:

  • In-Game: These ads blend right into the game. Think billboards in a virtual city or pop-ups interstitial ads between levels. Great for awareness and recall.
  • Around the Game: These ads are part of the game's world but not in the gameplay. For example, video ads that play before the game starts or banners on the game's homepage. Ideal for engagement and action.
  • Away from the Game: This category includes ads that are related to gaming content but aren't in the game itself. This includes, and not limited to, articles related to esports or partnerships with streamers about AAA games. Such activations are good for advocacy and engagement. 

The goal is simple: catch the gamer's eye without intrusive ads by running cross device campaigns to increase top of mind awareness and brand association.

Next, we'll dive into a table that breaks down each ad type, weighing their pros and cons to help you plan a killer game advertising strategy.

The rise of cross-device game audiences

Cross-platform gamers are starting a new trend. PC gamers used to focus on the competition between PCs and consoles. They would refuse to play on consoles. However, now they are enjoying games on at least three different platforms. 

These gamers are willing to invest in expensive gaming equipment and spend most of their time playing games, as well as thinking about games. 

Newzoo’s Global Gamer Study, noted that the most popular cross-device combination was PC and mobile dual use (25%). However, this was sharply followed by tri-platform players, who enjoyed playing on PC, console, and mobile (23%).  

Tri-platform players spend more than 11 hours gaming every week, while single-platform players spend just over 4 hours. 

In fact, dual-platform players spend twice as many hours gaming (8.18 hours) gaming compared to single-platform players.

By advertising across devices, brands will be able to capture this lucrative gaming demographic that’s always online and willing to open their pockets. 

What is cross-device advertising in gaming?

Cross device advertising in gaming is the same in cross device advertising in general. Cross-device advertising aims to deliver a unified and consistent ad experience across platforms—be it a console, PC, mobile device, or smart TV.

For instance, consider a gamer who starts playing Fortnite on their PC, switches to mobile while commuting, and then joins their friends on console and continues to play. 

Gamers who use multiple platforms not only spend more time playing but are also more likely to make in-game purchases. According to Newzoo's Lead Analyst Tom Wijman, "The lines between platforms are increasingly blurred, and gamers are more multi-platform than ever." 

The takeaway for brands? Consistency is key. Missing out on advertising to gamers on even one device could mean losing valuable hours of engagement and potential revenue.

What is an example of cross-device advertising in the gaming industry?

Cross-device advertising allows brands to engage players seamlessly across multiple platforms. 

Let's delve into a real-world example. The popular game Among Us is a social deduction game known for its cross-device functionality. 

The Scenario

Advertisers can target players who are on their way home and decide to join an ongoing Among Us game via their mobile device. 

During the gameplay, players may encounter three types of ads from a popular sports brand:

  • Interstitial ads: Full-screen ads that pop up between game rounds.
  • Banner ads: Less intrusive ads displayed at the bottom of the screen.
  • Rewarded video ads: Optional ads that offer in-game rewards like skins.

The Transition

Once players get home and switch to their PC, they continue gaming. Remarkably, advertisers can ensure that the same sports brand ads appear again, maintaining a consistent advertising experience.

The Impact

The ads can become a talking point among players, especially if they feature a catchy slogan or meaningful message. 

Eventually, advertisers can drive players to be intrigued enough to visit the brand's website and follow through with a desired brand outcome eg. make a purchase, subscribe to their mailing list, etc.

This example illustrates the power of cross-device advertising in creating a cohesive and memorable brand experience, ultimately driving user engagement and conversions.

How cross-device game advertising connects brands with their audience

There is a depth to gamers that often goes unnoticed. Largely because the global gaming community is incredibly diverse. Each player thinks and engages with games differently. 

Take, for example, the younger generations—Gen Alpha, Gen Z, and Millennials. These tech-savvy individuals are increasingly platform-agnostic, meaning they don't limit themselves to just one gaming device. 

Instead, they are fluid in their transition between mobiles, PCs, consoles, and desktops, embracing the full spectrum of gaming experiences available to them.

Globally, 71% of Gen Z and 69% of Millennial gamers are not only players but active gaming content viewers. 

This insight emphasizes why brands need to engage with these audiences—not just within the game, but across the gaming universe.

To win in this space, brands must decode the multi-touchpoint, cross-platform nature of modern gaming and digital consumers. 

Brands can build authentic, lasting relationships with an engaged audience by crafting strategies that take these evolving digital behaviors into consideration.

The power of cross-device advertising in gaming 

Cross-device advertising amplifies your brand's reach across the gaming world. It keeps you connected with gamers as they switch between devices, instead of losing touch after just one.

Avoid the disconnect that comes when gamers see unrelated ads on different devices. With a cross-device strategy, you can offer a seamless and engaging experience.

Tailor your ads to gamers' device preferences for maximum impact. For instance, if they're scrolling social media on their phones, that's the perfect time to prompt a subscription.

Cross-device advertising trends in gaming

Two key trends signal that cross-device advertising is the future of gaming:

1. Multi-Platform Games: Developers are no longer sticking to just one platform. They're designing games that can be played on PCs, consoles, and mobile devices alike.

  • Case in Point: Diablo Immortal, a spin-off of the iconic '90s PC game Diablo, is a mobile-first game that's also playable on PC. It hit the $500 million revenue mark in its first year, making it one of the fastest-growing mobile games ever.
  • Watch: Diablo Immortal Trailer

2. Emerging Platforms: Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) devices are moving from niche to mainstream. Advertisers need to adapt their strategies to reach gamers on these new platforms.

By understanding these trends, advertisers can better tailor their campaigns to reach gamers wherever they play.


In gaming, cross-device advertising isn't just a nice-to-have; it's essential. It extends your reach and delivers personalized ads, syncing perfectly with the rise of multi-platform gaming and new tech.

Advertisers, take note: To engage a diverse audience, you need to evolve with this ever-changing landscape. It's the future of game advertising. 💃

Partner with experts like iion to target your ideal audience, no matter what device they're on.

Find out more here.

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