In-Game Advertising

The Crawl, Walk, Run Game Advertising Approach

November 30, 2023
5 Minutes

When it comes to game advertising, brands and agencies often find themselves at the starting line, uncertain of how to proceed. 

Yun Yip, iion’s Chief Commercial Officer confirms this, “When speaking to advertisers we often hear the same thing - that game advertising can be intimidating- especially knowing where to start to get results.” 

We have created a strategic blueprint for advertisers, brands, and agencies to help them navigate this landscape with confidence. 

The Crawl, Walk, Run approach is crafted around how a player may progress through a game.

Let's explore how this approach can take you from the sidelines into the heart of action.

Stage 1: Crawl

Consider the 'Crawl' stage as your strategic warm-up.

You're getting a feel for the game advertising realm, learning the basics, and understanding where you want to ‘play’ and who you want to target. 

This starting point is about using simple, straightforward ads like banners and videos that pop up at just the right time to capture your audience's attention.

These are the baby steps that get your brand's name out there without overwhelming you with the complexities of the gaming universe.

The ideal area to start out in the game advertising realm is in the ‘around the game’ environment. 

Around the Game ads are strategically placed in mobile games during breaks and between levels. 

Creative formats include banners, videos, rewarded videos, and interstitials, driving familiar standard media metrics like CTR and VCR. Which makes it a great starting point for brands transitioning from standard web advertising to game advertising.

Stage 2: Walk

Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to up the ante. 

In the 'Walk' phase it’s about adapting your ad campaigns to your selected game environments. Making your ads part of the gaming experience. In-game advertising is a great way to achieve this. 

In-game ads are embedded within the gameplay, appearing in highly viewable game elements like billboards, walls, vehicles, and more. 

These ad types aren't just about getting clicks; it’s about brand building and building brand resonance.

In fact, according to a Newzoo survey 50% of the online population have discovered new brands through gaming and 47% are more likely to buy from a company they have seen in their favourite games.

These statistics highlight the immense potential that in-game advertising has on influencing consumer behaviour.

iion’s immersion platform offers a diverse range of in-game inventory that includes all rich media formats, such as display, audio, and video. 

Up until recently most in-game ad units have been non-clickable, however, clickable formats are now available and growing in popularity.

Performance can be substantiated and measured through attention and brand uplift studies.

Stage 3: Run

After getting the hang of the initial stages, it’s time to pick up the pace.

The 'Run' phase is about executing full-scale campaigns that supercharge engagement.

At this stage, it’s all about building, and nurturing the relationship between your brand and the greater gaming community. 

The mechanisms for this phase typically revolve around brand activations and game-streaming channels. 

Platforms like Twitch,, and YouTube Gaming are ideal for connecting with a broad, hyper-engaged social audience, making them highly receptive to brand endorsements.

Placing your ads across diverse gaming environments and platforms increases the chances of your brand connecting with your ideal customer. 

This strategy ensures your brand is showcased at the optimal moments and locations, creating a lasting impact and capturing the attention of our target audience.

This is where streaming and game influencer marketing really shines. These channels are ideal for driving brand advocacy and creating positive associations.

Jeremy Merrell Williams, Chief Code Architect at Vyudu.Inc, highlights the impact of this strategy: "When a popular [gaming] streamer dons a particular brand, boom, it's like an endorsement from LeBron James in the sports world." 

Streaming ads allow brands to combine two advertising forms to compound the impact and enhance brand recall. Such as the high-impact ad placements with the streamer's mention of the brand or campaign message.

Stage 4: Sprint 

This stage is for brands ready to ramp up their game. If you're seeing positive results and want to boost your reach, brand uplift, expand your campaigns across multiple game environments and touchpoints. 

Amplify your ad campaign's impact by diving into the world of game mods. These are the customizations that gamers use to make their gaming experience uniquely theirs. 

It's where players are not just playing a game; they're actively shaping it. This active engagement in the gaming world opens up a new avenue for brands: advertising through game mods.

By tapping into game mods, you're not just placing an ad; you're embedding your brand into the very fabric of the gaming experience. 

It's a fresh, innovative way to connect with your audience.

Stage 5: Fly

In previous stages, we walked you through the basics of game advertising and how to build on each stage for success by showing you how to integrate your ads into the different gaming channels and formats. 

The fly stage is where the magic happens. It’s where those brands that are bold enough to take the leap can become true game advertising innovators. 

Once brands get to this level they have transitioned from novice to expert. They understand that it's not just about using games as a place to show ads but about weaving their brand into the fabric of the gaming experience.

Brands at this stage are able to connect with their audience no matter where they are in the gaming world. 

Take, for example, how brands are creating their own virtual stores on gaming platforms like Roblox. 

This strategy blurs the lines between digital and physical realms, creating a seamless brand experience.

Beyond their standard marketing mix, a great real-world example is Forever 21's Barbie-themed collection. It's not just available in stores; it's also part of the Roblox world, offering gamers a unique way to engage with fashion both online and offline. 

Mastering The Game Advertising Journey

Embarking on the journey of game advertising can be a nuanced and complex process. However, with iion's 'Crawl, Walk, Run' approach, this process becomes more structured.

Starting with simple ad formats and gradually introducing more engaging experiences, to align with consumer’s gaming behaviour.

“At iion, our focus is on developing a comprehensive infrastructure — from platform to service — to simplify and enhance game advertising for all brand advertisers. 

This is why we've tackled brand safety, fragmentation, innovative content, and measurability issues, dismantling barriers that once deterred brands from exploring gaming as an advertising channel," concludes Yip.

In essence, the 'Crawl, Walk, Run' approach provides a clear path for harnessing game advertising’s potential, enabling brands to learn, adapt, and succeed in the interactive gaming world.

Ready to get in the game, but still unsure where to start?

Get in touch, we are ready to guide you through the game advertising universe! 

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