Admix: Advertisers aware of in-game ads as a media channel but unsure how to unlock it

93% of advertisers have seen an increase in-game ads spend over the past 12 months, but, it’s still a grey area for many.  That’s according to new research from in-game advertising platform, Admix.

Gaming is a lucrative channel, where three billion active gamers will spend almost $176 billion on games in 2021, a figure which is set to surpass $200 billion in 2023. According to Admix, brands and advertisers have only begun to capitalize on what gaming has to offer as a media channel, particularly on mobile, which is now larger than PC and console gaming combined.

To understand what brands know about the video gaming market, their experience of in-game ads to date, and their plans for reaching a vast – and growing – gaming audience in the future, Admix commissioned research agency Atomik to conduct a survey of more than 400 respondents in the UK and US, with responsibility for media buying in their company.

Key findings

Games advertising growth – 81% of media buyers plan to either maintain or increase in-game advertising spend over the next 12 months, with 93% intending to run some form of in-game advertising by 2025.

Key drivers for growth – The rapidly developing infrastructure behind in-game advertising is driving its growth – with increases in the availability of programmatic options, third-party verification for in-game advertising performance and an increase in the availability of in-game inventory cited by advertisers as the most common reason for the category’s growth.

Barriers to adoption – A fifth of media buyers cited a lack of understanding as the biggest reason for not investing in in-game advertising, with 31% considering it a grey area.

Premium inventory – 60% of respondents felt consoles offered more premium video game inventory than mobile. However, a third identified casual mobile games as being premium – narrowly higher than any other in-game environment.

Gamer spend – Advertisers realise that video gaming is a huge market – 34% believe gamers’ average spend is between $100 and $500 billion. In fact, it’s estimated that gamers spent $165 billion in 2020 – more than half of that on mobile gaming.

Gaming audiences – Media buyers drastically underestimate the scale and diversity of gaming audiences, with a perception of the typical gamer most closely matching the profile of a male console gamer. A third believe there are between 100 and 500 million active daily gamers, while 27% think there are between 500 million and 1 billion. In reality, there are 3 billion across the world – 2.8 billion of whom play on mobile – with an even gender split.

Transatlantic differences – US brands seem to be more wary than their UK counterparts. 23% of US buyers aren’t spending on in-game advertising due to resistance from clients, compared to just 9% in the UK, while 52% of UK media buyer’s clients are asking for in-game activity in the next 12 months compared to 33% in the US.

With over three billion gamers generating hundreds of billion dollars in annual revenues, it’s impossible to ignore video gaming as the next key media channel. Indeed, it’s no surprise that Netflix sees Fortnite as a bigger competitor than other video-on-demand platforms.

Samuel Huber, CEO and Co-founder, Admix