3 Things You Need to Know About the $3 Billion Mobile Gaming Ad Market   

Updated on September 26, 2023

Tetris, the “OG” of mobile games, was launched 25 years ago as a pre-installed game for the “Hagenuk MT-2000” (one of the very first smartphones). In 2019, the mobile gaming landscape has evolved into what is now the most profitable gaming ecosystem, surpassing PC and console.

Mobile gaming is forecasted to generate nearly 96 billion dollars in revenue by 2022, making it an attractive space for marketers to launch full funnel campaigns. Since Tetris’ launch, 53% of those games run on ad dollars. In today’s mobile gaming landscape, 95% of gaming dollars are coming from in-game spend. That lopsided ratio has ignited a $3.25 billion advertising market for in-game ads this year alone.

Here’s what the landscape looks like today:

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1. Mobile Gaming is a Melting Pot.  

Of the 3 billion smartphone users worldwide, 2.2 billion play mobile games. This means that 73% of smartphone users play at least one mobile game, for marketers that is a head turning percentageOut of those 73%, 41% of them admitted paying attention to the advertisements placed in mobile games, compared to just 17% on the internet 

Contrary to popular belief, teens and young adults do not dominate the mobile gaming world. Of the total number of mobile gamers, 63% are femalesAll ages own a proportionate piece of the mobile gaming pieWhile 23% of mobile gamers are 55 years old or older22% of mobile gamers are 13-24 years old, this divide is one that shows all targets can be reached via mobile games.

2. In-Game Ads Boost Engagement for All Verticals. 

In-Game ad formats such as opt-in reward ads, playable ads, and personalized video ads have successfully made gaming ads a feature that gamers enjoy. Verticals such as healthcare, consumer packaged goods, and automotive, have ran campaigns via gaming ad formats and have seen engagement increase by 10% year over year, and completion rates of 90%.

The personalization of the interactive advia mobile games get the attention of the viewer at a deeper level than social or video adsFor example, the most competitive completion rate to in-game ads is YouTube video ads, while they have increased at the same rate as mobile gaming ads (10% YoY), they still trail with a completion rate of 81%

Mobile ad engagement through games is significantly more effective than ad engagement via social or video because we can all confess that scrolling past the ad on a social platform or clicking “Skips Ads” as the video ads begin to play is significantly easier to do than exiting the game and starting over just because of a short ad that may have a reward at the end. 

3. Monetization Brings all the Cash to the Apps.   

Over 50% of the top 50 iOS games have monetized through in-game ads, compared to just 12% of non-gaming apps. In other words, mobile games have proven to monetize in-app ads four times more than non-gaming ads. The benefit is clear for both sides, while marketers see consumers engage at high levels via in-game ads, game developers establish a lucrative industry. 

For reference, Candy Crush’s 1.6-million-dollar daily revenue clearly shows the benefits for both marketers and developers.  

The numbers show the opportunity for success in the in-game advertising spacenot only do consumers spend 10% of their time while on mobile devices playing games, but 74% of consumer spend through the app store is driven by games. 

Although marketers have been slow to adopt in-game ads as a go-to market strategy, the clear window of opportunity is there for marketerto raise awareness and score big on conversions.  

Playing the Game 

It’s clear that to successfully advertise and reach the best audiences, marketers should think about an in-game ad strategy. With a market growth of 84% since 2015, the in-game ad market is one that all marketers can benefit from today and years to come. The upward pacing field has ample room for marketers across all verticals to enter and take it by storm, all that is needed is a strategic approach that puts the gamers interests first.  

When it comes to launching a successful advertising campaign, two things are clear: in-game advertising is the next big wave, and when in doubt, think Tetris’ everlasting success. 

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