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  • Taisiia Dobrozorova

2023 In-Game Advertising Guide: Maximizing Marketing Potential within Games

Updated: Jul 15, 2023

In-game advertising is a game-changer in digital marketing, seamlessly integrating brand messages into the gaming experience. This article explores the immense potential, benefits, and strategies behind this innovative approach.


By leveraging the popularity of video games, brands can reach highly engaged audiences, boost brand awareness, and foster long-term loyalty. HitBerry Games will introduce you to various formats available, such as product placements, branded content, and interactive ads. Let's get started!


In-game advertising
In-game advertising with posters. Source: https://www.adweek.com/

Types of in-game advertising


There are several types of in-game advertising that are commonly used in the gaming industry. Some of the notable ones include:


Static In-Game Ads


These are non-interactive advertisements that are integrated into the game environment. They can appear as billboards, posters, or product placements within the game world.


Case: One real case of static in-game ads is the partnership between the popular soccer video game franchise, FIFA, and various real-world brands. In FIFA games, static in-game ads are strategically placed on billboards surrounding the virtual soccer stadiums. For example, in FIFA 21, players may notice advertisements from major global sponsors, including brands like Coca-Cola, Adidas, and Emirates, displayed prominently on the virtual pitch.


Static In-Game Ads
Coca-Cola ads in FIFA 21 game. Source: MeelayyB youtube channel

Video Ads


Video ads are short video clips that play before, during, or after gameplay. They can be displayed as pre-roll ads, interstitials, or rewarded video ads, where players can choose to watch an ad in exchange for in-game rewards.


Case: The best example of video ads is the partnership between the mobile game Candy Crush Saga and various advertisers. In Candy Crush Saga, players are offered the option to watch short video ads in exchange for in-game rewards or extra lives. These video ads typically range from 15 to 30 seconds and can include promotional content from diverse brands.


Video ads in Candy Crush Saga
Candy Crush Saga cover. Source: https://www.mobileaction.co/

Advergames


Advergames are games specifically created to promote a brand or product. They feature the brand prominently within the gameplay, aiming to engage players while also conveying the advertising message.


Case: Another great example is the “Burger Queen” game. The Burger Queen fast-food restaurant uses this advergame to engage customers and promote its brand. The advergame effectively promotes its products and brand values. Created by HitBerry Games, this game shows what it is like to be part of the Burger Queen experience.


In this advergame, players take on the role of a restaurant worker, making burgers with different ingredients and managing to overcome all possible obstacles in their path. He has to make the perfect burger before the packing lane runs out. There is a prize waiting for him at the end. The game offers an interactive and engaging experience that immerses players in the world of fast-food business.


Burger Queen advergame
"Burger Queen" screenshot

Native Ads


Native ads seamlessly blend into the game environment, mimicking the style and design of the game. They are often integrated into loading screens, menu screens, or sponsored content within the game.


Case: The "Subway Surfers" collaboration with various brands is the best way to explain native ads. In Subway Surfers, ads are seamlessly integrated into the gameplay experience, blending in with the game's environment and mechanics.


For example, players may encounter billboards, posters, or in-game objects featuring real-world brand logos or products within the game's virtual subway stations and city landscapes. By incorporating native ads, Subway Surfers provides an immersive and realistic urban environment for players while allowing brands to reach a vast and engaged player base.


Native ads in Subway Surfers
"Subway Surfers" with Walmart ads

Product Placement


Product placement involves incorporating real-world products or brands into the game, where they are visible and interactable by the player. This can range from branded in-game items to vehicles or clothing featuring recognizable logos.


Case: One excellent case is the partnership between the luxury car manufacturer Audi and the racing game franchise "Gran Turismo." In Gran Turismo games, players have the opportunity to drive virtual versions of real-world cars, and Audi has leveraged this platform to showcase their vehicles. Through product placement, Audi's cars are prominently featured within the game, allowing players to experience the performance and design of Audi models firsthand.


Audio product placements in Gran Turismo game
Audi R8 LMS in Gran Turismo Sport

Sponsorships and Partnerships


Game developers may form partnerships or sponsorship deals with brands or companies. This can involve featuring brand logos, sponsored events, or exclusive in-game content tied to a specific brand.


Case: A really good example is NBA (National Basketball Association) and the popular basketball video game franchise, NBA 2K. This partnership involves various aspects, including exclusive licensing agreements, in-game integration, and promotional activities.


NBA 2K hosts tournaments and events in partnership with the NBA, allowing players to compete and earn recognition within the gaming community. The game also incorporates real-world NBA updates, such as player trades and team performances, further bridging the gap between virtual and real basketball.


Through this collaboration, NBA 2K features authentic player likenesses, team logos, jerseys, and stadiums, providing an immersive and realistic basketball experience. The game serves as a platform for the NBA to extend its brand presence and engage with a vast global audience of basketball fans.


NBA Sponsorships and Partnerships
NBA 2K20 Screenshot. Source: https://www.newgamenetwork.com/

Dynamic In-Game Ads


Dynamic ads allow for real-time advertising content updates within the game. These ads can be served from an external source and can be tailored to the player's location, demographics, or preferences.


Case: One real case of dynamic in-game ads is the partnership between the gaming company Electronic Arts (EA) and the energy drink brand Monster Energy. In certain EA sports video game titles like FIFA and Madden NFL, dynamic in-game ads are implemented to promote Monster Energy.


These dynamic ads are updated in real-time to reflect current advertising campaigns run by Monster Energy. For example, billboards within the virtual stadiums or arenas in the games feature dynamic ads showcasing Monster Energy's latest product offerings, promotional campaigns, or athlete endorsements.


Dynamic In-Game Ads of Monster Energy
Monster Energy promotion by Electronic Arts. Source: https://de.roccat.com/

In-Game Promotions


In-game promotions involve promoting other games or game-related content within a game. This can include trailers, announcements, or cross-promotion of other titles by the same developer or publisher.


Case: One good way to explain in-game promotion is the history between the video game Fortnite and the movie franchise Marvel Studios. In-game promotions were implemented in Fortnite (a popular online multiplayer game) to promote Marvel movies, particularly Avengers: Endgame.


During the promotion, Fortnite introduced limited-time events and content that allowed players to engage with the Marvel universe. This included special game modes, character skins, and themed challenges related to the Avengers. Players could purchase these exclusive items and participate in in-game events inspired by the Marvel movies.


The in-game promotions not only generated excitement among Fortnite players but also served as a cross-promotional opportunity for Marvel Studios. By integrating the Marvel characters and storylines into the game, Fortnite expanded its player base and provided a unique experience for both Fortnite and Marvel fans.

Marvel in-game promotions in Fortnite
Fortnite cover with Marvel characters. Source: https://www.polygon.com/

These are just a few examples of the types of in-game advertising utilized in the industry. Game developers and advertisers often employ a combination of these methods to effectively monetize games while providing an engaging experience for players.


How to measure the success of in-game advertising?


In-game advertising has emerged as a dynamic marketing channel, but how can you determine its success? To evaluate the effectiveness of your in-game advertising campaigns, it's crucial to analyze relevant metrics that provide valuable insights. By understanding these metrics, you can make data-driven decisions and optimize your advertising strategies. Here are key metrics to consider:


1. Impressions: Measure the number of times an ad is displayed to players. Impressions indicate the reach and potential exposure of your in-game ads.


2. Click-Through Rate (CTR): Calculate the percentage of players who clicked on your ad, indicating their engagement level. A higher CTR suggests better ad relevance and user interest.


3. Conversion Rate: Measure the percentage of players who took a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter, after interacting with your in-game ad. This metric indicates the effectiveness of your ads in driving conversions.


4. Viewability: Assess the visibility of your in-game ads by tracking the percentage of ad impressions that were actually viewable to players. Viewability metrics help ensure that your ads are being seen by the intended audience.


5. Engagement Metrics: Analyze metrics such as time spent viewing an ad, interactions with ad elements, or completion rates for interactive ads. These metrics provide insights into how players are actively engaging with your ads and indicate their level of interest.


6. Brand Lift: Measure changes in brand perception or awareness among players who have been exposed to your in-game ads compared to a control group. Brand lift metrics help evaluate the impact of your ads on brand metrics.


7. Return on Investment (ROI): Evaluate the financial effectiveness of your in-game advertising campaigns by comparing the revenue generated against the costs incurred. ROI provides a comprehensive view of campaign profitability.


8. Player Feedback: Consider gathering qualitative feedback from players through surveys or reviews to understand their perception of your in-game ads and identify areas for improvement.


By tracking and analyzing these metrics, you can assess the success of your in-game advertising efforts and make informed decisions for future campaigns. Remember, each metric provides a unique perspective on your campaign's performance, allowing you to optimize your strategies, improve ad targeting, and deliver more impactful experiences to players.


Conclusion


In-game advertising presents a powerful and innovative option for brand promotion. With the ever-growing popularity of gaming, brands can tap into a vast and engaged audience, reaching them in a highly immersive and interactive environment. In-game advertising allows for precise targeting, ensuring that ads are displayed to the right demographic at the right time.


Moreover, in-game advertising offers measurable metrics to evaluate campaign success, enabling brands to make data-driven decisions and optimize their strategies. Embracing in-game advertising can provide brands with a unique opportunity to boost visibility, generate brand awareness, and ultimately drive consumer engagement and loyalty.


If you are also interested in advergaming or in-game advertising, contact us for your brand promotion in the gaming industry!





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