Advertising in Mobile Gaming Apps

Post by Stephen Longsworth, Media Manager

Mobile users spend the majority of their time using apps. And as the app market grows, ad inventory expands with it. In fact, eMarketer predicts that in 2016, mobile users will spend 79.3% of their time in-apps, as opposed to 20.7% of their time on the mobile web.

eMarketer Chart of Time Spent per Day on Mobile

This usage correlates to 73.2% of ad dollars being spent to serve in-app ads, while only 27% is dedicated towards mobile web ad spend. As mobile continues to grow within the next few years, in-app usage will also rise.


Mobile gaming constitutes for a large part of the mobile app industry. eMarketer conducted a study this past March, noting that in 2016, more than half of the U.S. population will play games on their mobile devices.

eMarketer Chart of Mobile Phone Gamers and Penetration

Gaming apps are on the rise; by 2020, it’s estimated that 63.7% of the population will be using their mobile devices to play games. Because users are spending an increased amount of time gaming on their phones, brands should consider developing an advertising strategy that correlates with mobile gaming apps.


By partnering with a gaming ad platform, brands can run ads in the following categories:

  • Rich Media Ads: This grouping contains creative ads that engage the consumer with mini/sample games, survey-related content, site content and full-screen, engaging display ads.
  • Native Ads: Within this category, brands can choose to display sponsored messaging and events to gamers
  • Display Ads: This includes full-screen ads and banner ads
  • Video Ads: This category offers expandable video banners along with incentivized and non-incentivized ads

Presenting ads to consumers through games should be as seamless as possible; in fact, it should feel more like an experience than a sell. There is an effort to make the ad experience as seamless as possible with the game play experience. By leveraging specific ad formats and displaying ads to the right audience, brands can reach consumers at the right place and at the right time.

Actually, brands can learn a lot from the types of games and apps users download and use most frequently. The way users download apps should be treated similar to the way consumers search—by understanding the type of apps that interest a brand’s target audience, brands can learn more about the consumers’ engagement and interests via mobile devices.

Brands can benefit from running programmatic ads in mobile app games by using platforms like Gameloft, especially with programmatic inventory being available through ad exchanges like Rubicon and SpotXchange. As programmatic advertising becomes increasingly popular, brands have more and more opportunity to touch on users’ interests and intent.

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