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Mobile Game Ads: Opportunities for Big Brands

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There has been a long standing tendency for  brands to consistently ignore mobile game ads. The most common objection is that “in app gaming does not align with our brand.”

There are a few things that are being overlooked with this statement. 

Why use mobile game advertising? 

There are two key reasons advertisers should use gaming in their mobile advertising strategy: 

  1. Users spend a large amount of time gaming.
  2. Greater customer attention while gaming.

Let’s look at both reasons in more depth. 

Users spend a large amount of time mobile gamingSmart watch moving quickly

On average games account for 43% of time spent on mobile. In addition, 62% of smartphone owners install a game within seven days of activation. 

According to eMarketer, time spent on mobile is just over 3.5 hours per day in the US. That means, on average, people are spending 1.5 hours per day mobile gaming. 

Smartphone penetration is at an all-time high. Due to this gaming is easily accessible to all demographics. Previously gaming was seen as something completed on a computer or gaming console. There was a high learning curve for adoption which was usually completed by younger age groups.

Fast-forward to today and mobile gaming demographics are staggering. According to ironSource the age breakdown for mobile gaming is as follows: 

  • 13-17: 8%
  • 18-24: 14%
  • 25-34: 21%
  • 34-44: 19%
  • 45-54: 15%
  • 55+: 23%

Based on this data, regardless of the demographic you are targeting, mobile game advertising should be a part of your strategy. 

Greater customer attention while mobile gaming

When a mobile phone user is checking the weather, or social media, they are in an inattentive state of mind. Essentially, they are completing an action quickly, potentially juggling tasks, and aren’t as involved in what they are doing.

Mobile app gaming is a much more focused activity. User attention is directed on the game they are playing. Because of this the opportunity to engage is much greater. At the end of the day, advertisers are competing for the attention, not just impressions. 

As we are sure most people will agree, it’s better to have attention when an ad impression is served. 

Best Practices for Mobile Game Advertising

  1. Friendly ad formats for mobile gaming
  2. Targeted Audience
  3. Smart frequency capping

Friendly ad formats for mobile gaming

Banners aren’t always going to work. We go in depth about this in our mobile growth guide, you can access those insights here

If you’re engaging with a customer in game, then it’s best to provide a gamified experience. Even if you’re not a gaming company you can create a unique experience. These types of ads creative positive customer interactions and increase the likelihood that they will take your desired action now or in the future. 

Gaming publishers even offer brands the opportunity to sponsor entire game segments. In turn, the experience becomes entirely native which creates a positive ad experience for the customer.

Targeted AudiencesDart in dartboard. Bullseye.

As we discussed above, mobile gaming demographics are wide spread which makes these types of mobile ads attractive. That being said, advertisers need to ensure that they are reaching the correct audience in each game. For example, if your target audience is 55+ then you want to only serve impressions to that demographic. 

To achieve this advertisers can rely on their demand side platform (DSP) or the expertise of a mobile app marketing agency. 

Smart Frequency Capping

The final piece to ensure effective use of mobile ads in games is to optimize frequency capping. Regardless of the ad format that you decide to use showing your ad too much, or too little, can be bad for performance. The exact cap will differ by brand and objective. We recommend a daily cap of 2-3 impressions per user, but this varies by advertiser. 


Mobile game ads will play a larger role in the near future. Once brands understand the potential value they are missing from exclude games they will adopt better formats and increase engagement.