Who has picked up gaming as a hobby in the past year? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. There has been a huge surge in mobile gaming popularity during the past year as we settled into our houses for COVID-19 lockdowns. Installs for mobile gaming apps rose 45 percent in 2020, beating out 2019 growth of 32 percent. In addition to mobile app installs, we have also seen more in-app activity including in-app purchases increasing by 25 percent just from February to May 2020. We are also seeing popular gaming brands expand into mobile like Electronic Arts (EA). EA, known for creating sports games like Madden NFL for gaming consoles, is expanding into mobile games with their acquisition of Glu Mobile, which is known for creating mobile games like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. This move by EA shows just how big the mobile gaming space has become and that it’s continuing to grow. And this shift doesn’t just impact gaming companies, but also marketing.
With the mobile gaming space expanding, it creates an opportunity for marketers to shift their advertising dollars to these new channels. It is estimated that there are now about 2.5 million active gamers globally, a lot of them being newcomers that took up the hobby last March. This group of gamers is also younger than they have traditionally been in the past and has a pretty even gender distribution. Plus, this market has barely been tapped into by most marketers.
When it comes to advertising on mobile games, there are a few ways marketers can go about it. One option is in-app advertising. These are ads that pop up on the screen while a user is playing a game. While these ads will get a lot of views, mobile marketers need to be careful because they can easily annoy gamers. So to make these ads most effective, it is best for marketers to follow the standards set by gaming console advertisements. Telling a story through your ad, and having it relate to the game you are advertising on are two other ways to increase the effectiveness of your ad.
Mobile Game Streaming
Advertising on mobile game streaming is another option. These are channels where users can go and watch other gamers play, without actually having to play or own the game themselves. Obviously, YouTube is a popular spot, but another platform that has seen huge growth recently is Amazon’s Twitch. Twitch is the market leader when it comes to game streaming with 4.7 billion hours watched just between the months of July and September. Splitting advertising efforts between in-app ads and streaming platforms is a great way to get gamers to see your ads, while not becoming overly intrusive for users.
Brands Already Tapping Into Gaming
When it comes to brands having success with mobile game advertising, of course, other mobile games will see the highest engagement. But they’re not the only ones who can be successful with mobile game advertising. Kroger, for example, recently ran their first mobile game display ads and saw high engagement and conversion rates. Kroger decided to run a mobile gaming ad after an analysis showed that their target audience had a huge presence on mobile gaming platforms.
Running an ad directly on a mobile gaming channel isn’t the only way to break into the gaming market. Some brands are appealing to mobile gaming in their normal marketing efforts. One example is KFC, which launched the KFConsole which is a real gaming device that also has a “chicken chamber” to keep food warm. Bud Light also followed suit by releasing the “BL6” gaming console.
While mobile gaming advertising is still very new, that doesn’t mean marketers should wait on taking advantage of these platforms. Whether you are advertising directly on mobile gaming platforms, on live streams, or incorporating the trend into other marketing efforts, it is a great way to tap into a relatively new and untouched market.