The power of advertizing on mobile games in 2021



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As a mobile advertizer, it’s important to understand who is playing games today; the answer? Basically, everyone. Your mum, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle... probably your grandparents as well. Understanding the consequences of this can help you increase engagements, and of course, in-app monetization.

A third of the world’s population (2.5 billion) regularly play mobile games. During the first six months of 2020, usage soared by 75%. And while the pandemic has certainly helped shine a light on the opportunities of mobile games for advertizers, the category has been on the upswing for several years, with mobile gaming audiences forecast to hit 4 billion by the end of 2023.

But mobile gaming demographics show that this gaming universe is hardly what you might expect.

In fact, 60% of females play daily. And 36% of those who play spend money on mobile games. Yep, men are in the minority here, representing just 37% of mobile gamers. Mobile gamers are not strictly young folk either, 55% of mobile gamers are around 55 years old, while 21% are between 25 and 34 years old, and just 8% of mobile gamers are teenagers.

This was probably not what you had in mind when picturing a ‘gamer’. But it’s not in their minds either, apparently, with 85% of mobile gamers reporting that they do not identify as gamers... a surprising claim to make, considering that 30% of them play games on a daily basis.

It’s not exactly slowing down either…

As of 2020, mobile games accounted for 51% of global revenue in the gaming industry, and this is set to grow to 59% in 2021.

A maturing industry

Apps still represent a relatively new industry, but one which is maturing at lightning speed. As the industry has developed, the digital integration of ads has become much smoother, with the implementation of creative ad techniques that captivate, rather than disrupt the gameplay, leading to a highly engaged audience.

A study done by Facebook for Business found that 57% of gamers who haven’t paid to avoid ads are fine with seeing advertising to keep the game free. It is also reported that gamers who engage with rewarded ads are around six times more likely to make an IAP, which is excellent for publishers. The huge potential for in-app advertising has not been lost on marketers either. A report by Statista predicts a global mobile ad spend of $188 billion this year (2020), increasing to $250 billion by 2021.

A new age of advertizing?

The development of new advertizing techniques such as rewarded ads indicates a potential new age of advertizing where the relationship between the game developer and advertizer must be collaborative.

To make the most successful adverts on mobile, you need to offer value to the end-user, whether that’s with new improved gameplay or fresh content. On the other hand, you also need to give the developer something too, which is where brands have something unique to offer. An in-game usable item from your brand? A targeted ad from your brand that is customized to the game? When both the advertizer and developer work together to make content, it can bring the most effective and engaging ads.


When people are playing games on their mobile devices, they are in an almost zombie-like state staring at their phones. This is the perfect opportunity to slip in highly targeted ads to a highly engaged and immersed audience.

Non-interruptive ads

Loading screens and waiting in lobbies are an ideal opportunity to display your ad to the user in a non-disruptive nature, a technique that is likely to create a higher engagement with your ad.

Get creative with mobile ads

Some of the most effective mobile ads are when the brand crafts their ad to become a feature within the game itself, rather than an ad on top of the game…

Playable game ads are interactive ads that encourage your audience to preview or play your game instead of a traditional CTA.

Dynamic vs. Static Game Ads:

When it comes to mobile game ads, there are two overarching categories: dynamic and static ad types. While static game ads are much closer to traditional forms of advertising, dynamic ads take you to the next level.

Dynamic game ads are:

  • Updated in real-time programmatically using demographic or behavioural targeting

  • Interactive (they can have interactive CTAs or game-like mechanics)

  • Can be displayed within the game environment (buildings, billboards, cosmetics, logos, etc.)

The increased improvements in programmatic app advertising that give advertisers more control over targeting and delivery have helped dynamic gaming ads become more popular in recent years.

In short, ads are no longer about simply pushing your brand name anywhere. You can (and should) be far more bespoke and brand-appropriate to get your message across.