Although video games may seem to be disconnected from reality, in-game advertising (IGA) often isn’t a far cry from the ads we see in our everyday lives. Billboards, posters, and logos displayed on boards at sporting events are the most popular types of ads we see outdoors, but the rise of in-game advertising is bringing these forms of advertising to popular video games.
In this blog post, we explore seven examples of in-game advertising and learn about their benefits.
Table Of Contents
What Is In-Game Advertising?
Banners, video ads, audio ads, mini-games that present a certain brand in a computer, mobile or console game are types of in-game advertising (IGA). The most popular types of IGA are statics ads, dynamic ads and gamevertising.
What Are The Benefits of In-Game Advertising?
The in-game advertising market is growing at a breakneck pace. At the end of 2024 the industry is expected to be worth $56 billion USD. A wide spectrum of benefits follows this number. As we think about business advantages in-game advertising provides, the most important ones are bonded with revenue, engagement, and communication with the proper audience.
Let’s look at some case studies.
A well-thought strategy, high-quality standards and negotiating direct contracts via an ad agency helped ABCya to increase their year-over-year ad revenue by 89%. The company creates educational games for school-aged children, with their priority being to maintain safe content. With in-game advertising, they managed to keep the platform free to use and drive additional profit.
Playable and static ads displayed on the screen while playing games on ABCya’s platform
More Engaged Players
Rockstar Energy Drink partnered with Codemasters Racing on the game Dirt 2. They created a 5-week-long event with weekly prizes, known as the Rockstar Energy Drink Race Challenge. Players could drive an Aston Martin Vanquish with Rockstar livery and win gift cards, headsets, bags, t-shirts etc. The game was available on the main consoles and platforms, including Xbox, Steam and PlayStation.
The results? Gamers took part in challenges, engaged with branded content, and asked other gamers for tips on how to complete the challenges.
Rockstar Energy Drink Race Challenge in Dirt 2 (2013)
RedBull, Rockstars’s biggest competitor, went even further with in-game advertising and created the Solo Q project (2021). As the official supplier of League of Legends Championship Series, RedBull gave gamers the opportunity to win branded PC setups and in-game prizes by competing against other LoL fans. Solo Q attracted over 40,000 competitors.
Two minions missed make all the difference!@Viggomopsenlol spots the all-in opportunity to win Red Bull Solo Q 2021!
From 40,000 competitors, to just one man standing 👑
— Red Bull Gaming (@redbullgaming) December 5, 2021
Wiz Khalifa, an American rapper, promoted his 2050 Tour via dynamic ads in several game titles across Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles. Based on geo-targeting, the promotion appeared in selected US cities, giving gamers the opportunity to buy tickets earlier.
Wiz Khalifa 2050 Tour (2012) promotion visible in a boxing game. Source: RapidFire.com
Popular In-Game Advertising Formats
Advertisers eagerly reach for formats that bring great value to their target audience and drive engagement, as in the case of RedBull’s Solo Q. When playing video games, you’ll most likely spot the following ad formats:
- Rewarded video ads: A player can get in-game bonuses in exchange for watching a full-screen, usually unskippable video ad.
- Interstitial ads: When completing a level or in-game activity, a full-screen and clickable ad with a call-to-action button pops up.
- Display banners: This type of banner shows static or dynamic ads at the top or the bottom of the game’s screen.
- Playable ads: A playable demo of a game may appear while playing another game.
- Offerwall: It is a virtual wall with various opportunities, from installing apps and filling out surveys to in-game challenges.
- Coupon ads: A player can get a unique voucher or discounts to buy stuff offline.
7 Examples of In-Game Ads
Advertising messages have taken various forms over the years. Below, we present some interesting proposals from the world of digital marketing.
Barack Obama’s election campaign in 2008 moved to the virtual world. Obama fought for the presidency in computer games such as Guitar Hero III, Madden NFL 09, NBA Live 08, Burnout Paradise, Nascar 09 and Need For Speed Carbon, reminding players to vote for him. In 2012, the president repeated the campaign, showing his image in NFL Madden 13.
Nike and Puma are brands associated with professional and amateur sports, so it’s no wonder that Virtual Concepts, authors of NBA 2K22, placed their logos in the game. The contextual relevance not only helps complete the gaming experience, but also drives brand awareness and creates a positive image of these brands.
In 2017, Ben Rueck and Delaney Miller, two climbers sponsored by Adidas, took VR players on an amazing journey to the top of Bavella mountain range in Corsica. The player’s task was to play the role of Delaney, who slipped and fell just before the summit. Climbing from a first-person POV was a real experience.
In 2016, Disney partnered with RapidFire to promote a remake of the movie Pete’s Dragon. RapidFire utilized dynamic in-game ads and geo targeting to promote the movie to Portuguese users in the lead up to the film’s release.
On December 1, 2021, Fortnite announced the continuation of its cooperation with the Jordan brand. Players can compete for the Air Jordan XI Cool Gray, the iconic sneaker model, and discover rooms dedicated to the best players. The MVP gets access to a virtual museum, a basketball court to test your abilities and an immersive video that advertises Jordan brand.
PAIN is an American game inspired by the Jackass series. The game’s creators decided to cooperate with AXE, a brand of men’s deodorants, and make a contest for players. They created the character Smooth Jarvis, the brand’s representative. The player shoots Jarvis at obstacles and gets points for aerial acrobatics while using AXE deodorant at the same time. Over 200 recordings of the games took part in the competition.
In 2009, Tony Hawk: Ride was released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii. The game, which was supposed to be a breakthrough, turned out to be a flop. While discovering boards and performing tricks, the players saw ads of Stride, a chewing gum brand, displayed on billboards and other areas inside the game and could unlock branded achievements.
With in-game advertising (IGA), advertisers can reach a specific audience of players. Dynamic in-game ads, static ads, and gamevertising are the three types of IGA advertisers can utilize to display their products inside popular video games.
Successful advertising campaigns can increase an advertiser’s revenue, encourage players to interact with their brand, and reach the audiences that will positively respond to the promotions.