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Why Mobile Games Are the Perfect Platform for Brands

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Mobile gamers come from all ages, genders, and walks of life. Yet many brands still don’t market in mobile games. Why? Mobile is still the youngest major platform, and measuring return on brand advertising is still a work in progress.

But mobile game publishers have figured out brand advertising — the largest publishers blanket other games with ads, successfully building attention for their own brands. They can do this because, compared to desktop users, mobile users remember mobile ads better and are more likely to make a purchase afterwards. Compared to TV, which struggles with cord-cutting, mobile’s unique advantage is that users literally won’t let go of their device.

Games are also the only type of mobile app in which users seek out — and even demand — ads. The leading formats are well-established and extensively measured. Here are three more reasons why mobile games are a growing destination for branded ads.

All eyes are on you

In-app video ads have high view completion rates at 80% or more, and users report even better recall for in-app ads than ads shown through mobile web.

Since each acquired user is expensive and prone to leave a new game for nearly any reason, game developers have worked hard to make every part of the experience sticky, including ads. This philosophy of strongly incorporating ads into the game experience has helped games avoid the problems of mobile web, where ads often obscure content or aren’t seen at all.

Rewarded video, and really cool native

Game developers also created rewarded video, a standard video format with a twist. When users complete a view, they’re rewarded with an in-game bonus, creating a positive association with the experience. Rewarded ads have gotten great reception from users; 62% of mobile gamers will choose to watch an ad in exchange for free items.

Rewarded ads are so popular, Rappid Games’ Antoni Taglartzis believes that games could be supported from ads alone, and other developers report that users actually complain when ad viewing opportunities are reduced or removed.

In the near future, other mobile formats will also become important to brands. Native ads on mobile can raise purchase intent by up to 18%, while playable ads allow the advertiser to create interactive experiences that lead users into gameplay actions, like getting a tub sparkling clean with a virtual sponge.

Visibility into results

In-app ads give advertisers control over ad placement, the number of impressions, and ad frequency. However, this is one area in which mobile can still improve. Mobile attribution is still deciding on the best persistent ID to track and how to carry it across networks.

Current solutions are already functional and, in most cases, superior to mobile web cookies. Persistent IDs work well because they’re on a one-to-one basis per device and can accurately track a larger, more granular swathe of data, such as the number of times an ad has been shown to a particular user, where that user is, and what the user did post-install.

Mobile gamers are ready to spend

Past research has shown that only a small percentage of mobile gamers spend in-app. Yet the economics of mobile are deceptive; over half of the entire gaming industry’s revenue now comes from mobile, and this number is still growing rapidly as mobile games become entrenched in the daily habits of people worldwide. Today, mobile gamers already support a $70 billion entertainment industry.

The next great battle for eyeballs is now taking place in mobile games, fought out among users who spend their waking hours glued to favorite apps and games. With forward looking companies already running campaigns, mobile games offer an expanding frontier for brands.