Online gaming industry New rules in Ad game

If it is one thing that can be noticed today travelling in a local train or bus, it is people engaged on their smartphones either watching a movie or playing a game. Whether it is Candy Crush, Subway Surfer, Bubble Shooter, Temple Run or even the reinvention of the old board game Ludo which has made its way back through the mobile, people can be seen hooked on to some game or the other in their spare time.

According to a study by KPMG-Google, the Indian online gaming industry will be a $1 billion opportunity by 2021 from about $290 million in 2016 as it will add 190 million gamers. “Today, the online gaming industry has started to adapt to the market and is increasingly driving revenues through ‘in-app advertisement’ and ‘incentive-based advertisement’,” it said.

Ashish Shah, founder and CEO of digital ad agency Vertoz, says that the most engaging and appealing mobile ads are created first for gaming apps before reaching the larger mobile market, and this represents a huge opportunity for brands.

“As brand advertisers progressively move greater portions of their budgets to mobile, we will see games capture a great deal of that spend—essentially on the grounds that they constitute one of the largest amount of in-app traffic. In numerous ways, game inventory could be the best fit for brands—games represent an incredibly creative environment for brands to access and benefit from, and game users are typically highly-engaged,” he said.

Being such a popular source for eyeballs, advertisers are looking at this as a way to get to their audience. The way brands can do this is through three ways, ie, in-app advertisement (banner ads placed in the game app), in-product or brand placement where brands (products are placed in the game-play), and incentive-based advertisement where virtual objects or game-play requisites or access to the game is by watching an ad.

Usually, the games supported by advertising are offered to consumers for free and a large part of them depend on ads or partly in the freemium model.

Shah said, “The extremely high level of focus, activity, and interaction that consumers have while playing mobile games delivers incredible outcomes in terms of ad engagement when compared to other media. Both of these things make games a fertile ground for programmatic ad buying that empowers brands to not only identify consumers with high intent but also to reach them in real-time. So brand advertisers can’t afford to ignore in app games if they want to connect with engaged users on mobile, and looking ahead we can expect to see the relationship between brands and games continue to grow.”

Herat Maniar, CMO, Sachar Gaming, says, “In-app advertising drives immersive experience. Users who interact with these generally are more likely to try your app based product. Going forward this is a big opportunity and revenue generator.”

Most game developers are still dependent on the advertisers and publishers for monetization.

With a large number people in India still not used to paying for playing online games, in-app game advertising works well as it not only gets the rewards of reaching or engaging with a large audience in India but also helps provide support to the game developer community.

There are companies that that help content creators monetize their games through advertising without disrupting the user experience. Greedy Games is one among them and has advertisers such as Unilever, ITC, Reckitt Benckiser, PepsiCo, Fastrack and Airtel.

Sachin Uppal, CMO, Play Games24x7 - RummyCircle and Ultimate Games, feels that a combination of freemium model, in-app advertising and brand partnerships can make games successful for the developers. He, however, cautions the use of in-app advertising for games.

“In-app advertising unless done intelligently interrupts that relationship. Choosing the right technology partners and the quality of ads and the categories is also a very important part of the relationship building,” he says.

“Unless this delicate balance is maintained, in-app advertising will continue to be looked upon as an interrupter, however, if done by understanding it players through the lens of player’s interests and valuable rewards, can help in building profitable revenue streams,” he said.


  • Games being a popular source for eyeballs, advertisers are looking at this as a way to get to their audience

     The games supported by advertising are offered to consumers for free, largely on freemium model