Despite global economic uncertainty, the in-game advertising market is growing at a spectacular rate, with mobile advertisers spending 14 percent more in 2022 than in 2021. Recently, the Interactive Advertising Bureau introduced new guidelines to help companies and marketers measure the impact of in-game advertising. Here, we decode some of the biggest takeaways.
Brands Struggle With In-Game Ad Measurement—And Choosing A Solution
Gamers regularly engage with immersive content that consumes all of their attention. In a recent survey by Deloitte, 65 percent of respondents were “frequent gamers,” spending an average of 12 hours per week playing games across devices like smartphones and tablets, consoles, portable gaming devices and computers. This makes frequent gamers an especially appealing audience for brands seeking to overcome ad and content blindness by investing in new channels.
In-game advertising is also an excellent on-ramp for brands seeking to engage new, untapped audiences. Not only do gamers dedicate their full attention to their screens for hours on end, they’re also a diverse group: 16 percent of gamers in the U.S. identify as LGBTQIA+, 15 percent as Black, 20 percent as Latinx and another 5 percent as Asian. Not surprisingly, gaming is Gen Z’s favorite form of entertainment globally, according to another Deloitte survey from earlier this year, however, 89 percent of Gen Xers and 50 percent of Baby Boomers in the U.S. also play video games. That’s a great opportunity for marketers, as 73 percent of American 18-34-year-olds who game say they would welcome more in-game advertising if it did not interrupt their gaming experience, according to eMarketer.
But measurement can be a challenge.
While platforms like Frameplay have taken multiple paths to measure audience attention—including developing a new metric—solutions can be challenging to evaluate, even for the world’s most ad tech-savvy brands. A lack of standards for evaluating in-game ads means that measurement can be a hit-or-miss process.
A Glimpse At The IAB’s New Guidelines
The IAB’s new guidelines cover in-game advertising impressions across desktop, mobile, standalone and TV-connected consoles, as well as augmented and virtual reality headsets.
However, the guidelines are not meant to cover:
• Interstitial ads: Interactive, full-screen ads that cover the interface of their host app or site. Such ads appear between content, so they are placed at natural transition points or breaks, such as in between activities or game levels.
• Banner (web-based) ads: Typically occupies a designated advertisement location for where an image-based graphic is displayed.
• In-stream or outstream video ads: In-stream refers to video ads typically placed before, during, or at the end of video content. Outstream refers to video ads that exist outside of video content and that typically play within a video player, even if the publisher doesn’t have its own video content.”
The guidelines do offer specific instructions for evaluating ad success, representing a new standard for consumer engagement measurement:
“A valid ad Impression may only be counted when an ad counter receives and responds to a request for a tracking asset from a client. The count must happen after the initiation of retrieval of underlying content and only when ad content has been loaded and at minimum begins to render. Ads that are not confirmed as meeting these requirements (do not load and begin to render) cannot be counted as Impressions.”
They are also highly detailed:
“Video or Dynamic Ad Time Requirement: To qualify for counting as a Viewable Video Ad Impression, it is required that 2 continuous seconds of the video advertisement is played, meeting the same Pixel Requirement necessary for a Viewable Static or Display Ad. This required time is not necessarily the first 2 seconds of the video ad; any unduplicated content of the ad comprising 2 continuous seconds qualifies in this regard.”
According to the IAB, the guidelines “define in-game measurement terms (impressions, reach/frequency, and engagement) to align with broader cross-channel measurement efforts.”