In-Game Mobile Ad Engagement More than 3x Other Mobile Apps


High Click-Through is a Strong Signal of Success of Rewarded Ads Reports Smaato


Smaato, a real-time advertising platform for mobile publishers and app developers, today announced research revealing that January 1 through May 31, 2018, ingame click-through rates were 3.4 above the average, a strong signal that the rewarded video advertising prevalent in games garners high engagement from consumers.

In the past, high click-through rates would cause concern among brands, but with ingame mobile advertising, this metric is a very clear indicator that consumers are willingly participating with advertising even if it interrupts gameplay, which is a very positive sign for brands,” said Gareth Noonan, General Manager Americas at Smaato.

In a new white paper, Smaato also reports that advertisers of ingame advertising are now evenly spread across brand verticals, showing that acceptance of novel ad types like rewarded video is becoming mainstream.

Winning Ad Formats

Gaming app developers prioritize user experience over maximizing revenue. When it comes to innovative ad formats and placements, mobile games are at the forefront of the app industry. Since many games also monetize via in-app purchases, gaming app developers are highly strategic about where and when to integrate in-app ads. This protects the in-app user experience and encourages the positive reception of in-app ads.

Mobile games offer a wide variety of display and video ad placements, including native, interstitial, banners, rewarded, and more. Some of the most popular and engaging ad formats for advertising in gaming apps include:

Rewarded video ads are the most popular ad formats among mobile publishers worldwide, with 58% of free-to-play mobile games using rewarded video ads. This opt-in ad format rewards consumers for viewing the ad. Popular in-game rewards can include in-game currency, items, and limited time boosts. Since these ads are opt-in and reward consumers, they are preferred 4:1 by mobile gamers compared to mandatory ad formats.

rewarded video ads

Interstitial ads, both video, and display are highly-visual and make for effective in-game ads. Interstitials are typically placed during natural breaks in the in-game content, which allows them to take advantage of an already captive audience as they, for example, wait for a new level to begin.

Interactive ads, such as playable video ads enabled by VPAID, are highly-engaging ads that perform very well in mobile games. While these interactive ads are especially popular among gaming advertisers, it is also an effective format for brand advertisers, and brands can leverage interactive elements to increase ad engagement and brand recall.

Banner ads are the original mobile ad format, and today, they remain a popular and non-intrusive format that can be easily implemented in almost any gaming app. Since these ads run alongside the main screen in most casual games, they can reach all of the game’s users. Their low cost also makes them a low-risk option for those looking to test the waters of advertising in mobile games.

  • 21% of ingame advertisers are retail brands
  • 17% of ingame advertisers are automotive brands
  • 16% of ingame advertisers are non-gaming publishers and media brands
  • 10% of ingame advertisers are for other games

“Mobile gaming offers some of the most high-growth, high-engagement inventory for brands with the added ability to deliver interactivity and innovative creative,” said Noonan. “We believe that more brands will start to view in-app game inventory as premium as any long-form video with similar levels of engagement”.

eMarketer reports that there are over two billion mobile gamers worldwide, which means that people of all demographics can be found in gaming apps. Moreover, the average smartphone user spends 55 minutes per day playing mobile games. This gap between consumer engagement and ad spending represents a huge opportunity for brands to get noticed, and advertisers can no longer underestimate the power and importance of this engrossing medium.

Click here to download the full paper about in-game mobile advertising.


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