Video Games: The Next Frontier in Advertising?

Photo credit: on

When Amazon purchased Twitch in 2014, they sent a signal that they believed that there’s money to be made in the video game industry.

Recently, other tech giants have started to follow suit.

According to a blog post on the Mobile Marketer website that was published in December of 2019, Facebook, Google, Snap, and Apple also had plans to expand or introduce their video game strategies.

This alone should have at least piqued the interest of brands looking for innovative ways to reach new and existing customers. And, this was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just a few months later many consumers were forced to look for ways to entertain themselves during the shut-down that resulted from the pandemic.

It is therefore not surprising that NPD found dramatic increases in consumer spending in video games and the equipment needed to play them.

“April 2020 tracked spending across video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards totaled $1.5 billion, 73% higher when compared to a year ago,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella is quoted as saying in a recent article on the VentureBeat website. “This is a new record high in reported spend for an April month, eclipsing the $1.2 billion generated in April 2008.”

This trend has marketing experts talking.

If your brand is looking for ways to reach new and existing customers, you might want to look into in-game advertising.

Getting to Know the Average Gamer

Last year, the Entertainment Software Association released the “2019 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry” report.

This report gives us a look at who is currently playing video games.

In the report, Stan Pierre-Louise, Chief Executive Officer at the Entertainment Software Association, writes, “Over 164 million adults in the United States play video games, and three-quarters of all Americans have at least one gamer in their household.”

“Video gamers represent a diverse cross-section of the American population spanning every age, gender, and ethnicity,” Pierre-Louis continues. “They live healthy lives, are civically engaged, and socially active. More than three-quarters report that video games provide them mental stimulation (79%) as well as relaxation and stress relief (78%). The role of video games in the American family is also changing: nearly three-quarters (74%) of parents believe video games can be educational for their children, and more than half (57%) enjoy playing games with their child at least weekly.”

Some additional findings that are of interest include the fact that the average gamer is 33 years old, 52% are college educated, and 46% of gamers are female.

The report lists some of the other activities that the average gamer is involved in. It also highlights some of the key findings by different demographic groups, which can be useful in determining if in-game advertising would be right for your brand.

Is In-Game Advertising Right for Your Brand?

Before the pandemic, marketing experts were already recommending in-game advertising to brands.

However, given the fact that COVID-19 has eliminated a lot of other social activities, video games have become a bigger part of the lives of many consumers. This is evident by the recent increases in sales of video games and equipment. This makes in-game advertising even more enticing.

While in-game advertising isn’t new, finding the most effective way to use it to reach your target audience can be difficult.

Furthermore, in-game advertising won’t be right for every brand.

However, for the right brand it can be effective if it is done correctly.

Chad Thiele

Chad Thiele

I am a marketing analyst and strategist. I earned my master's degree from West Virginia University in Integrated Marketing Communications in 2023. I also hold a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison in Sociology with a Concentration in Analysis and Research, and I completed the Mobile Marketing Professional Certificate Program from Auburn University in 2015.