Ad revenue in games grew 28% last year

Global gaming advertising revenue grew by more than a quarter in 2021, although the importance varies by market, according to data from more than 750,000 mobile games from game engine company Unity.

Global gaming ad revenue grew 27.6% in 2021, driven by the Americas. The region’s spending on mobile games has more than tripled since 2019.

Unity is also seeing more gamers watch ads – the share of daily users watching in-game ads increased from 21.6% in 2020 to 25.9% in 2021.

However, in-game purchases grew faster as a source of revenue in 2021, increasing by almost a third (31.9%) over the past year.

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The importance of in-game advertising and purchase revenue also shows significant variation by market.

In China and Japan, advertising accounts for more than half of gaming revenue.

By comparison, the Americas is split roughly 50/50, while only a third of mobile gaming revenue comes from advertising in EMEA and South Korea.

Additional analysis shows that ad-supported games are the most popular and attract the most engaged players.

In-game advertising has proven attractive to marketers as it allows them to reach different audiences. This comes as recent research has revealed that video game audiences are larger and more diverse than previously thought. Unilever is an example of using gaming to engage consumers.

Joining in-game ads with other channels could be an interesting approach – for example, gamers are more likely to trust recommendations from influencers. However, many marketers say they lack expertise, there isn’t enough industry information, and video game campaigns can hurt the brand.

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