Mobile augmented reality (AR) gaming is taking the world by storm. Since its launch in 2016, leading AR gaming app Pokémon Go has amassed an incredible 1 billion downloads, with gamers of all ages taking to the streets in search of Pikachus, Jigglypuffs and other characters from the popular animated show – who have just ‘gotta catch ‘em all’. Following this success, a flurry of new mobile AR games has hit our App stores.

It’s not just AR mobile gaming – the whole mobile gaming industry is growing. The onset of 5G will make this even more efficient, with faster data and download speeds, making mobile gaming more appealing to the growing billions of mobile users. 

In-app advertising 

There are huge opportunities for advertisers and performance marketers to get a slice of the action, and the most effective way for them to leverage this opportunity is through advertising in-app. This is fast becoming a popular choice for advertisers, and the in-app advertising marketing is estimated to hit $201 billion in 2021. However, there are various ways performance marketers can engage with players through this form of advertising. 

Playable ads anyone?

One way to target creatively is through playable ads. Don’t be fazed by the word ‘playable’ – this doesn’t mean they have to be ads for games. These interactive ads simply allow the user to trial the advertised app and explore its interface before making the decision to download it. Hotel Tonight, for example, has used playable ads to interactively engage with potential customers by showing them how to discover hotel deals through its app. This can work well, and playable ads are also an excellent way to combat ad fraud as they require a number of interactions and clicks, which can be difficult for bots to bypass. Make sure these ads are engaging and highlight your app’s best features; though this must also strike the right balance between displaying the benefits but leaving the user wanting more.

Rewarded video ads

As well as this, there are huge benefits in mobile video ads, especially if your brand is looking to target the younger demographic, such as Millennials and Gen Z. A study commissioned by Snapchat found that nearly two-thirds of this demographic watch short-form content weekly on mobile; whilst 40% watch it daily. 

One way to make this work for mobile gaming is through introducing these as rewarded video ads – allowing players to choose to play the advert in order to earn ‘coins’ or ‘energy’ within a game. Rewards give the player incentive to keep on playing, and also helps to create a positive brand association. You can further boost the quality of these ads by ensuring that the length is suitable for your target audience. For example, 54% of Gen Z consumers prefer six-second video ads so it is best to keep these short if you’re looking to target this demographic. Moreover, ensure the type of content you’re serving is right for the audience by personalising the ad and taking into account the individual interests of users. This will increase the chances of keeping gamers engaged. 

Gamified advertising 

Performance marketers can also utilise the buzz around mobile gaming by taking inspiration from the games themselves. Gamified advertising is a great way for consumers to engage with a brand and create a fun and playful experience. Mazda saw success through gamified advertising. The car brand’s Mazda2 Lightrider game allowed consumers to explore and interact with the car’s different features, beginning with a car ride, and then including an educational element, which ensured consumers gained a full understanding of the Mazda2 product. This was incredibly successful, with user replays reaching 78%.

These interactive branded gaming apps take mobile advertising to the next level, as consumers are no longer simply watching an ad, or playing within another app but are now interacting directly with the brand in its own game, creating a deeper and more direct connection between the brand and the consumer. 

There are a plethora of options for performance marketers who are looking to tap into the rising trend and engagement rates in mobile gaming. However, this depends on the type of audience and demographic the brand is targeting. Playable ads are a great way to reach the consumer and let them try the product before buying, but if you’re looking to reach younger audiences, short and rewardable video ads might be the preferred choice.

Gamified advertising takes the relationship between brand and consumer to the next level through its more direct and interactive approach. In our digital age, it’s not enough to simply place ads on platforms; brands must engage their audiences through immersive and interactive experiences – mobile gaming is, therefore, the perfect way for performance marketers to do this effectively.