Mobile gaming is the number two online activity these days, behind our favorite, watching video online. There are over 700 million online gamers globally and a reported 46% of them are women. So where better to start targeting specific demographics, including those elusive Millennials, than mobile games. According to Spil games, citing comScore, 50% of the US online population plays games. Additionally, women over 35 are a big gaming demographic. In fact, all female demographics ranked in the 40-50 percentiles while men were slightly higher, except in the 45+ demographic where they lagged behind with just 37% saying they play games online.

Mobile Games Poised to be Next Big Thing for Video Advertising? games demographics

In the US alone, the mobile gaming audience is expected to ping 160-162 million by 2015. Right now, half of US mobile users, play games according to eMarketer. That's some pretty good reach right there.

To put the cherry on top, 59% of them earn more than seventy-five thousand dollars per year! Even more enticing, 42% of them make $250,000 and 34% make $500,000 says MediaBrix. Sounds like a lot of politicians are playing Candy Crush Saga to me. I suppose, those higher income types probably have more spare time to kill.

Time to Kill

Speaking of that, Spil reports that average gaming sessions are in the 30-40 minute range and in some markets, maxes out at 50 minutes average. That's a whole lot of time in which they could be targeted with video advertising. Heck, it's double what YouTube reports for average visits (15ish minutes), and 8-10 times longer than many websites.

Not only that, but they do it everywhere even while watching TV, commuting and, of course, using the toilet.

Mobile Games Poised to be Next Big Thing for Video Advertising? games demographics where1


Ready to Receive You

Add to that the fact that gamers are open to advertising if they get something in return, like free gaming content, and it seems you have found not only a somewhat captive audience, but also a receptive one. A demographic that was once thought mythical, a group that welcomes advertising, is sitting around playing games online for half an hour a day.

In fact, it's almost TV-like in its format. I want to play a game for thirty minutes (or watch a TV show). I want to do it free. If I watch these two minutes of ads I can play for fifteen minutes? Well, OK! Granted, the video advertisements have to be placed in strategic locations. You can't just interrupt the game any old place and throw in an ad.

I, personally, play a lot of games on my iPad. They are mostly ad-supported. The ones that do it best are Zynga and Words with Friends. There are some display ads on the edge of the game board. But the video ads are strategically placed, in between moves. So a friend made a move, I open the game, check out the game board, make my play and then the game shows me a video ad. After the ad (which can be usually skipped after 5 seconds) I get sent back to the game board to see the score and then check my other ongoing games. Lo and behold, I've got another move to make with another friend, so I do that and the process begins again, with yet another video ad. Am I perturbed by these ads? Nope. Why? Because they don't break up the game play, they are in that gray zone where the perception is that the game has to communicate with the servers to update them as to your move. Granted, that's almost instantaneous and the video ad is really just using bandwidth and time. But I don't have to pay for the game, nor do I have to pay to play. I can play as many games as I like at a time as long as I see that video ad after every move. And I'm OK with that.

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Spil the Beans on the Results

Spil Games offered some insight into how the video ads are performing on their platform, because ultimately, they are trying to get more advertisers on board. They say that click-through rate (CTR) is, minimum, 1.5% globally. That's around ten times higher CTR than display ads. Since performance-based advertising is the big thing these days, if you're paying say ten cents per impression with a display ad somewhere and getting 0.15% CTR then, theoretically, you'd be inclined to pay one dollar per impression when the CTR is ten times higher. Spil agrees and states that they have seen a 500% increase in video ad revenues over 12 months. Their US video ad CPM rate went up 42% as well.

Who's spending all that cash with them?

Of that, 70% of video ad spend is coming from consumer packaged goods, with smart brands such as Kellogg’s and General Mills leading the field. Big names from the entertainment industries, such as Nintendo, Disney, and Universal, are also blazing a trail in digital video advertising.

So it seems like some of the big guns already know all of this, and now... you do too. So get out there and find some gamers to target with those video ads. Need help deciding which games to target? I'm sure the game publishers will be happy to flood you with information and there are probably several DSPs that are catering to the mobile game segment along with places like Tapjoy, and MediaSpike, to name a few. Finally, here is a set of In-game advertising measurement guidelines from our friends at the IAB. Granted, this is mostly PC and console but will get you started on some lingo, etc.

Game on!

  • Christophor Rick

    This highlights the problem with this type of research in general. Actually the MediaBrix report says, "Mobile gamers are also affluent. Shullman Research Center reports that 59% of social gamers earn $75,000+ each year, making them an attractive audience for brands to reach." But that 59% is actually of the 47% of the total as that is the percentage that have games installed, presumably. The $250K category is the 47% * 42% or, 19.74% of the whole making it around 11.8 million...still pretty high any way you look at it. However, "social gamers" are most likely a subset of "mobile gamers" and so if they are 10%, it's 1.18 million, if it's 20% it's then 2.36 million, 30% 3.54 million, 50% would then mean pretty much everyone that makes $250K a year, plays a social game heh.
    Here's the page from the MediaBrix report attached.

  • Joe

    I think something is wrong with someone's math somewhere? According to eMarketer, there are currently about 60 million mobile gamers. You are suggesting that 54% of that 60 million (or about 30 million people) have an income of $250,000 a year...but only 2% of the US population (about 6 million people) even make that much money total.

    If you look at the MediaBrix report, it suggests that 54% of "social gamers" make $250,000 a year. I don't what their definition of a social gamer is, but it can't possibly be the same as a mobile gamer. Regardless of their definition, I have my doubts, unless of course there are only 12 million social gamers in our country ;-)