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With Rise of Social, There's a Game for Any Marketer

Wider demographics make new partnerships possible

The rapid ascent of free-to-play games across social venues and mobile platforms has reshaped the landscape for in-game advertising. Marketers considering attaching brands to gaming content have a richer array of choices today than ever before.

“The demographics of the gaming audience have become increasingly complex—yet they are very attractive to marketers that understand the dynamics,” said Paul Verna, senior analyst at eMarketer and author of the new report, “Gaming for Marketers: Opportunities in Play.” “Some games appeal to narrow and easily defined groups, while others have broader, less predictable audiences. The gender mix can vary widely from one venue to another.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers and Wilkofsky Gruen Associates estimate US video game revenues will reach nearly $1 billion this year and continue rising through 2015. The study concluded that display ads, advergames and advertising on web-based game portals are the leading game-related ad segments in the US. The study further noted that dynamic in-game ads will eventually overtake static ads.

Social gaming ad revenues alone, eMarketer estimates, will reach $205.4 million this year in the US and $293.4 million worldwide. This includes display, video, search and other forms of paid advertising that support games played directly on social networking sites such as Facebook. By 2013, the worldwide social game ad market will reach $641 million.

Advertising still makes up only a small portion of total social gaming revenues, however—this year, just 14.4%. The rest of social gaming dollars come from lead generation offers and virtual goods spending, which will continue to make up the bulk of revenues through 2013.

“Compared with other forms of online and mobile advertising, gaming offers marketers opportunities to make deep connections with prospective customers,” said Verna. “The best way to realize this potential is to emphasize brand relevance, and that means finding a good thematic and demographic fit.”


The full report, “Gaming for Marketers: Opportunities in Play” also answers these key questions:

  • How are brands using video games to reach their target audiences?
  • What types of games best lend themselves to brand marketing?
  • How do the demographics and psychographics of gaming audiences play into marketing opportunities?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.


Check out today’s other article, “Social Media Comes up Short for Agency Prospecting.”

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