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The Opportunities of Advertising in Games


The Opportunities of Advertising in Games

WARC, the global marketing intelligence service, released its latest report that focuses on advertising in gaming, exploring the opportunities within mobile gaming, working with streamers as influencers, and the potential of partnerships around e-sports. Here are the key takeaways –


  • Mobile gamers are casual players and skew older than average; ‘gamer mums’ are influential in purchasing decisions and brand recommendation.
  • Mobile gamers understand the value exchange of advertising. Most are fine with viewing advertising if it keeps the game free-to-play. Ads in mobile games have no discernible impact on churn, and are far more effective than banner advertising when inserted programmatically.
  • 2.9 billion people play games on their smartphone, equivalent to seven in ten (71%) internet users. In total, 3.4 billion people play games on any device, a rise of 662m since 2015.
  • A full 29% of internet users (and 35% of gamers – 1.2bn) are mobile-only, rising to one in three in Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa.
  • Israel (46%), Singapore (44%), and Thailand (42%) record the highest domestic rates.
  • This cohort skews older than the average gamer, and is comprised mostly of females (55% vs. 46% for all gamers).


  • Twitch alone draws 1.9m – predominantly Gen Z – viewers per day, mostly after 7 pm.
  • Two-thirds of 18–25-year-old gamers would rather play video games or watch gaming content than watch TV.
  • The COVID-19 lockdown drove Twitch consumption to new highs, and while most of the surge has been retained, total hours are now trending downwards as lockdown conditions ease.


  • E-sports is becoming established in Asia, with a second-gen evolution into female-led, mobile competition presenting new partnership opportunities.
  • Just 3% of adults said they started watching e-sports during April, when many markets were at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak. Instead, existing viewers were consuming more.
  • Newzoo finds that only 45% of all e-sports viewers can be regarded as enthusiasts (those who watch frequently and interact with content), while the majority (55%) are occasional viewers.
  • Almost three in five (58%) enthusiasts are located in Asia, per Newzoo, while South Korea, India and Indonesia recorded the highest uptick in consumption rates in April.
  • Brand investment is expected to reach $844m globally this year despite economic turbulence with the vast majority (62.8% in 2020) of money directed towards sponsorships. Over half of the investment is made in Asia.
  • Advertisers looking to work in this space should ensure brand integration feels organic and authentic, and that any messaging does not interfere with gameplay.
  • Sponsorships can be rewarding, as successful execution can ultimately turn gamers into brand advocates. But brands must also understand individual games and the lexicon around them.

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