Why gaming will be advertising’s next key channel

As reported in the Drum, gaming has been on the radar of advertisers for some time, but it seems to have become a more intriguing prospect in the collective consciousness of the industry over the past year or so.

This may be down to technological advances that enable better quality, immersive advertising in-game or a wider reflection of the gaming market’s size, which is expected to reach more than $152bn this year.

High-profile brand activations within games such as Fortnite, the rise of influencers and increasing celebrity involvement in gaming have all propelled the industry into the limelight, but it has been a part of mainstream culture for years and comfortably outstrips both film and music in terms of revenue.

Recently the proliferation of streaming services such as Twitch and the popularity of video game content on YouTube has grabbed the attention of many advertisers.

However, the launch of cloud-gaming platforms such as Google Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud later this year are likely to represent an inflection point where brands start to view gaming as an important marketing channel that will be a part of their plans.

Digital ad spend hit a staggering £13.4bn in the UK last year against a backdrop of falling audiences in traditional channels such as TV and radio, and a growing appetite for more transparency, tracking and reporting.

Evidently the future of advertising lies in the digital world and that is precisely why gaming is such an appealing prospect – 86% of global internet users play games on at least one of their devices, whether that’s a smartphone, PC or console.

In-game advertising already offers brands a valuable opportunity to reach engaged users, whether they are fully immersed in the gaming experience themselves or watching their favourite esports events and influencers in action online.

And cloud-gaming platforms will take that experience to the next level, making it more affordable and accessible for players and opening the door for advertisers to an ‘unreachable audience’ in numbers that have never been seen before.

This article first appeared on the Drum and was written by James Draper, who is the chief executive officer at Bidstack.

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