Facebook and Google are making separate pushes into mobile gaming and have developed ways for marketers to place ads in games. Google on Thursday announced several programs and monetization strategies for game developers that also will ensure brand safety, such as interstitial and video rewards ads and Open Bidding in AdMob, per a blog post.
Facebook this week opened its Ads API to game developers, letting them integrate interstitial and rewarded video ads, powered by Audience Network, into games. The social network now allows developers to create games for its HTML5 cross-platform Instant Games service, which lets users play games on News Feed and Messenger without downloading other apps.
Google has delivered than 10 billion app installs through in-app ads, and has lured more than 1 billion 30-day active users on Google Play in more than 190 countries. Universal App Campaigns (UAC) use Google’s machine learning technology to find gaming fans on Google.com, Google Play, YouTube and more than 3 million sites and apps in the Google Display Network.
Google and Facebook, which together dominate digital advertising, aim to give mobile marketers additional ways to reach audiences on smartphones and tablets. That means opening their platforms to games that engage a wider group of users. The global interactive gaming market grew to an audience of 2.6 billion people in 2017 from 100 million in 1995, per a 2017 trend report from Mary Meeker, partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Google is touting its in-game ads that let game developers create value for players by offering them incentives, like an extra life or a special power-up in the game. Because players can choose when to watch, these ads don’t disrupt gameplay. Mobile app reward ads are viewed most favorably by online audiences, with 68% of people surveyed saying they have a positive view of the format, per a study by Kantar MillwardBrown. About 80% of all mobile gamers use the apps at least once a day, while the number of mobile gaming apps on Google Play that combine ads and in-app purchases grew more than 50% in January from the prior year, per Google.
Facebook said that developers have built about 200 games for Messenger and Facebook since the social network started testing its Instant Games platform in 2016. Facebook touted the success of one its earliest game developers, FRVR, which created a basketball game that has been played more than 4.2 billion times. The game generates a 7-figure sum in yearly advertising, per a blog post. By giving brands more opportunities to place ads in games, Facebook and Google seek to gain a greater share of the mobile gaming market while encouraging developers to get on board with their platforms.