Nigerian agencies to leverage in-game advertising

By Abimbola Mohammed

In-game advertising is the practice of using games, particularly web-based games, to promote an organization’s brand, product, or even the launch of a new one. To date, in-game advertising has been classified as a subset of digital advertising. Advertisers are beginning to incorporate it into their media buying strategy to capitalize on the reach that gaming offers.

According to App Annie’s 2021 state of mobile report, mobile gaming grew by 20% year over year in 2020 in both users and total consumer spends. Also according to analytics collated by Reportlinker, the In-Game Advertising market in the U.S. is estimated at US$873.3 million in the year 2020. In China, the world’s second largest economy, in-game advertising is forecast to reach a projected market size of US$1.3 Billion by the year 2027 trailing a CAGR of 13.4% over the analysis period from 2020 to 2027. Among the other noteworthy geographic markets are Japan and Canada, each forecast to grow at 7.3% and 8.8% respectively over the 2020-2027 periods. Within Europe, Germany is forecast to grow at approximately 8% CAGR.

While in-game continues to drive growth in some countries, some media professionals continue to hold stereotypical misconceptions of who mobile gamers are, the type of games that are popular, and which ad formats work best. This is particularly true among those advertisers who have never run in-game campaigns.

Interestingly, a global agency like Dentsu is already in the business. In a report, Dentsu said: “Gaming’s ever-increasing influence on culture, coupled with the promise of the metaverse has created limitless opportunities for marketers and advertisers. Gaming has moved from individual play to spectator involvement with the meteoric rise of e-sports and streaming platforms. Gaming platforms are now a primary channel for social interactions and self-expression.”

Following the latest global marketing trend, MARKETING EDGE, Nigeria’s leading brand and marketing publication sought expert views among Integrated Marketing Communication practitioners on why some agencies in Nigeria are yet to explore in-game advertising as a means of reaching target audience and measuring ROI. Acknowledging that it’s a new channel, they said they are diving into in-game advertising already, while asking clients to expect more reach from it as it has proven to be an effective means of reaching large audiences.

Jude Odia, Managing Director of Starcom Media Perspectives, while responding to questions, said he would refer to in-game as a new frontier in Nigeria market but not globally, because it has already been tapped and explored by global agencies.

His words: “I will call it a new frontier for this market, but it is not a new frontier in Europe. It’s also not in America where they have already tapped and explored it. If you do a little research on e-games, you will see that it’s growing and it’s bigger than entertainment if you look at it in real time, considering the size. However, it is a new space that the agencies in Nigeria are beginning to look into now.”

He hinted that he is part of a team that is looking into exploring the opportunity the medium will bring to the table in the Nigeria market.

Hear him: “I am part of a team/project that is looking at how to take advantage of that. The time people are playing games is a captive moment when their attention is really focused on the game. Calculating the retentive index at the time you are playing a game is higher than most of our traditional media. So, it is about understanding that space and, to a large extent, by codifying it in such a way that we can bring out value from it. We should think about how we can use it, as it were, to meet brand objectives such as awareness, consideration trial or conversion. We need to codify it in such a way that people will see the value and we can begin to monetize it.”

Also lending his view on the trending development, Femi Adelusi, President, Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), referred to e-game advertising as a new imagined media opportunity in Nigeria, while noting that, with time, it’s going to be the natural option for brand strategists and brand managers.

“Like every new thing, sometimes the level of adoption and the time it takes to drive understanding on the agency side and also on the client side takes a process. Sometimes it requires being able to show that this can deliver on your KPI’s, brand growth objective, consumer growth engagement to be able to show the result and justify from an ROI stand point. So that is what will transform it.”

Commenting further, he explained that gaming in general is a platform that is certainly going to grow over the years because of the opportunity that it gives to engage from a content standpoint. “Yes it’s early days, it’s early start in this market, but the moment you are able to show results, case studies and show consumer insight that indicates it’s a part to follow, then you begin to see more clients engage in it. Leave in-game and look at platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram. Instagram has grown in terms of usage in the last five years, but today also snapchat and Tiktalk are growing at faster pace. So everything in its own time and season of adoption will grow based on knowledge and based on ability to show that it’s working. With time it’s going to be the natural option for brand strategists and brand managers.”

On his part, Austin Efienamokwu, CEO Ubiquity Media Holding, said his agency is new, but gaming is part of its five years plan.

“Our agency is about a year old and in terms of our 5 years plan, gaming is a way to go. Although it may not be where we want to be right away, but I think it is a concept that the industry needs to look at. Big agencies like Dentsu have invested significantly and globally into it, and I think it makes sense for Dentsu to integrate what I will call media neutral platforms and continuously engage consumers. It creates a different layer of engagement with the consumers through gaming and it also depends on layers of gaming you are looking into – football, movies and the rest.

“The future of media will fit on the more you consistently engage with the consumer on that platform to increase their engagement time beyond three hours. It is good for the industry.”


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