Next level of digital growth: How gaming brands are playing it right with mobile marketing

With PMAR predicting that digital will grow its share to 37% in 2022 and mobile will command 96% of this spends, mobile advertising is expected to dominate the gaming marketing space

e4m by Shantanu David
Published: Mar 7, 2022 8:55 AM  | 4 min read
Mobile gaming

We can easily see the continuously increasing penetration of Digital in India. Also, the Pitch Madison Advertising Report 2022 estimated that Digital will take another big leap in 2022, growing by almost Rs. 8,000 crores to Rs. 33,070 crore and growing its share from 34% to 37%. Digital will pip TV with a share of 37% and become the largest medium in Indian Adex in 2022. While Digital encapsulates a lot of segments within it, including gaming brands, mobile advertising is clearly seen dominating other advertising mediums. Almost all Digital spends in India are on mobile with the latter commanding a 96% share.

On this, Piyush Kumar, Founder & CEO, Rooter, says, “Gaming across the globe is an engaging mode of entertainment. But the Indian market is a mobile-first market, unlike the West where they started playing games on consoles and computers. This is especially useful given that products being advertised on the mobile are very different from PC/console."

Sunil Yadav, CEO, PlayerzPot, one of the country’s most popular gaming properties, shared this makes it an exceptional opportunity for advertisers as the mobile gaming community is massive in India. He notes, “Mobile gaming apps are using mobile marketing to entice their target audience in the entire user and engagement funnel. It has helped brands to increase their reach, engage the users, and retain them.”

As the PMAR stated, “In 2021, Digital has grown by a phenomenal 50% taking Digital Adex to Rs. 25,438 crore with a share of 34%, just 4 percentage points lower than the largest medium TV. The last time Digital grew by 50% was way back in 2012, when it added just Rs. 750 crore, but in 2021 it has added almost Rs. 8,500 crore.”

Yadav adds, “Most of the mobile gaming brands are also using promotional ads where they are advertising their fantasy games and casual games at the same time in their own apps, thereby utilising mobile marketing as one of the cost-effective marketing channels for their revenue generation and growth in user base.

Ramsai Panchapakesan, Senior Vice President and National Head - Integrated Media Buying, Zenith, who has recently done a study on the Indian gaming industry, points out that it makes sense for brands to advertise on gaming platforms and through brand associations with various IPs and tournaments, especially those in complementary sectors. “Gaming companies are increasingly partnering with mobile internet service providers as well as device manufacturers. With a range of schemes, thanks to cheap data in India, along with pre-installed games on smartphones and other devices, everyone in the entire ecosystem can be benefited from it,” says Panchapakesan.

Sagar Nair, Co-Founder & CEO, Qlan, The Gamer's Social Network, notes, “We know that nearly every household in India owns a smartphone. So, a mobile user is presented with gaming ads while spending time on social media or just Internet surfing, and many companies choose to promote their products through this, i.e cross-promotion, as casual gamers comprise the largest share of gamers in India.”

Panchapakesan notes that in 2021 gaming companies spent Rs 1400 crore on advertising. “These big companies like Zupee, Mobile Premier League, Dream Sports and others sign on the biggest athletes as brand sponsors to help grow their market presence. And while there is some marginal spending on other media, the majority of their advertising budget goes into mobiles, given the mindset of the consumer: my phone, my game, my preferences,” says Panchapakesan.

“However, there’s a parallel stream of advertising running alongside as well, where these companies are using their in-built audiences to attract advertisers and generate revenue to become even bigger. Like with OTT, and other digital services with customized user profiles, preferences, geo-locations, and other data, gaming companies can reach out to various brands through cost-effective outreach marketing to reach their user base,” he says, adding that while companies geared more towards younger consumers like beverages, apparel, sports and others have already been associating with gaming, other segments are starting to tap into this market as well. 

Quoting various market research, Ankur Singh, Founder Witzeal Technologies, observes that mobile gamers are more receptive to advertising than non-gamers, saying, “In comparison to non-gamers, 43% of mobile gamers say they are more likely to buy or use businesses with ads they like, implying that there is a huge opportunity for firms to improve their marketing efficiency and effectiveness.”

“Marketers are taking notice of online gaming platforms as the consumers in a gaming environment tend to engage more with the advertising they receive. Moreover, the gaming platforms are now having an extensive and gender-fluid user base from across the regions of India. This establishes a diverse target audience thereby creating a huge opportunity for various brands to reach out to its potential consumer,” says Singh, concluding, “Esports and gaming platforms are now major advertisers, focusing not just on client acquisition but also on building a buzz for esports and mobile gaming in India.” 

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