PubMatic has released the results of a new study on trends in in-app advertising in APAC.
The ‘Brand & Mobile Gaming: What the shift of brand spend into mobile gaming means for publishers’ study surveyed brands and agencies across Singapore, Japan and South Korea to uncover their mobile and in-game ad buying preferences and challenges, as well as plans for 2024.
The State of Mobile In-App Advertising
The study, commissioned by PubMatic from Milieu Insight, found that 7 in 10 marketers in the surveyed countries currently incorporate in-app ads into their marketing strategy. At 88 per cent, Singaporean buyers are most likely to buy in-app, while Japanese buyers are doing far less in-app buying, at just 47 per cent. Across countries, performance-focused buyers are more likely to advertise in-app than brand buyers, at 77 per cent and 60 per cent respectively. Despite this discrepancy, marketers across regions say that brand awareness is the leading benefit of in-app advertising, regardless of their primary advertising objectives.
Marketing Budgets Shift To Mobile Gaming, but Barriers Remain
In terms of mobile game advertising, the study shows slightly over half of marketers that currently incorporate in-app ads in their marketing strategies also invest in mobile gaming ads. Of the APAC marketers surveyed, 52 per cent have an in-game marketing strategy, with a wide variance of adoption across countries: only 15 per cent of Japanese marketers are spending on in-game ads, versus 77 per cent of marketers in Singapore. Most advertisers who are reluctant to invest in mobile gaming ads cited their primary reason as misalignment with company or brand values, or misalignment with target audiences. In the Japanese market, for example, there are misconceptions around gaming audiences being young and largely male, when in reality women account for 55 per cent of the mobile-first gaming community in Japan.
Programmatic Advertising vs. Direct Buys
Programmatic was the preferred in-app buying option for 62 per cent of advertisers – reflecting the need for agility through data-driven precision, adaptability, and cost-efficiency – while the remainder transacts directly with publishers. Direct buyers cited “audience targeting precision” as the top reason for how they purchase, followed by “more control over ad placement” and “customisable solutions tailored to specific goals of our brand”.
Growth Opportunities in 2024
Looking ahead to 2024, 86 per cent of in-game advertisers in Singapore and 80 per cent in South Korea plan to increase or maintain the same budget for in-game advertising – meaning brand buyers are the biggest revenue opportunities for gaming publishers. Only Japanese marketers are hesitant to go all-in on in-game advertising right now, due to the aforementioned concerns around audience alignment. Marketers reported the biggest appeal of in-game advertising to be the ability to create positive associations of their brand with mobile gamers.
“The findings show there are more chances than ever for in-app publishers to attract ad spend from brand buyers looking to invest in mobile gaming. But, in today’s increasingly complex and dynamic landscape, it will be vital to work with a tech partner that can provide transparency, control, flexibility and guidance if they are to unlock the full potential of in-app and in-game advertising and capture incremental dollars from diverse channels and geographies in 2024. When choosing a tech partner, app publishers should look for a company that provides unique demand and effective measurement tools, while offering customised, curated packaging to ensure control over audiences, inventory and data,” said Lashanne Phang, VP, mobile at PubMatic.
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