In Game Ads Don’t Work


It seems every second day we hear about yet-another-in-game advertising start-up getting millions of dollars in funding from big time VCs, in the hope of cracking the big “gamer” demographic. It’s not just the start-ups who are chasing this opportunity. Big players like Electronics Arts have similar ideas. Except they all just might be barking up the wrong tree.

Research by Bunnyfoot Quantities shows that in game advertising is not that effective. Jason McMaster puts it well when he writes, “The whole idea behind advertising in games is for people to want to buy your product. If they don’t, then, why do it?” Good question.


Paul Jardine

If the study had compared in-game ads with product placement in films, or against a TV program sponsorship wth some measure of ad exposure (it is unclear what Bunnyfoot’s SFI measure is, it’s not explained on their website).
I think this is actually a good piece of marketing for Bunnyfoot services, after all, a WTF reaction is better than an ‘Oh, I see’.

Erik Schwartz

In game ads are about brand building, not about immediate consumer reaction.

Tide sponsors a Nascar team, do you think they’re hoping that watching Nascar will make people do their laundry?

Brad Dickason


Couldn’t the same argument for consumers ignoring certain spaces also apply to in-game ads in a few months (if not already)?

Aidan Henry

I strongly disagree.

I think that in-game ads are one of the most efficient and effective forms of advertising based on ROI. The ability for a consumer to interact with a given product or corporate experience is powerful, assuming it is not overdone.

Nowadays, consumers ignore banner ads, magazine spreads, and TV commercials. In-game ads cannot be ignored as they are an integral part of the game.

Studies have shown that a majority of players actually enjoy interacting with consumer products in the games.

Even if you overlook conversion ratios altogether and look at it from a more high-level view, I still think it is fair to say that such an advertising ploy is much more effective than any other form of traditional media advertising.


Brad Dickason

Advertising is such an arbitrary industry. Is the study testing people’s memory or the effectiveness of branding in-game? I personally find that in-game ads are a waste of money past the first one you see that makes you think “cool,” but I can’t vouch for the rest and there really is no reliable way to track success without direct sales like SlickDealer brought up.


If there were ads for Domino’s or Chinese Take Out that I could click on through the player, have it paid through Xbox Live/PS2 Live, and have it delivered or ready for pick up, I would then pay attention to the advertisements.

Comments are closed.