The MRC’s recent memo outlining its intention to work with the IAB and the industry at large to update the 2009 In-Game Advertising Measurement Guidelines signals to the industry it’s time to acknowledge the fact that in-game advertising has evolved tremendously over the last 13 years since the guidelines were first introduced. There are several reasons we can hypothesize why it took so long to update the guidelines. Social, mobile, video, audio, CTV, brand safety, and many other topics have taken center stage, and for good reasons. Those channels needed to be addressed to move the markets forward, because they had significant scale and market potential. In other words, setting the guidelines was critical to enable growth.
But, couldn’t we say the same thing about in-game advertising? The simple answer is yes! In fact, here are some stats on how the gaming industry is continuing to expand and evolve:
There are 3 Billion Gamers Globally. The year 2023 will mark a major milestone for the global games market. That year, the global number of players will surpass the three-billion mark, representing a CAGR (2015-2023) of +5.6%. Newzoo
Over 8+ Hours A Week Spent Playing Games. According to Limelight in the State of Online Gaming 2021, “globally, the average number of hours gamers play each week jumped 14 percent in the past year to an average of eight and a half hours.”
The Video Game Advertising Industry Will Grow. In this recent MediaVillage article, “Why isn’t it the year of gaming?,” we point out that “the global advertising revenue opportunity for game developers is significant and it's only going up. The Myers Report reinforced this trajectory with the forecast that the video game advertising industry will grow at an annual rate of 6.0% to $3.0 billion in 2025.”
Some of the in-game advertising placements were addressed within the mobile, video and other standards like those ads that surround the game, sometimes referred to as banners or interstitial videos. These types of ads work with browsers and apps, therefore they fall into guidelines like the MRC Viewable Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines (June 2014, updated June 2016), MRC Social Media Measurement Guidelines (November 2015), and the Mobile Web Advertising Measurement Guidelines (November 2015).
The updated guidelines noted in the MRC memo will need to address intrinsic in-game advertising placements. Unlike traditional banners and interstitials, these ads appear within the game itself rather than the browser or app. Intrinsic in-game ads are served through the connection between technology, like Frameplay’s SDK, that is integrated with the game engine, enabling the ad to be served within the game creative. In this scenario, the ad served is not based on web or mobile protocols, but rather game engine and proprietary new ad serving technology, such as Frameplay’s 3D impression viewability calculation.
When the current In-Game Advertising Measurement Guidelines were last updated, the industry was without some of the developments and contributions that social, mobile, and the viewability discussions have since been brought to the table. The key contributors to the development of the standard was a cross-section of video game companies, rich media companies, big internet companies, console companies, and auditors. The core philosophies laid out in the 2009 In-Game Advertising Measurement Guidelines were very future-forward in many ways.
However, now it’s time to level-up the standards! Frameplay agrees with the MRC and the IAB that the standards should not only be updated, but also celebrated, because of the enormity of the scale and opportunity intrinsic in-game advertising has for the industry. Frameplay applauds the MRC and the IAB for leaning in and leading the industry to address the in-game advertising measurement guidelines. As a co-chair of the IAB Gaming and eSports group, Frameplay will continue to advocate for getting the standards right by the game developer, the advertiser, and most importantly, the gamer.
Frameplay is a global in-game advertising leader headquartered in San Francisco, California with worldwide offices and teams supporting NA, EMEA, LATAM, and APAC. Frameplay enables game developers to easily place impactful advertising intrinsically within video game environments without disrupting the gameplay performance or experience. The result is amplified brand exposure for advertisers, additional revenue for developers, and an enjoyable, uninterrupted experience for gamers. For more information, visit www.frameplay.gg.