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IAB PlayFronts touts games ads maturing

Mar 28, 2024
A man in a suit stands on a stage. A screen behind him says IAB PlayFronts and has a slide about Activision Blizzard's popular games. A seated crowd is in front of him

Activision Blizzard Media general manager Clement Xue presents at IAB PlayFronts. Photo: Kerry Flynn/Axios

Gaming will attract more ad dollars from improvements in the tech behind buying and measuring and a growing list of successful campaigns, according to conversations and presentations at this week's IAB PlayFronts.

Why it matters: Growth of in-game advertising could fuel more funding to and consolidation among the sector.

By the numbers: 86% of marketers using games advertising say it is of growing importance to their company and 40% plan to increase spending in 2024, according to a new IAB study presented Wednesday.

  • 89% of advertisers said games advertising positively impacts their brand outcomes, and 85% are confident in their ability to measure it.
  • Less than 10% of marketers fund games advertising from their experimental budgets.

What they're saying: "Games advertising has become a consistent presence in the advertising mix with a majority of advertisers using it continuously throughout the year, moving beyond on-off campaigns," Jack Koch, IAB's senior vice president, research and insights, tells Axios.

  • "We're seeing a maturation of this space," says Zoe Soon, vice president of the IAB Experience Center. "We're better understanding this audience, their behaviors and seeing how gaming can drive outcomes."

Zoom in: The NFL and Nickelodeon have repeatedly used online gaming platform Roblox to advertise programming. The partners collaborated with VC-backed game developer Gamefam to create Roblox experiences promoting the Christmas Day NFL game on Nickelodeon and again for the Super Bowl.

  • Brian Irving, vice president of digital advertising sales for Paramount and Nickelodeon, said onstage that Roblox "played an outsized role" in making this year's Super Bowl the most watched among kids ages 2 to 11.
  • "We have really aggressive viewership goals on linear television at a time where kids are watching less TV, so we knew we had to go outside of that ... to drive awareness," Irving said.
  • "We need to reach the next generation of fans where they're spending their time," said Sam Fink, director of content partnerships for the NFL.

Catch up quick: IAB launched PlayFronts in 2022. The first, one-day event set the stage on gaming's importance. The second expanded to two days and debunked misconceptions about the audience and ad reception.

What's next: The season for ad sales presentations is just beginning with IAB's NewFronts and Podcast Upfront and then the traditional Upfronts to come.

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