I generally prefer to write about design, but this is something that’s been front of mind lately — I do work for a mobile game studio, and we have considered working with brands, but as someone who works to promote an early-stage startup all day, I find the increasingly lucrative marketing opportunity for brands in mobile games really fascinating.
More than half of all US mobile phone users – we’re talking 125 million people, or 40% of the total US population – will be playing games on those mobile phones by the end of the 2013 (eMarketer, 2013). As you’re likely aware, those same devices dominate a large portion of minutes in the average American’s day, 150 on average.
Thinking long term, this number looks even better – 8 out of 10 smartphone users are projected to play games on their phone by 2016. Your audience is already spending time on social and mobile gaming, immersed in an interactive experience that is in its very nature one of the most engaging digital interactions available.
The most exciting opportunity in the space, from a brand perspective, is that in-game advertising can actually enhance the player’s experience – brands can become a hero to the user by providing them value within the game environment. Creative engagement aside, more traditional advertising within gaming continues to impress in terms of performance, with over 22 times the average engagement rate of online banner ads (AdoTube, 2013). The success of social and mobile gaming campaigns is exponentially higher than other digital alternatives; marketers needs to make mobile gamers their priority.
A few creative options:
Services: SponsorPay, Kiip, Lootsie
Services: Virool, Sharethrough, Unruly Media
 Location-Based Features + Gaming and Social Media Components
Services: Zigi, Plot
 Custom Experiences Tied to Gameplay – Making your Brand the Hero
Services: MediaMob, a few others I can’t find at the moment! Often these campaigns are the result of one-on-one relationships with developers and brands, like SimCity and Dunkin Donuts (below):