November 13th, 2018

Want To Reach Gamers This Holiday Season? Ditch TV Ads For Mobile Video

Close Up Of A Handful Of Sparklers


A new report from OpenX and The Harris Poll suggests television ads are increasingly ineffective, while mobile video is growing more powerful by the day.

A 2018 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report from OpenX and The Harris Poll shows that 31% of customers are already planning to buy games as presents for friends and family. That’s great news for game publishers, but marketers should be aware of changes to advertising methods that will impact these holiday sales.

In past decades, holiday shopping sales were primarily generated by televised advertising. In an age of smartphones and ecommerce however, TV ads have become less effective. According to the OpenX report, 25% of survey respondents never watch live television. Another 13% plan to cut their cable cords within a year.

While TV ads are declining, online and mobile equivalents are booming. One out of four parents spend over six hours per day on a mobile device, a statistic shared by one third of millennial respondents. These mobile hours are over 500% higher than time spent watching TV programming. What’s more, it’s incredibly effective for marketers. Over half of respondents discovered gift ideas from online ads, while 40% will buy products as a result of clicking the ad itself.

Combined, the surveys findings suggest that mobile and online advertising have far more potential, and that TV marketing is on its way out. Our own research suggests that this has nothing to do with the video format itself: mobile audiences are happy with video ads. Our own 2017 Holiday Gaming report found 41% of respondents actually prefer them over other formats – a figure that has increased in 2018. Digital advertising’s unparalleled targeting capabilities are likely the predominant factor, allowing marketers to optimize their campaigns, offering products and gifts to the most receptive audiences.

From an overall gaming market perspective, the opportunities of advertising to mobile audiences cannot be understated. Games ranked in sixth place for top 2018 gifts in the OpenX poll, and might be higher where gaming peripherals are counted as Toys, which ranked third. One third of mothers play mobile games in bed every night, while over 40% play daily. If these gaming mothers are part of the parent category watching less TV – which is incredibly likely – mobile advertising is the ideal opportunity for holiday sale generation.

Our research frequently shows that mobile gaming time increases around the holidays, and that players are willing to engage with in-game video marketing. As the gift giving season approaches, that’s an excellent reason to replace televised ads with in-game video content.


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