Google AdMob’s Entry into⁣ In-Game Advertising: An Industry in Flux

Google AdMob has officially started serving⁢ in-game ads, ⁤indicating the continuous growth and mainstream acceptance of this format. However, this development may not necessarily be a cause for celebration for the companies already operating in this space.

AdMob announced its‍ expansion into in-game ads through a blog post on March 12.‍ Like other in-game ad companies, AdMob’s offerings are immersive, taking the form of traditional digital‍ banner ads overlaid on in-game objects such as street signs or billboards. For now, AdMob’s inventory is limited to mobile games, ​but the company has plans to eventually offer ⁤ad placements inside both ‍two-dimensional mobile games ‍and three-dimensional games like “Roblox” or ‍”Call of Duty.”

Impact on the In-Game AdMob Industry

Google’s entry into in-game ads, a‌ market that accounted ⁣for $8.84 billion in advertising spend in 2023, represents an endorsement⁢ of the format from ‌one ​of the largest ​digital advertising platforms ⁢on the ‍web.⁣ This move is seen as great news for the industry at⁢ large.

However, ​Google’s entry into the in-game ad space is a double-edged sword. Leading in-game ad companies of the past, such as Massive, found success through⁤ acquisitions by larger players like Microsoft. When Microsoft​ and Sony reportedly started‌ their own internal in-game ad departments⁣ in 2022, it‍ sparked speculation that today’s in-game ad firms could achieve a similar exit.

Google’s In-House Development

But Google has made it clear that it is developing⁢ its in-game ad products ⁢in-house, rather than working with a pre-existing in-game ad firm ⁢such as Anzu, Bidstack or‍ Frameplay. This decision‍ is based ​on Google’s rule that for anything that’s Google-sold, they have‌ to be the ⁢one measuring it.

The challenges faced by Bidstack in 2024 provide further evidence that an acquisition exit might not be the most likely future ​for in-game advertising companies in today’s market. On March 11, the day before Google’s announcement, Bidstack temporarily suspended its⁢ shares from​ public trading after ‌announcing a failure‍ to find⁢ a​ potential ‍buyer.

Shift in Attention

In general, some attention has shifted off⁤ of in-game advertising as marketers have grown more experienced operating in the gaming sector. The agenda of today’s (March⁣ 26) Interactive Advertising Bureau PlayFronts event in New York City features only one presentation by a dedicated ‌intrinsic in-game advertising company, a significant decrease from​ past iterations of the ‌event.