The Mobile Gaming Ad-pocalypse

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The Mobile Gaming Ad-pocalypse

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I’m sure that most people have played a game on their phone in the past. I’m also sure that most people haven’t spent the extra couple of bucks to eliminate those annoying advertisements. The most prominent type of mobile ad used to be banner ads. Those were easy to ignore and play around. Obviously, for advertisers, that was a problem. Playing a mobile game now, it’s obvious that the ads have shifted to a much more invasive model. Full-screen ads for game and apps are rampant across games on the Apple App Store. They’re much harder to ignore, because you have to wait for an “X” to appear in the top of the screen before you can close the ad and continue playing your game. Because of how intrusive these ads are, I’ve begun to notice some very interesting trends.

Mobile gaming ads almost always seem to focus on user skill. “How good are you,” they might ask. They might also claim that only 5% of players can reach a certain score, while showing you gameplay of a player that looks like, well, a bad player. They want you to watch someone play the game poorly while telling you how hard it is. Then you will download the game and try to prove yourself, only to be shown more ads of the same type until you jump to a different game and try to prove yourself there. The ads have reached a point where very little effort seems to go into making them. As long as they present a “challenge” to the viewer, they’re doing their job. Whether or not they are doing their job well is something I don’t know.

Additionally, many mobile gaming ads have begun to include demos of their games. This is really interesting, and frankly, really wild to me. Because these demos have to run within the framework of an advertisement, they are never the quality of the actual downloaded game. They’re also almost always mini-games, so they never even showcase the actual game. Personally, I think it is a really odd choice to pay money to have someone play an inferior product in an inferior way. It makes the app/game look worse. Maybe the demos do drive more downloads, but they still depict the product in such an odd and incorrect manner.

Ultimately, these mobile ads are making me want to do one thing: pay money on whatever app I’m using to get rid of the ads. Maybe that was the plan all along.

About Author

Logan McElroy

Logan McElroy

Logan is a fourth-year Digital Marketing and Entertainment and Media Studies student at the University of Georgia. He has worked at a movie theater for 5+ years, and has moved from floor to staff to management to Head of Digital Marketing and In-Theater marketing for University Cinemas. His greatest interest is how media, and more specifically story, can help to create relationships between brands and consumers in a subtle, respectful way. Follow his blog at WordPress or his Twitter to stay updated on thoughts related to the media and marketing industries.

1 Comment

Elizabeth Phillips

Elizabeth Phillips

October 23, 2018at 1:34 pm

I am one of those people who won’t pay the $0.99 to get rid of those pesky pop-up ads, and I think that is one of the major reasons that I do not play games on my phone anymore. I think this post is extremely relevant to people today and the way they use apps on smartphones, and I am impressed by the stats and well-developed ideas you put in here to make this a really interesting read!

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