Seamless in-game advertising - Experts discuss ground rules for implementation

The gaming business in India has experienced enormous growth in recent years, particularly in the last 3-4 years, with the pandemic and lockdown serving as growth accelerators. Using this opportunity, advertisers have acquired the land of gaming and turned it into an opportunity for advertising and branding. The technology acted like a catalyst in bringing out the seamless in-game advertising. With over hundreds of millions of active users on the gaming portals and streamers, the gaming sector becomes the new canvas for best marketing efforts. The panel discussion on ‘Seamless in-game advertising - Opportunities and Challenges’ at the 5th edition of MOBEXX 2021, turned the spotlight on the fast growing gaming sector in India.

Moderated by Vaibhav Odhekar, Co-founder & COO, Pokkt, the esteemed panellists included:

Arindam Das, Head Digital, Emami Group

Arpit Awasthi, VP-Growth Marketing, MPL

Bhavana Mittal, VP (Head) - Media and Digital RPSG

Shekhar Banerjee, Chief Client Officer and Head - West, Wavemaker India

Yash Desai, Media Manager, Chocolates - Mondelēz International

Commencing the discussions, Vaibhav Odhekar noted how the gaming sector is changing in India, and how well the market space has evolved from the least invested area to being one of the leading sectors that is mobile marketing.

On in-game advertising as a category and what brands look for, Shekhar Banerjee remarked, “The topic is very wide and honestly according to me, it is barely getting the advertisers’ attention that it deserves. We are talking about roughly around 365 million players in India right now and close to 100 million plays daily. Just to give a perspective to the audience here, if you look at people who watch gaming videos on YouTube, you’d be surprised to know that it is almost the size of people who watch cricket in India, TV and OTT put together. This gives you enough provocation about how big this space is. Contextualising it with the analysed growth that this industry is seeing – roughly around 28%, which means that it is less than the speed at which digital attics grow in the country, so it means it is also underleveraged.”

Emami Group’s Arindam Das added here, “The perception is something that we are trying to play out. The definition of gamer has changed significantly. In one or two years we will be touching around 500 million people who are considered or can be considered as gamers.” He further said that there are a lot of stereotypes around gaming, such as gaming is primarily a male-dominated phenomena, which it is not. “While we haven’t tried a lot of gaming inventory here, but in my earlier stints, we had tried different types of beaming advertising techniques,” he added.

Giving a brand marketer’s perspective on user experience in the gaming environment, Bhavana Mittal said, “We’ve done the Dettol Game, the Chhota Bheem and before that, the Horlicks and Boost one. There have been sporadic forays into gaming, but it has not been kind of a consistent medium for the brands wherever I have worked because of certain restrictions. So, from a user experience point of view, any form of advertising – be a TV ad or the audio platforms – the advertising has to be relevant for the person.”

Mondelēz’s Yash Desai spoke about the global norms that are to be followed while using in-game advertising and Indian laws and norms, and said, “India is progressing with the same intensity as we see the global fraternities and markets moving into the privacy direction and the recent news of 2018-19 Personal Data Protection Bill, amended and renamed as Data Protection Bill, provisioning inclusion of non personal data. This is a live example of how critical and important privacy is going to be. From a consumer centricity lens, these are undeniably the steps in the right direction, especially in a world where data is evolving as the key raw material like the core engine that runs the digital economy and the ecosystem. I think it is most important for us as we have global norms and stringent data privacy and brand safety guidelines and we ensure that we find the ways and means of visibility of our campaigns accordingly featured in the right environment.”

This is an edited excerpt. For the complete discussion, watch below:


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