Why do we have mobile app game in-ads?

In 2021 there were 230 billion global app downloads and by 2025, there are projected to be a staggering 7.5 billion mobile users worldwide. On top of that, approximately 70% of all internet traffic derives from mobile devices.

No surprise, therefore, that mobile app advertising is one of the biggest platforms for marketers. Analysts estimate that more than half of the global ad spend is now spent on mobile advertising with the bulk of that spent on in app ads.

Gaming apps are the single most popular mobile app in the world, accounting for over 25% of all app downloads. They allow gamers simple easy access to a wide variety of games which can be played anytime and anyplace they choose.

There are two types of game apps on offer:

  • Free games within app ads. 
  • Paid for games with no ads.

Games without ads

One industry in particular that benefits from having no adverts in its games, is the online casino industry. The sector as a whole has seen huge growth with popular casino games such as roulette, poker, blackjack, and slots finding a much wider audience. 

While it costs money to play these games, players are free from ad interruption, plus they’re in with a chance of winning some money. New technology has allowed various casino operators to replicate the thrill of a physical casino and give gamers an immersive and compelling experience. 

Casino apps are free to download and offer a wide variety of games, including the very latest titles and updates. These impressive apps are easily accessible and offer a smooth gaming interface that anyone can enjoy wherever and whenever they choose – with no ad interruptions.

Games without ads
Games without ads

Games with ads

We’ve all played games that have ads in them and we’ve all, no doubt, got annoyed at their presence. But the reality is, without these adverts the game you’re playing would not be free to play.

For advertisers, in-game ads are a highly interactive and engaging way to interact with players. For game publishers, ad placements are a serious revenue maker and can often persuade users to spend money within their ‘free game’ app.

But is it as simple as all that? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of in app game advertising for both players and advertisers.

The Pros

Captive Audience

The benefit to the advertiser is that they have a captive audience who are engaged with the game and now, their advert. The player wants to play the game and the only way to do that is to watch the advert in front of them.

Whereas television, radio, or print advertisements are static based, in App adverts provide an audience that is engaged with the app, and therefore helps drive better conversions.


In-game ad revenue gives developers the ability to monetise their games, allowing players to download and play their game for free.

Without this revenue, the mobile gaming market would not have seen such impressive growth and gamers would be faced with prohibitive price tags for top end mobile games.

Rewards players

The most effective in-game ad strategy involves a reward system that keeps players coming back for more. By offering players high-value in-game rewards, developers can keep players engaged for longer and ensure they keep coming back for more.

Better Results

Many adverts online are simply ignored by people who are focused on doing whatever it is they came online to do. In a world of distractions, customers are getting better at blocking out advertising noise.

Targeted Audience

Gaming is no longer the domain of teenage boys, with the mobile game market estimated to be split 51% female and 49% male. Different games will appeal to different people and that allows targeted advertising. 

Knowing the audience who plays the game, ensures advertisers are placing the right ads in front of the right people, maximising their returns by targeting those most interested in their product.

Targeted Audience
Targeted Audience

Mobile gaming is booming, and its appeal is broad, appealing to young children and adults of all ages. The fact that over 25 percent of all app downloads are games backs this up.

That means that in game ads give companies incredible exposure, potentially allowing millions of people worldwide to see their adverts.

The Cons

With targeted audiences, a better return on advertising spend and free games on offer, how can there be a downside? 


There’s no getting away from it, as much as we know that free games mean adverts, it’s still annoying when they appear mid game. Badly timed pop-ups, poorly placed ads or controls that make it hard to avoid touching the ad are all common complaints.

Some advertisers purposely make it annoyingly easy to accidentally click their ads. The app developer doesn’t care as they often get paid per ad click but it increases advertiser costs and reduces their effectiveness.


Unfortunately, not all apps are trustworthy, and several apps have been prone to viruses and malware issues. If players don’t trust your app, they won’t download it and then nobody is going to see your ad.

Reduced Engagement 

Although the app audience is a captive one, click throughs can be low as players are more interested in carrying on with their game. Also, attention spans are shrinking, with latest estimates putting it at 8 seconds, down from 15.

The Future of Mobile Gaming

Smartphone usage and app downloads show no sign of letting up, while improving technology continues to open up the gaming market to a wider audience. Free games and paid for games will still play a big part moving forward, but ultimately it will come down to game quality.

Therefore, proven games with a wide, loyal, fan base, such as online casino games, look set to dominate the mobile gaming market for years to come.


Marie Foster
Marie Foster
Marie Foster covers Business News at OSN.

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