Paid Advertising for Video Games: The Ultimate Guide

by Game Marketing Genie, on 11-Aug-2022 09:30:00

Paid advertising is very effective when it comes to generating brand visibility. Considering paid ads to promote your game is a great way to attract traffic faster when compared to content marketing strategies like SEO, social media, and email marketing, which are effective in the long run.

According to a 2022 report, business-to-business (B2B) firms in the United States spent USD 32 billion for advertising compared to the 28.9 billion dollars in 2021. Data also suggests that investments in B2B advertising will witness an upward trend, with approximately USD 37.7 billion spent in 2024.

When it comes to using paid advertising for promoting your video game, it's easier said than done. It necessitates careful planning, budgeting, and testing to achieve the desired results. In this article, we will discuss some of the most effective platforms for running paid ads to promote video games. Furthermore, we will explore different platforms that can assist you in reaching your target audience.


  1. What's paid advertising?
  2. Why paid advertising?
  3. Google Ads
  4. Facebook Ads
  5. Instagram Ads
  6. X Ads
  7. TikTok Ads
  8. Reddit Ads
  9. Apple Search Ads
  10. Paid ad campaigns for retention
  11. Designing ad creatives that have an impact
  12. In-game advertising
  13. Marketing real money games

What's paid advertising?

Before we explore the different platforms for paid advertising, let us first understand what paid ads are. It is an online advertising model where advertisers bid to participate in real-time auctions so that they can display their ads within slots on a specific platform or network.

To understand this further, let us check out common forms of paid ads:

1) Paid search: In this case, brands place bids to appear at the top of the SERP for specific keywords. For instance, if a gaming agency targets a keyword phrase such as “game marketing” and uses paid search ads for that keyword, they are more likely to reach people looking for game marketing agencies. Additionally, pay-per-click (PPC), responsive, and display ads are also the types of paid search ads.

2) Social media advertising: Using social media to run paid marketing campaigns to promote your game is a great idea. Furthermore, consider choosing the social media platform popular among your audience. However, remember that the ad specifications will vary depending on the platform. Facebook ads, Instagram ads, or TikTok ads are some of the platforms you can consider for video game advertising.

3) Banner Ads: This type of advertisement is displayed at the top, bottom, or on the side of a web page. These are rectangular-shaped ads (static or dynamic), strategically placed on a website to grab the attention of a reader.

4) Native ads: They appear as recommended content on websites, appearing below or beside the article you just read. Native ads do not disrupt the attention of a reader and rather seamlessly fit as promotional content on the web page. Additionally, another form of native ads is search and promoted listings that rank at the top of your Google search results, or in the sidebar.

Now that you have a fair understanding of what paid ads are, let us take a look at why you need to consider paid advertising to promote your video game.

Why paid advertising?

Promoting your video game organically through content or social media marketing can be effective but often lacks immediate impact. For game studios and developers in need of instant results and lacking the time or resources, paid marketing campaigns are a viable option.

Investing in distributing ads to promote your game on social media may initially seem risky. However, the solution lies in tapping into the expertise of a game marketing agency. These professionals specialize in crafting effective paid marketing strategies that expedite your journey towards optimal results. Their industry-specific knowledge distinguishes what works from what doesn't, enabling them to refine and test your campaigns.

Also, paid advertising is a fundamental element of your sales and marketing strategy. While there are numerous platforms and ad types available, it's crucial to make a strategic decision and focus on one or two options. Now, let's explore various platforms where you can run paid campaigns.

Google Ads

Google Ads is a versatile online advertising platform that lets businesses create tailored campaigns for rapid results. It allows precise targeting by demographics, keywords, interests, and user behavior, ensuring ads reach the right audience. This enhances brand recognition, and retargeting options will help brands stay connected with potential customers.

Furthermore, detailed analytics and budget control help monitor performance and adjust strategies, while insights into competitors' ads aid in outperforming them. Google Ads delivers a strong return on investment, making it a valuable tool for brands to effectively promote products or services. 

Find out how to get the best out of Google Ads with our 5 Tips to Improve Your Google Ads' Quality Score.

Facebook Ads

Let's look at Facebook's state-of-the-art advertising system - Facebook Ads. If you haven’t heard of it, this is your cue to begin. And if you have, then keep reading to know how to make it work efficiently.

Facebook Ads allow you to do everything, from finding your gaming audience to launching and monetizing your games. Furthermore, Facebook ads offer a variety of solutions that you can customize according to the device — mobile, PC, and console gaming to derive maximum results.

To know more about how to make Facebook Ads work, for the promotion of games, check out our in-depth guide – Facebook Advertising For Video Games.

Generating ROI on Facebook Ads

The intent of running Facebook Ads is likely to drive traffic, generate leads, and/or boost conversions. But if you don’t optimize your ads, then you will not get a good return on investment (ROI), and your efforts will be for nothing. The power of Facebook Ads is incredible. With some of the best, if not the best, ad targeting capabilities on the market. This social media platform can deliver powerful results when optimized for success.

If your paid ads on Facebook aren’t working, don’t worry! It is not uncommon. After all, there’s more to creating a successful ad campaign than posting a couple of pictures with a slab of text and pushing some money into it. That is why you need to ensure every ad counts. To know how to achieve that, check out our guide – How to Optimize Your Facebook Ads for the Maximum ROI.

Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads are a fantastic means of reaching your target audience and generating leads. You benefit from effective targeting options such as location, demographics, and interests, which enable you to craft ads tailored to resonate with the right users.

According to a report, ads on Instagram reach 96.6 percent of the platform's active user base every month. It accounts for almost 2 billion potential customers. Furthermore, data from Meta shows that the platform's ad reach increased by 21 percent in the last year. Meanwhile, according to another study, 65% of top-performing Instagram posts feature a brand, while 60% of Instagram users discover new products or services on Instagram.

To learn more about how Instagram Ads can assist in game promotion, take a look at our 5-Step Guide to Instagram Ads for Games.

X Ads

Over 2.4 billion posts related to gaming were uploaded on X in 2021, that’s a 14% year-on-year jump and a 10X increase in the number of posts as compared to 2017.

Furthermore, in the first half of 2022, there were approximately 1.5 billion tweets about gaming – a record half following up on a record year for gaming conversation in 2021. It is more proof that X is a home to the gaming community, a highly engaging one.

It opens up the opportunity to use X to run paid ads for your game. Promoted Ads on X appear in a user's feed only if the post is likely interesting and relevant to them. The social media platform uses signals to determine which Promoted Ads are relevant to users. Including who a user chooses to follow, how they interact with a post, what they repost, and more.

Image ranking top countries by tweets

Also, people on X like to be the first to try new things and are likely the first people to buy new products. Therefore, a game launch done effectively can work in your favor. Using a mix of ad formats throughout the campaign, three or more, shows an increased campaign awareness by 20% and purchase intent by 7%.

TikTok Ads

TikTok launched its official advertising service in 2019. If you're a brand seeking to promote your game on TikTok, make sure to invest in creative and enjoyable content. The platform is a valuable investment, particularly for brands targeting a younger audience. Additionally, it serves as an essential tool for influencer marketing.

With over 1.677 billion users globally, TikTok has 1.1 billion monthly active users as of 2023. Moreover, TikTok has a diverse audience, providing a range of different video types, styles and trends to try out. Remember, the most successful ads on TikTok are those that don't look like ads. So as long as your ads look like a user-generated TikTok video, the rate of engagement will be good.

However, moving towards newer advertising platform like TikTok can be difficult, especially for brands that are unsure about the merits and relevance of the platform. But not to worry, here are our guides to help you out – What are TikTok Ads, and How Can They Help Your Video Game? And whether TikTok Ads are Right For Your Game?

Reddit Ads

If you’ve ever used the internet, you've probably been on Reddit at least once. A wonderland of forums and fans, Reddit is a highly engaging platform that works as a place to promote your game. Your game’s potential audience is likely active on Reddit, discussing similar games and topics. So, why not get the visibility you desire with Reddit Ads?

One of the best things about Reddit, much like X (formerly Twitter), is that its ads natively blend into other content on the platform. Reddit allows users to organically interact with your content without feeling like they are exposed to ads.

Another benefit of using the platform is that it allows you to tap into a highly engaged audience, further emphasized by the fact that the platform receives 'more than 430 million monthly active users,' highlighting the number of people using and engaging on Reddit.

To learn more, check out The Ultimate Guide To Reddit Ads App Install Ads.

Apple Search Ads

Did you know that iOS App Store generated over USD 36.4 billion in revenue in 2022? It's a pretty good reason to get your game on the platform and launch ads.

According to Apple, their technology matches the user's search term with the app being promoted, delivering more than a 60 percent average conversion rate. To know more about Apple Search ads you can get your answers in our Ultimate Guide to Apple Search Ads!

Deep dive into the world of Apple Search Ads with The Ultimate Game Dev’s Guide to Apple Search Ads

Mastering ad creatives for iOS games

When you’re not getting the results you expected from your campaigns consider creative testing. It is when you use different ad versions and test to see what works best for your audience.

This step is crucial as brands lose money because there’s something wrong with the ad creatives. This holds as the iOS landscape evolves. So, how can a game developer run creative testing without IDFA? Some of the strategies are:

  • Embracing privacy-preserving regulations
  • Understanding SKAdNetwork changes SKAdNetwork measures conversion rates of app install campaigns without compromising users' identities.
  • Testing one thing at a time

Follow these steps to optimize your creatives How to Test Ad Creatives For iOS Games Post IDFA.

Paid ad campaigns for retention

As a game developer, you know it takes a long time to build a game. But you can lose your audience if you don't encourage retention. It is why you need to focus not only on acquiring new players but retaining those who are or have been loyal to your game.

To learn more, read How to Run a Paid Advertising Campaign For Player Retention.

Designing ad creatives that have an impact

If your ads aren't getting the impact you desire, there can be an issue in the messaging. Some things can go wrong with paid advertising, including ad copy, audience targeting, expected reactions, and of course, ad creatives.

Crafting a memorable ad is not easy. A lot goes into the planning for the same, from the ad copy to understanding your audience's interests. 

You can read more about our best tips in How to Make Ad Creatives: 10 Things You Need for Your Game.

In-game advertising

Advertising need not be done on external platforms. You can market your game through in-game advertising. It will likely help you generate revenue. Either through banner ads or having your brand’s logos across in-game assets, there are several ways to implement in-game advertising.

Graph showing impact of in-game ad marketSource: Eskimi

With in-game advertising, creating and optimizing targeted ad messages for your audience in real time is easy.

We discuss all that in How In-game Advertising Can Increase Your Game’s Revenue?

Marketing real money games

Gaming apps that involve real money gambling can be tricky to market, especially when it comes to paid advertising. Many platforms, including Facebook, have strict regulations on the type of content that can be promoted. Brands or products that violate these regulations face account suspension. So be aware of what you can and can’t do when marketing a game genre like this.

Each advertising platform has its own set of rules. Therefore, it’s best to review the policies of the platforms you use and create custom ad sets for each.

Check out our article to learn Why Advertising Should Be Dealt With Extreme Care For Real Money Gaming Apps 


There are a lot of platforms out there to choose from, and making the right choice for your game is extremely important. Equally important is the prudent allocation of your advertising budget. As mentioned before, running a paid ads campaign, one that derives maximum results, is not easy. It will require a lot of planning, patience, and a profound understanding of the gaming and digital ad space.

At Game Marketing Genie, our dedicated team comprises creative content creators, versatile marketing managers, and skilled analytics experts. With our experience and expertise, we can craft an effective paid advertising strategy that will enhance engagement, drive conversions, and increase traffic for your game.

Supercharge your game's success with a powerful paid advertising strategy. Contact us today, and let's discuss your strategy!

Topics:Video Game MarketingSocial Media Marketing StrategyPlayable AdsLead GenerationPaid AdvertisingComplete Guide

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