Why your ads need to get in the game

CMOs in virtually every industry need to leverage the exponential growth in-app games and connected TV advertising

The Leadership Agenda

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In-app games and connected TV advertising revenue

  • Connected TV advertising (20 countries only)
  • In-app video game advertising
160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 US$bn …and is forecast to reach US$100bn by 2025 Forecast US$146.4bn In-app game advertising reached US$54bn in 2021… US$16.3bn 27.6% CAGR 2017-26
2017 2018 US$bn 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 …and is forecast to reach US$100bn by 2025 Forecast US$146.4bn In-app game advertising reached US$54bn in 2021… 27.6% CAGR 2017-26 US$16.3bn

This year’s edition of our annual Global Entertainment & Media Outlook is the first to measure in-app games advertising and connected TV advertising, which are turning into a significant market. The scale and continued growth potential are plain to see: the metric topped US$54 billion in 2021 and will more than double by 2026. This can be chalked up partly to the fact that many of the largest and most sophisticated streamed-entertainment companies, faced with a decline in organic user growth, are abandoning a business model that’s based on subscriptions alone. Netflix, for one, is planning to launch an ad-supported offering this year. Across sectors, in fact, E&M businesses—not least of all in gaming—are finding ways to incorporate advertising and e-commerce, which are tightly linked.

Revenue always follows attention, and as attention moves to these emerging segments, CMOs in virtually every industry need to follow it, too, in order to establish a presence in these increasingly fertile digital environments. They can start by finding out how many members of their brand's target audience are regular gamers today and, crucially, how many are likely to be gamers in a few years’ time—and they should base current ad allocations and strategy on that future core audience in order to avoid falling behind the curve. Just as important, CMOs need to determine whether in-game marketing should be a small bet—say, a limited suite of in-game display ads—or a bigger bet, anchored in an immersive presence that’s intrinsic to the narrative or gameplay. Finally, they should make sure that at least a portion of ads are “shoppable,” meaning they offer users the opportunity to conveniently click (or talk) and purchase, creating a seamless connection to any e-commerce presence.

Explore other innovation and growth opportunities in our Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2022–2026 Perspectives Report

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Werner Ballhaus

Werner Ballhaus

Global Entertainment & Media Leader, PwC Germany

Wilson Chow

Wilson Chow

Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Industry Leader, PwC China

Emmanuelle Rivet

Emmanuelle Rivet

Global Technology Industry Leader, PwC United States

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