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In-game advertising: A marketer’s guide



In-game advertising: A marketer's guide

Video games aren’t just fun. They can be profitable for savvy advertisers looking to reach one of the most lucrative and elusive groups of consumers.

In-game advertising merges ads with the game environment seamlessly. Imagine seeing billboards while racing through the streets or branded in-game products you can purchase. These ads are more powerful and effective than in-app advertisements — those annoying pop-ups or banner ads you commonly see in mobile app games.

With nearly 3 billion games worldwide, in-game advertising can give brands incredible reach. From virtual billboards to branded experiences, video games have become a marketer’s paradise for reaching the coveted gaming demographic.

This guide covers the basics of in-game advertising, including common ad types, available targeting options, associated costs, challenges and best practices.

Types of in-game advertising

Before exploring how to take advantage of in-game advertisements, let’s review the most common types of game ads.

Static in-game advertising

These ads are directly hardcoded into the game. Since the ads can’t be changed and will exist in the game ad infinitum, rates are expensive and charged on a fixed-fee basis.

Dynamic in-game advertising

Dynamic ads can be replaced quickly and deployed instantly. These ads can appear in different places and formats (display and video ads are the most common). The 2008 billboards from Barack Obama in Need for Speed: Carbon are a great example of this ad format’s simple yet powerful use.

Sponsored game content involves integrating a brand or product into the actual game content, making it even more tangible and visible to the player and engaging them with the brand.

Dig deeper: PepsiCo’s strategies for marketing via online games and esports

KFC did this exceptionally well when it partnered with Nintendo to create a virtual island in the popular game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The island was designed with KFC-themed items and decorations and even allowed players to win a voucher for chicken in real-life.


Rather than integrating the ads into an already existing game, advergames are games specifically designed to promote a brand or product. They provide a fun and engaging way to interact with a brand and can effectively build brand awareness and loyalty.

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Chex Quest, made by Chex, was the first video game ever to be included in cereal boxes as a prize. It was a top-to-bottom conversion of the popular game Doom but adjusted it to be family-friendly. The game was a hit among consumers and even won several awards.

Activision Blizzard Media has recently created many Playables — branded stand-alone mobile app games.

Product placement

The classic advertisement method still works. Advertisers can put their products directly into video games to guarantee players see the brand and “use” the products.

I remember playing Mario Kart 8 on the Nintendo Wii and unlocking the Mercedes-Benz cars. This made the branded products more exclusive since they had to be earned.

Targeting options for in-game advertising

The other unique benefit of in-game advertisements are the targeting abilities. It starts with choosing the right game (or games). Advertisers can focus on consumers based on demographics, geolocation, device type or platforms. However, integrating these traditional targeting approaches with behavioral targeting makes in-game advertisements even more effective.

Behavior targeting uses the actions the player has taken (or has not taken) to create an ideal segment of users to reach. For example, an advertiser could target players who have demonstrated a willingness to open their wallets by spending money to buy items in a game — or players who have reached a certain level and are, therefore, more engaged.

Combining these different ways of targeting and deploying them across various games that reach consumers on multiple platforms (gaming consoles, computers and smartphones) makes in-game advertising extremely powerful. With abundant reach and powerful targeting, brands can build awareness, drive engagement and boost sales quickly and effectively.

How to buy in-game advertising

Getting started with in-game advertising will ultimately depend on the types of games you want to appear in and your budget. 

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When selecting an approach to buying in-game advertising, consider the specific goals, budget and target audience of the campaign. 

Game publishers

  • Example: Activision Blizzard Media

You can work directly with game publishers to create custom ad campaigns within their games. This approach provides more control over the creative content and targeting and a deeper level of integration with the game environment. 

However, it can be more time-consuming and expensive than other options and may not offer as much scale or reach since it is limited to a single game.

In-game ad networks 

  • Examples: Admix, Unity Ads

Ad networks connect brands with multiple game publishers, providing access to a broader collection of games. They offer greater scale and reach and more efficient pricing and targeting options. 

The downside is that you have less control over the creative content and placement. Some ad networks are not as high-quality and have limited targeting options. 

Programmatic advertising platforms 

Programmatic platforms use data and algorithms to automate the buying and placement of in-game ads across multiple publishers and platforms. This approach can offer greater efficiency, scale and advanced targeting options based on user data and behavior. However, programmatic platforms may have less control over the creative content and placement and may require more technical expertise.

The costs of in-game advertising

How expensive are in-game ads? It depends, but it’s only going to get more expensive. In-game advertising pricing can vary based on several factors, including the type of game, ad format, targeting options and the size and scope of the campaign.

CPM pricing is the most common approach, and rates can vary widely based on factors like ad format and targeting. The average CPM for in-game display ads ranges from $10-20, with video ads from $15-30.

These numbers will vary dramatically depending on the audience, game, targeting and ad formats. For example, CPMS for in-game ads targeting Gen Z and Millennials were 30-50% higher than those targeting Gen X and Baby Boomers, according to an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) study.

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You can also expect CPMs to continue to rise with the growing popularity of games and the high demand to reach gamers who are otherwise difficult to reach. Other in-game ads follow a flat-rate pricing model, especially static ads or advergames.

Challenges and best practices

It’s all fun and games until your campaign stops performing well. In-game advertisements come with their own unique set of challenges — and fatigue is a real concern. 

  • Players can quickly become bored or annoyed by seeing the same ads repeatedly. Be sure to monitor frequency and refresh creative as often as possible.
  • Players will also be upset if ads are intrusive, distracting, or disrupt their gameplay in any way. This isn’t commonly an issue, but it’s an important consideration.

As with any advertising, targeting is critical. It’s best to use non-intrusive creative formats to engage users. If possible, rewarding users with in-game currency, items, or exclusive content can increase engagement rates and brand affinity. The aforementioned example of being able to earn Mercedes-Benz cars in Mario Kart is a simple but effective model of this in practice.

What’s in store for in-game advertising?

In-game advertising is a powerful way to reach a highly-engaged, lucrative and fast-growing audience. There is no shortage of different types of games and no reason not to try in-game advertising.

Mobile games and handheld gaming platforms like the Nintendo Switch make it even easier for brands to stay connected and engaged with users even more than ever before.

New technologies like virtual reality and the Metaverse will bring more gaming environments, unique experiences and even more diverse opportunities for advertisers to explore.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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B2B SEO in 2023: What’s New and How to Adapt Your Strategy for Success



B2B SEO in 2023: What's New and How to Adapt Your Strategy for Success

The author’s views are entirely their own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

In the fast-paced digital landscape of 2023, having a strong online presence is crucial for B2B companies to drive traffic, generate leads, and stay competitive. SEO is pivotal in achieving these goals. This blog post (and its accompanying comprehensive guide) aims to provide B2B marketers, SEO specialists, and business owners with the knowledge and tools necessary to create a successful B2B SEO strategy in 2023. From understanding the latest trends and challenges to implementing effective keyword research, on-page optimization, backlink building, result analysis, and staying up-to-date with SEO trends, let’s discuss what actually “moves the needle” in B2B SEO.

Understand the B2B SEO landscape in 2023

The SEO landscape is constantly evolving, driven by updates to search engine algorithms, changes in user behavior, and the increasing influence of voice search and AI. To create an effective B2B SEO strategy, staying informed about the latest trends is essential. Some key trends in 2023 include:

Mobile-first indexing

With the majority of internet users accessing websites through mobile devices, search engines like Google prioritize mobile-friendly websites in their rankings. This was rolled out years ago, but it is the case across all industries. The B2B industry usually does have a slightly larger audience that views content and websites on desktops (due to the target audience usually being at work when they are researching companies or vendors). However, many still do check their email, conduct research, and view websites on their phones and tablets just as often.

Voice search optimization

As voice search is still widely used with smart devices and now some vehicles (such as Toyota’s new operating system for their lineup, which allows drivers and passengers to look up questions, businesses, and other information from their vehicle’s infotainment system), B2B companies need to optimize their content for voice queries. This involves incorporating natural language, long-tail keywords, and structured data markup to increase visibility in voice search results.

AI in search and marketing

ChatGPT has blossomed in popularity over the last year, reaching a new record for the fastest-growing user base in February 2023, according to Reuters. It now has over 1.16 billion users, according to DemandSage. OpenAI, the owners of ChatGPT, are said to be rolling out a business/enterprise level for organizations who want to make ChatGPT’s offerings available to employees via an encrypted platform (so they can share proprietary information that remains secure), and Microsoft plans to use its technology to let enterprise organizations “create their own” ChatGPT so information stays secure.

Additionally, Google announced at Google I/O in May 2023 that it plans on adding more AI experiences in user’s search journey on Google. This is likely the biggest development with search engine results pages (SERP) changes we’ve seen in a while.

User experience and core web vitals

Search engines increasingly focus on user experience metrics, such as page load speed, mobile responsiveness, and interactivity. Optimizing these factors improves both search rankings and user satisfaction. In 2023 and beyond, a user is much more likely to exit out of a slow page load experience within seconds, figuring they will just find the information they need elsewhere.

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Continuous Google algorithm updates

Luckily for those in the SEO industry, Google has started announcing some of their bigger algorithm changes and updates, including when they are going to be taking place. To stay updated with Google changes, be sure to bookmark our Google Algorithm Update History page.

SEO, no matter the industry, is always evolving, so it’s important to regularly read SEO publications (like the Moz Blog), learn from subject matter experts in the space, and continue to stay on top of updates so your strategy can pivot accordingly

Conduct keyword research

Keyword research forms the foundation of a successful B2B SEO strategy. It involves identifying the keywords and phrases potential customers use to find products or services in your industry. To conduct effective B2B keyword research in 2023, consider the following steps:

Understand your target audience

Develop buyer personas and identify their pain points, needs, and search intent. This insight helps you choose keywords that align with your audience’s interests. It’s important to pay attention to the “curse of knowledge” and don’t assume your audience has the same level of knowledge about your product that you do. Just because you know how your products work (or that they even exist) doesn’t mean that your audience does. This is a unique opportunity for SEOs to identify the operating knowledge of their target audience so they can best produce content that answers their search queries.

Utilize keyword research tools

Tools like Moz Keyword Explorer provide valuable data on search volume, keyword difficulty, and related keywords. Leverage these tools to identify high-potential keywords. It’s also important to look at your own data in Google Search Console or Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Today’s keyword research is becoming more and more accurate when compared to search engines, and these are all invaluable tools forSEO and keyword-related research.

Focus on long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific search queries that tend to have lower competition. Targeting these keywords can help you reach niche audiences and generate high-quality leads. Most B2B product offerings serve a niche purpose, so try to go after keywords that explain the problem or solution of your product or service instead of its name.

For instance, if your company was an “iPaaS” (integration platform as a service), going after keywords around integration, data architecture, and application integration would likely get more traction than repeatedly building content around the term “iPaaS”.

In order to complete effective keyword research, you have to know where to start. Better target audience identification, high-quality tools, and a focus on keywords that users are actually searching for (which are usually problem- or solution-oriented) can help B2B SEOs get the right phrases they need to bring in more users and potential leads.

Optimize on-page content

On-page optimization involves making your website and its pages search engine-friendly. Here are some best practices to optimize your on-page content:

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Meta title tags

Craft compelling, concise, and keyword-rich title tags and meta to briefly describe your page’s content and entice users to click within 70 characters. The advice on whether or not to include your business name in a meta title tag still isn’t concrete, but if you have the character space, include it at the end after a pipe: |.

Meta descriptions

It’s best practice to write compelling meta descriptions, because that first paragraph on your page not only tells the reader what your content is about, search engines also pull it into the search snippet in a SERP. It is known that Google frequently rewrites meta descriptions, but it’s still worthwhile to spend about 180 characters describing the page so search engines, and search engine users have a good idea of what it’s about.

Header tags

Use header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to structure your content logically and improve readability. Include relevant keywords in your headers to signal the topic of each section. This can also serve as a table of contents if your blog article formatting allows it, improving readability for longer pieces of content (usually over 2000 words). Header tags also get pulled into the SERP and can be used in SERP features such as the ‘People Also Ask’ feature, if they are used in a question-answer format.

Image optimization

Optimize images by compressing their file sizes (for a better page load experience), using descriptive file names, and adding alt text that includes relevant keywords. This helps search engines understand and index your visual content. It also helps make images more accessible to users with visual impairments.

Site architecture

Good site architecture is essential for SEO success because it helps search engines and users find your website pages easier. By doing this, effective site architecture improves user experience, facilitates efficient crawling and indexing by search engines, distributes page authority effectively, and contributes to website speed and performance.

Meta titles and descriptions, headers, and site architecture may seem like SEO 101, but they are still valuable cornerstones to properly optimized content that is going to get indexed faster by search engines and have a longer time on-site for users. Google has preached time and time again about always doing what’s best for users and making sure content is fast, findable, and easy to read checks all the boxes.

Build quality backlinks

Backlinks remain a critical factor in B2B SEO, as they signal the credibility and authority of your website. However, it is essential to focus on quality rather than quantity. Consider the following strategies for building quality backlinks:

Create link-worthy content

Produce high-quality, informative content that provides value to your target audience. This increases the likelihood of other websites linking to your content as a valuable resource. Consider running your own research studies for new industry data that others will want to share, or create infographics, white papers, and other guides.

Split content into separate areas (when it makes sense)

This strategy won’t work for everyone, but if you are at a large organization, it might make sense from a site architecture standpoint to separate different types of content.

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For example, Moz has the SEO Learning Center and Blog, and the strategy (and the types of content we produce for each) varies. Many large corporations also have a press mentions section, as well as a media/PR blog, where they release company announcements or press releases.

This helps news outlets and other organizations parse and subscribe to whatever type of content section they’d like. You can see Moz’s “News & Press” page for an example of this type of content area.

When it’s easier for news outlets and others to find your company announcements, they are much more likely to find and link to them more quickly and easily. It’s all about getting users the information they need quickly.


If your executive leadership team agrees to it, working with other organizations that cater to your same target audience but aren’t competitors can be a great way to get more exposure (and traffic) to your brand. Partnerships can entail sending a dedicated email about the other brand to your email list (and they do the same), or collaborating on a promotion through other marketing channels (such as blog posts, white papers, or videos) to get more leads and engagement.

Many organizations still buy backlinks, but in my experience, this is a risky and low ROI strategy. Companies that offer this can’t promise backlinks from high-quality places, and the ones that do may be using nefarious tactics (such as not fully disclosing links in the content they are sharing with the other website to get a link). It’s usually best to think of link building as an inbound strategy, rather than outbound.

Partnerships can be fruitful, but it takes it a lot of planning to make them reputable and pay off for both sides of the deal.

The end game: Optimization to drive results

From on-page optimization to working on your backlink strategy, SEO is truly a sum of its parts: it’s only as good as each component. To see where you’re making the most headway, all of the above efforts need to be tracked properly with accurate revenue attribution so you can see where SEO is moving the needle for your B2B organization. To learn more about measuring and analyzing results, visit the measuring success chapter in Moz’s ‘Beginner’s Guide to SEO’ and learn more about measuring organic search traffic quality from Adriana Stein.

Once you have a good understanding of where SEO is making the most impact, you can choose what to prioritize in upcoming quarters and long-term future planning. This can help your B2B SEO efforts compound over time, as most parts of SEO utilize one another to work more effectively. For example, a better site architecture and experience will likely lead to more users linking to your content. Make sure you have a well-rounded program to ensure better results over time.

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MARKETING vs What’s the Difference?


on vs What’s the Difference?

WordPress is one of the best website-building tools available, but it can be tricky to figure out how to use it for your purposes best. One of the most confusing parts of using this tool is deciding between vs vs image shows a laptop with gears on the screen and a tab button


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What Apple’s Vision Pro means for AR and VR marketing



What Apple’s Vision Pro means for AR and VR marketing

Apple’s Vision Pro. Image: Apple.

This week Apple announced the Vision Pro headset, available early next year. Here’s what we know so far about the device and what this means for marketers experimenting with AR and VR engagement.

“Spatial computing” and AR. The use cases demoed at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) show augmented reality (AR) experiences where users interface with a digital layer on top of their real-world environment.

What this means practically is that users will be able to select and run apps from menus they see floating in their living room, office or other real-world environment. They’ll use voice commands, subtle hand gestures and eye movements to manipulate these objects and apps.

VR. Users will also be able to select virtual environments and adjust how much of their display is taken up by those environments. This means that Vision Pro users will also have the capability to plug into full VR experiences should they so choose.

Media. Vision Pro users will be able to watch movies and other streaming content. The improvement with the Vision Pro over TV screens is that these shows can take up a user’s full field of vision on their headset display. Content made or adapted for this system can also take advantage of the Vision Pro’s “spatial audio” sound, which promises to make it feel like sounds are coming naturally from the environment around the user.

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Why we care. Apple has held off on getting into the AR/VR space while Meta struggled over the last two years to get headsets and the “metaverse” to seem cool and get widely adopted. Marketers remember the watershed moment when Apple’s iPhone spawned the mobile marketing ecosystem, and therefore there’s good reason to wait until Apple throws their hat in the ring.

It’s also worth noting that many AR experiences already exist using smartphone apps. The Vision Pro will make AR wearable, and if done right, will make these experiences more intuitive with natural eye moments and hand gestures.

Dig deeper: What marketers need to know about the metaverse, Web 3.0 and NFTs.

Price point. The Vision Pro is priced at $3,499. To give some perspective, that’s about half the current price of Apple’s newest Mac Pro. Back in 1984, the first Macintosh started at $2,495, which is over $7,000 in 2023 dollars.

Consumers who buy the Vision Pro will be spending three times more than what an iPhone costs. Businesses that want to equip their employees with Vision Pros will have to invest sizable budgets on par with new laptops or other significant hardware upgrades.

Consumer and B2B adoption. Being able to watch popular shows might be a gateway for consumers to adopt the new device and begin to explore AR and VR applications. Another adoption strategy is for people who use VR at work to bring the devices home. This explains Meta’s push for using their Meta Quest Pro headset for videoconferencing and other business uses.

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Apple’s WWDC presentation showed how the Vision Pro uses machine learning to create a lifelike 3D model of a user’s face so that users can videoconference without their headsets being seen. This might be a more acceptable alternative to virtual meetings using cartoony avatars.

“Businesses are at a point where they want to get started with VR technology,” said Rolf Illenberger, CEO of enterprise VR platform VRdirect. “People in the office are asking about it. What’s missing is a general decision about which ecosystem to use.”

The Vision Pro inaugurates a new operating system, visionOS and a new Vision app store, where users will be able to access an anticipated flood of AR and VR apps.

AR and VR in marketing. Businesses in a number of verticals are adopting or considering VR for training and safety initiatives, Illenberger said. Widespread adoption for more general uses like virtual meetings is still several years away.

AR will likely be the first channel to get enough users to be of interest to marketers.

“There is a logical progression from AR marketing to VR marketing,” said Darwin Liu, founder and CEO of ecommerce services company X Agency. ”One needs to take off before the other one can. I expect AR marketing to really take off in the next 2-4 years and VR marketing to become important in 4-7 years.”

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When enough customers are using a specific VR ecosystem, it will be important for brands to create a presence within it. This is still a far cry from an interoperable “metaverse” where users can jump from space to space seamlessly and bring digital assets with them to spend on merchandise wherever they want to. The customers that use visionOS will be within Apple’s walled garden. The price to reach them will likely be a steep one.

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