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Sep 02
Online Game Advertising

5 targeting strategies for online game ads

Online gaming is one of the fastest-growing industries today. Especially now, with everyone inside–a study from Neilsen found that video-gaming is currently at an all-time high.

As the number of online players & games increases, marketers really have to get creative to stay in front of gaming audiences in today’s competitive market. In this post, we’ll dig into five targeting tactics you can use to up your game for online gaming advertising.

Top strategies for online game advertising

Contextual category targeting

Contextual ads can be effective for specific kinds of content, like online gaming. While there are two types, contextual category targeting works by serving ads that are relevant to the category or content on a web page. By matching ads to a page’s content, viewers see advertisements they’re more likely to be interested in.

With this strategy, you can bid on ad inventory on specific categories of websites and mobile apps. How a website is categorized is defined by the publisher.

Putting strategy into action

There are many targeting categories available within Choozle. For an online gaming campaign, you can target broad, general categories like Computer & Video Games and Online Games or categories for mobile game apps available through the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Native advertising

Native advertising takes a more subtle approach to get users to click through. Native ads are designed to match the look and feel of a publisher’s web page and usually appear in the form of recommended or sponsored content.

The key difference between native and other ad types is that native ads mimic the digital environment they’re placed in and link back to a piece of informational content–think blog posts, whitepapers–while display and banner ads are clearly separate from the surrounding content on a web page.

Putting strategy into action

With native advertising, you can create ads designed to blend into gaming websites that offer something of value, like a free trial to attract new gamers. When combined with email advertising, this tactic becomes all the more powerful.


Not everyone who visits your website will convert right away. In fact, only two percent of website traffic converts on the first visit.

Retargeting is a long-term strategy that serves as a digital reminder by keeping your ads in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website. It’s been shown that retargeting campaigns typically convert users at a higher rate than first-touch ones.

Putting strategy into action

Use retargeting to reengage gamers who came to your website to browse for games or signed up for a free game trial but didn’t buy the paid version. Offering an extra incentive, like a trial extension, can help keep them interested.

Search retargeting

With the rise in search advertising, marketers are looking for more cost-effective ways to get in front of their audience without giving up the benefits of paid search. Enter: search retargeting.

Not to be confused with site retargeting, search retargeting allows you to choose the audience you want to target based on their search behavior, and then serve up display ads on the websites they’re visiting. In effect, you’re getting the precision of search with display’s brand impact in one, single targeting tactic.

Putting strategy into action

Using this tactic, you can zero-in on gamers who are actively searching for online games and target keywords as specific as dinosaur adventure games or lego universe secrets.

Third-party data targeting

Third-party data is data gathered and aggregated from customers by a company who isn’t directly involved in the transaction. There are a few reasons why a marketer would want to tap into third-party data, such as when you want to scale your audience reach or lack enough third-party data of your own to create an audience for a campaign.

A search for “online gaming” or “online games” in Choozle’s Data Catalog yields many, many results, running the gamut from data segments based on genre, app usage to page visits, and more. For example:

  • Dstillery offers a data segment for people who’ve shown a general interest in online gaming. Some of their segments get as specific as online gaming for kids, and users likely to purchase computer games online.
  • Through Acxiom, you can access a data segment made up of online gaming enthusiasts who regularly visit websites that offer free games.
  • ShareThis has segments available for users interested in multiplayer games as well as consumers with a recent interest in online games observed from social sharing, searched page visits, and click-backs on shared pages.
  • Data Alliance has a segment for users with visits to eligible sites/apps in online gaming categories.
  • Zerotap offers a segment for users likely to be interested in casual gaming based on mobile app usage.

Ready to move up to the text level with your online game advertising? Chat with us today to get started.

Read next: Eight easy optimizations to make after launching your campaign. 

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