IAB Compass: Navigating Gaming


How to get the most out of IAB Compass

Between them, AR/VR, connected TV, gaming and shoppable advertising are providing advertisers with new and exciting ways to bring brands to life, resonate with consumers, and drive sales. IAB Compass is your essential manual to understanding the future of these four channels and how you can harness them most effectively.

Download the full report or use this page as a way to find out more about forecasts and actionable recommendations.

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The findings in under 3 minutes

Gaming usage amongst UK adults

Over 60%

of UK adults play games

7hrs 33mins

spent playing games per week, on average


spent on gaming ads in the UK in 2021

Gaming forecast

We forecast UK gaming advertising spend to reach £1.84bn by 2026, potentially higher or lower depending on adoption of native formats in mobile gaming and the extent to which PC/console gaming embraces advertising.

Considering the potential developments in the market, we’ve outlined three scenarios for how gaming advertising may develop including a Base Case, a more optimistic High Growth Case, and a less optimistic Low Growth Case.

Under the Base Case, gaming advertising would reach £1.84bn by 2026, driven mostly by growth in mobile gaming. This is the most likely scenario.

Under the High Growth Case, gaming advertising would reach £2.06bn, with higher growth in PC/console to £0.32bn (15% of total vs 5% in Base Case). Under the Low Growth Case it would reach £1.65bn, with growth mostly in mobile gaming.

To find out more about the forecasting please see page 24 of the full report, which contains more detail.

How much could advertisers be investing gaming by 2026?


Base Case


High Growth Case


Low Growth Case

The gaming opportunity & what to do next

Gaming is a major opportunity to reach large and diverse audiences with a range of creative options - and for many advertisers it is untapped.

High uptake of gaming among the UK population means most advertisers will be able to reach their target audiences, including harder to reach groups. There are easy points of entry using existing creative, but also considerable creative freedom for those more adventurous.

With newer native ad formats emerging and more developers likely to incorporate advertising, inventory is set to grow. Relatively low uptake by advertisers as a whole means a less crowded space than some other digital ad markets.


What should advertisers & agencies do?

Given the scale and varied nature of the opportunity, we recommend those new to gaming engage with suppliers and find specialists to help them navigate the gaming market, as well as starting with relatively simple campaigns.

Building on this, advertisers should explore the wider creative potential of gaming, developing approaches to drive scale and measure results effectively.

Recommendations for advertisers & agencies

  • Build understanding of the gaming opportunity
  • Find gaming specialists
  • Start simple before expanding creatively
  • Develop approaches to drive scale
  • Develop measurement for new types of ad activity

To find out more about the recommendations please see page 28 of the full report, which contains more detail

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Gaming advertising has come on leaps and bounds. A few years ago I would have thought of banner ads, now it’s rewarded video ads, audio ads, ads within the game play... and there are dedicated gaming platforms to manage campaigns for you and provide assurance about where ads are placed, that they are seen and so on.

Media agency, Head of Digital

Explore IAB Compass in full

  1. Executive summary
  2. The evolution of gaming
  3. What is gaming advertising?
  4. Consumer uptake of gaming
  5. Advertiser uptake of gaming
  6. Challenges in gaming adoption
  7. Current spend on gaming advertising Future developments in gaming
  8. Gaming advertising forecast
  9. The gaming opportunity and what to do next

Download the full report to explore the following chapters on gaming, as well as what to expect in AR/VR, CTV and shoppable advertising


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