First Update to Intrinsic In-Game Standards Released Since 2009

IAB Releases Intrinsic In-Game (IIG) Measurement Guidelines Promotional Image

Gaming has been a major form of entertainment for decades. It is estimated that over 215 million Americans game, and globally that number will reach 3+ billion by 2023. In addition, gamers spend an average of 16.5 hours per week gaming and contrary to outdated stereotypes about gamers, and 45% of gamers are female.

With over 80% of Gen Z considering themselves gamers, we’re marching towards ubiquity. It will become as odd to describe consumers as ‘Gamers’ as it is to call consumers ‘Video-watchers’. We’re also seeing the gaming consumption habits of Gen Z as a more steady-state throughout the day compared to the consumption peaks and troughs seen in older generations1. These ‘always-on’ gaming consumption habits of Gen Z indicate that gaming is permeating everyday life and is culturally becoming an interaction language that facilitates the connection between physical and digital worlds.

Despite this reach and depth of engagement, marketers have been slow to tap into this attention oasis with advertising in games accounting for less than 6% of total digital ad spend. This is shifting. Just as we could no longer ignore the consumer time and attention going to mobile, it’s becoming hard to ignore gaming as a way to reach and connect with the next generation of household decision makers.

Some factors bringing gaming to the forefront for marketers.

During the pandemic, consumers turned to gaming to fill the void left by other forms of entertainment, escape stress, and to connect socially with others. Gaming also provided a way to digitize, and scale shared cultural moments when the physical world was in lockdown. With artists like Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, and Marshmallow hosting concerts in gaming environments and major brands like Balenciaga, Gucci, and North Face all collaborating with gaming publishers, gaming is increasingly being seen as a mainstream platform that ditches outdated stereotypes.

Alongside shifts in cultural perceptions of gaming, technological advances in the way ads can be inserted more seamlessly into games is helping erode some of the publisher and consumer resistance to ads in games. Add to this the excitement around the Metaverse and what it means for the evolution of brand interactions with consumers, it has become increasingly important to lay the groundwork of consistent and clear measurement guidelines to support the growth of advertising in gaming.

The updated intrinsic in-game measurement guidelines.

Intrinsic in-game ads refers to native in-game or in-play ads that are placed ‘in the game’ enabling a seamless part of the gameplay environment. When we first released in-game ad measurement standards in 2009, video games and advertising technology were in a vastly different stage of development and the concept of ad viewability had not been developed. The 2022 updated intrinsic in-game guidelines intend to bring measurement up to par with the rest of digital media by addressing ad viewability, measurement, inactivity, and fraud with respect to intrinsic in-game ads.

The updated IIG measurement standards:

  • Re-examines the 10-second cumulative exposure duration for counting a valid impression including “sight, sound, and motion”, as well as 3D and virtual environments.
  • Incorporates new advertising formats beyond two-dimensional and video as it relates to viewability within in-game environments.
  • Defines in-game measurement terms (impressions, reach / frequency, and engagement) to align with broader cross-channel measurement efforts.

The project was a joint effort between the IAB Experience Center, the IAB Tech Lab and the Media Rating Council (MRC), with considerable input from members of IAB UK and a task force of prominent in-game ad companies, brands, and agencies.

IAB Members can download the Guidelines here.


Zoe Soon
Vice President, Experience Center
at IAB