Gaming is a massive entertainment category – an activity that a whopping 90% of Gen Z participates in – but brands are still allocating less than 5% of their media budgets toward the sector. This gap is a big reason why the IAB’s Playfront event is back this year in New York. According to Zoe Soon, who lead’s the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, the show, which takes place March 8 and 9 is aimed at educating marketers while helping to make it easier for them to get started by establishing more basic standards and even traditional ad units.

“The biggest obstacle has been misperceptions about audience,” she said. “People still think of the gamers as the 22-year old in a hoodie in their parents’ basement. That’s far from true…we’re really working hard at chipping away at those misperceptions.”

Plus, according to Soon, in-game advertising executions are a great way for marketers to prepare for advertising in the metaverse, once more immersive forms of media become the norm. “If you think of Gen Alpha and Gen Z, they are being born into immersive worlds. They are the generation of Roblox and Fortnite and Minecraft.”

“If brands aren’t willing to try gaming to reach audiences now, what hope do they have of reaching future generations.”