Ads in videogame apps: Analysis of the advertising children are exposed to when they play games on their phones



The presence of commercial content in digital games played by children is an increasingly well-established phenomenon. The aim of this paper is to analyse the type of advertising that children aged 10 to 14 years are exposed to when they play videogame apps on their smartphones, and to monitor how they interact with them. Using a non-participatory digital observation method, the study asked a sample of 45 children to make a video recording of the smartphone screen they usually used, in order to log all the content they were exposed to while playing. Over the course of a week, almost 42 hours of recordings were made, providing a study sample of 974 ads from in-game apps. Content analysis was carried out on this sample. Among the main results was that the predominant advertising format was the phone display. The genre, type of product and advertising format receiving the highest click rates were action game apps, electronic devices and video-interstitials, respectively. However, more than 90% of the ads analysed did not result in any type of interaction, confirming that interaction with advertising in a favourable context such as video games is low.


smartphone, advertising, apps, videogames, interaction, interruption


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