Game in the Game: Examining In-App Advertising in Mobile Sports Games

Arif Yüce, Ümit Can Büyükakgül, Hakan Katırcı


The purpose of this study is to examine in-app advertisement within mobile games and the content of the advertisement. The universe of this study is sports game applications under games category in Apple Store. The sample is 32 sports games that were selected by random sampling method among popular games listed under sports category in Apple Store. Determined advertisements were analysed with the content analysis method. As a result of the research; it has been determined that sports games that are examined under mobile applications, primarily contain in-app advertisements for strategy, shopping, casino and bank applications, and games. Accordingly, more than half of the ads in evaluated mobile sports games were about mobile games and in-apps about mobile sports games were less. When in-app games were investigated in terms of appearance on screen, the great majority of mobile sport game ads were interstitial ads. As a conclusion; in spite of the changes in entertainment concept as a result of the developments in mobile technology, it has been determined that sport is used as direct or indirect marketing material as it is in the approach of traditional sports marketing. The implications from this research include a better understanding of how in-app advertising is being used to sports marketing and marketing communication.



Mobile games; In-app advertising; Mobile sports game


Armstrong, L., Philips, J.G., & Sailing, L.L. (2000). Potential determinants of heavier internet usage. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 53(4), 537- 550.

Bauer, H.H., Reichardt, T., Barnes, S.J., & Neumann, M.M. (2005). Driving consumer acceptance of mobile marketing: A theoretical framework and empirical study, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 6(3), 181-192.

Becker, K. (2007). Digital game‐based learning once removed: Teaching teachers. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(3), 478-488.

Bhave, K., Jain, V., & Roy, S. (2013). Understanding the orientation of gen Y toward mobile applications and in-app advertising in India. International Journal of Mobile Marketing, 8(1).

Brozovic, I. (2015, November). Digital relationship marketing. Retrieved from

Brustein, J. (2013, September). The profitable future of free mobile apps. Retrieved from find-revenue-in-in-app-purchases#r=nav-r-story

Bunce, A (2016, July). What does it mean to be mobile first? Retrieved from Carbonara, C.P. (2014, September). A microcosm of change: The impact of the videogame industry on social networking and the consumer media experience. Proceedings of annual IEEE international symposium on consumer electronics. Berlin, Germany: IEEE Explore Library.

Chae, M., & Kim, J. (2013). What’s so different about the mobile internet?, Communications of the ACM, 46(12), 241-247.

Cheung, M.F., & To, W.M. (2017). The influence of the propensity to trust on mobile users' attitudes toward in-app advertisements: An extension of the theory of planned behaviour. Computers in Human Behaviour, 76, 102-111.

Chou, H. Y., & Wang, S.S. (2016). The effects of happiness types and happiness congruity on game app advertising and environments. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 20, 1-14. comScore. (2017). The 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report. New York: comScore.

De Vallois, G. (2016, December). Mobile gaming: the future of entertainment, and why advertisers should enter play. Retrieved from

Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey (2016). Retrievedfrom

Figge, S. (2004). Situation-dependent services—a challenge for mobile network operators. Journal of Business Research, 57(12), 1416-1422.

Fuksa, M. (2013). Mobile technologies and services development impact on mobile Internet usage in Latvia. Procedia Computer Science, 26 (1), 41-50

Garris, M. & Mishra, K. (2015). A beginner’s guide to mobile marketing. New York: Business Expert Press.

Goggin, G., & Spurgeon, C. (2007). Premium rate culture: The new business of mobile interactivity. New Media & Society, 9(5), 753-770.

Gui, J., Nagappan, M., & Halfond, W.G. (2017). What aspects of mobile ads do users care about? An empirical study of mobile in-app ad reviews. arXiv preprint arXiv:1702.07681.

Hanley, M., & Boostrom Jr, R.E. (2011). How the smartphone is changing college student mobile content usage and advertising acceptance: An IMC perspective. International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications, 3(2), 49-64.

Hao, L., Guo, H., & Easley, R.F. (2017). A mobile platform's in‐app advertising contract under agency pricing for app sales. Production and Operations Management, 26(2), 189-202.

Ho, H.Y., & Syu, L.Y. (2010, February). Uses and gratifications of mobile application users. Proceedings of international conference on electronics and information engineering (pp. 315-319). Singapore.

Hsiao, K.L. (2017). Compulsive mobile application usage and technostress: the role of personality traits. Online Information Review, 41(2), 272-295.

Hung, W.H., Chen, K., & Lin, C.P. (2015). Does the proactive personality mitigate the adverse effect of technostress on productivity in the mobile environment?. Telematics and Informatics, 32(1), 143-157.

Ickin, S., Wac, K., Fiedler, M., Janowski, L., Hong, J. H., & Dey, A. (2012). Factors influencing quality of experience of commonly used mobile applications. IEEE Communications Magazine, 50(4), 48-56.

Isaac, O., Abdullah, Z., Ramayah, T., & Mutahar, A.M. (2017). Internet usage, user satisfaction, task-technology fit, and performance impact among public sector employees in Yemen. The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, 34(3), 210-241.

Jeong, E.J., & Kim, D.J. (2009). Definitions, key characteristics, and generations of mobile games. In D. Taniar (Ed.), Mobile computing: concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications (pp. 289-295). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Kang, S.J., Ha, J.P., & Hambrick, M.E. (2015). A mixed-method approach to exploring the motives of sport-related mobile applications among college students. Journal of Sport Management, 29(3), 272-290.

Khalaf, S. (2016). Media, productivity & emojis give mobile another stunning growth year. Flurry by Yahoo.

Khalaf, S. (2017). On their tenth anniversary, mobile apps started to eat their own. Flurry by Yahoo.

Khalid, H., Shihab, E., Nagappan, M., & Hassan, A.E. (2015). What do mobile app users complain about? IEEE Software, 32(3), 70-77.

Kim, E., Lin, J. S., & Sung, Y. (2013). To app or not to app: Engaging consumers via branded mobile apps. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 13(1), 53-65.

Koetsier, J., (2014, April). 300M downloads and $600M in revenue say Google is the ‘loser’s choice’ in mobile games monetization. Retrieved from

Kozlenkova, I.V., Palmatier, R.W., Fang, E., & Xiao, B. (2017). Online relationship formation. Journal of Marketing, 81(3), 21-40.

Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content Analysis: An Introduction to its methodology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Krum, C. (2010). Mobile marketing: finding your customers no matter where they are.Indiana: Pearson Education.

Lee, W.P. (2007). Deploying personalized mobile services in an agent-based environment. Expert Systems with Applications, 32(4), 1194-1207.

Leppäniemi, M., Sinisalo, J. & Karjaluoto, H. (2006). A review of mobile marketing research, International Journal of Mobile Marketing, 1(1), 30-40.

Leung, L., & Lee, P.S. (2005). Multiple determinants of life quality: the roles of Internet activities, use of new media, social support, and leisure activities. Telematics & Informatics, 22(3), 161-180.

Logan, K. (2017). Attitudes towards in-app advertising: a uses and gratifications perspective. International Journal of Mobile Communications, 15(1), 26-48.

Manovich, L. (2001), The Language of new media. Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Miles, M, B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

MMA Mobile Marketing Industry Glossary (2008).Retrieved from

Mobile Marketing Association MMA (2013). The Mobile Marketing Roadmap: How Mobile is Transforming Marketing for Targeting Next Generation Consumers. Retrieved from

Moore, R.S., Stammerjohan, C.A., & Coulter, R.A. (2005). Banner advertiser-web site context congruity and color effects on attention and attitudes. Journal of Advertising, 34(2), 71-84.

Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Newman, D., Tay, L., & Diener, E. (2014). Leisure and subjective well-being: A model of psychological mechanisms as mediating factors. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(3), 555-578.

Newzoo (2017). Global Mobile Market Report. Retrieved from report/

Nielsen (2011, December). State of Media: The Mobile Media Report. Retrieved from

Nielsen (2015, November). So Many Apps, So Much More Time for Entertainment. Retrieved from apps-so-much-more-time-for-entertainment.html

Nysveen, H., Per Pedersen, E. & Thorbjørnsen, H., (2005). Intentions to use mobile services: antecedents and cross-service comparisons, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 33 (3), 330–346.

Okazaki, S., Katsukura, A., & Nishiyama, M. (2007). How mobile advertising works: The role of trust in improving attitudes and recall. Journal of Advertising Research, 47(2), 165-178.

Pasqua R. & Elkin, N. (2013). Mobile marketing: An hour a day. Indiana: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd Ed.). London: Sage Publications, Inc.

Richter, F. (2015). The fastest-growing app categories in 2015. Retrieved from

Riff, D., Lacy, S., & Fico, F. (2014). Analysing media messages: Using quantitative content analysis in research. London: Routledge.

Rowles, D. (2014). Mobile marketing: How mobile technology is revolutionizing marketing, communications, and advertising. London: Kogan Page

Russo, C., & Simeone, M. (2017). The growing influence of social and digital media: Impact on consumer choice and market equilibrium. British Food Journal, 119(8), 1766-1780.

Scharl, A., Dickinger A. & Murphy, J. (2005). Diffusion and success factors of mobile marketing, Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 4(2): 159-173.

Sivaramakrishnan, K., (2014, October). Why mobile games are shaking up the advertising business. Retrieved from

Spracklen, K. (2015). Digital leisure, the internet and popular culture: Communities and identities in a digital age. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Verberckmoes, S., Poels, K., Dens, N., Herrewijn, L., & De Pelsmacker, P. (2016). When and why is perceived congruity important for in-game advertising in fantasy games?. Computers in Human Behaviour, 64, 871-880.

Wang, H. (2017). A mobile world made of functions. APSIPA Transactions on Signal and Information Processing, 6, E2. doi:10.1017/ATSIP.2017.2

White, M.D., & Marsh, E.E. (2006). Content analysis: A flexible methodology. Library Trends, 55(1), 22-45.

Yellowlees, P.M., & Marks, S. (2007). Problematic Internet use or Internet addiction?. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(3), 1447-1453.

Yengin, D. (2015). Yeni medyanın olanakları: Semantik web, The Turkish Journal of Design, Art and Communication, 5(1), 44-53.

Ying, L., Korneliussen, T., & Grønhaug, K. (2009). The effect of ad value, ad placement and ad execution on the perceived intrusiveness of web advertisements. International Journal of Advertising, 28(4), 623-638.

Yuan, S.T., & Cheng, C. (2004). Ontology-based personalized couple clustering for heterogeneous product recommendation in mobile marketing. Expert Systems with Applications, 26(4), 461-476.

Yüce, A., Büyükakgül, Ü., Katırcı, H., & Yüce, S. G. (2018). The Other Side of The Coin: Examining Mobile Games as a Leisure Constraints. PODIUM Sport, Leisure and Tourism Review, 7(2), 193-206.

Texto completo: PDF (English)


  • Não há apontamentos.

PODIUM Sport, Leisure and Tourism Review e-ISSN: 2316-932X
Rua Vergueiro, 235/249 - Liberdade, São Paulo - SP, (Brasil). 01504-000

Licença Creative Commons
Este obra está licenciado com uma Licença 
Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial-CompartilhaIgual 4.0 Internacional.