Following on from part 2 of this series on mobile game monetization, which you can read here, we will cover everything you need to know about in-game ads and how to properly leverage them without putting off your players.
In-Game Advertising: The Process Behind It
Wondering how exactly you get ads to appear in your game? The ad-serving process happens through an ad network. This is a platform that connects publishers and advertisers.
In an ad network, publishers post whenever they have space they want to fill out with ads. The advertisers then bid on those ad placements hoping to win the ad slot. Finally, the ad network then picks out the winning ad. Ad networks should aim to bring the publisher as much revenue as possible.
There is one mobile game metric that reflects the revenue earned from ads – eCPM. All publishers looking to make money from ad monetization need to understand this metric. eCPM stands short for effective cost per mile. Basically, it shows the amount of money a publisher earns for one thousand ad impressions (An impression is counted every time an ad appears on the users’ screens).
Generally, when it comes to eCPMs, the rule is – the higher they are, the better.
Mobile Game Ad Formats
There are different types of in-game ads you can use, and they are called ad formats. Publishers can use one or more ad formats at the same time. Moreover, it’s important to mention that different ad formats come with different average eCPMs. This means that some of them have a higher money-making potential for the publisher.
Let’s go over the top five ad formats in mobile games:
You know those ads that suddenly appear during the game and take over the whole screen? This is an ad format called interstitial ads. They can be either static or dynamic (interstitial video ads). These ads typically appear where the gameplay naturally pauses. For example, in between levels or stages.
After watching the ad (e.g., 10 seconds), players can exit the ad and come back to gameplay. Game publishers need to be careful with this ad format because players often find them disruptive and annoying. Finally, the eCPMs for this ad format are solid, averaging from $4 to $6.
Rewarded Video Ads
Rewarded video ads are the opt-in ad format. Unlike interstitial ads, players aren’t obliged to watch them. Instead, they voluntarily choose to do so. When players watch these ads, they get a reward in return. For example, in-game items, currency, lives, points, etc. Whatever fits the gameplay.
The fact that players choose to watch rewarded ads is what makes them such a popular ad format for not only monetizing a game but boosting engagement and retention as well. It’s not surprising that as many as 68% of players like this format.
Just like interstitial ads, rewarded video ads take over the users’ whole screens. However, players have to watch the entire ad if they want to receive the reward. It’s up to the game publisher to decide how many rewarded ads players can watch in a set amount of time to keep game resources balanced.
The eCPM range for this ad format is from $10 to $50, which is better than most other ad formats. Rewarded video ads are the most popular ad format among game developers – 82% of developers use them.
Playable ads are an interactive ad format that allows users to play the advertised game. More precisely, a mini version of the game. This way, players can try the game out before deciding to install it. Basically, playable ads are a type of interstitial ads. Since they are interactive and engaging, they bring publishers higher eCPMs than interstitial ads.
As a game publisher, it can be tricky to display this type of ads, as some of them may be from your competitors.
Banner ads are the oldest ad format on this list, and they are not as popular as they used to be. Banners are rectangular ads that appear in specified areas of the players’ screens during gameplay. For example, on the top or bottom of the screen. They are static and usually contain text or images.
As they appear, banner ads remain in their placements for the whole time players use that screen. Banner ads are not well known for high eCPMs, so they are usually combined with other ad formats.
Offerwalls are another opt-in ad format. This ad format looks like a mini shop inside the game. In an offerwall, players get a “wall” of actions they can complete to earn in-game rewards.
For example, players may be asked to complete a survey, install another game, or make an in-app purchase in another game. Offerwalls are the ad format that comes with the highest eCPMs for publishers.
This pretty much covers everything you need to know about in-game ads. In the next and last part of this series, we’ll be going over the various subscription models you can use to boost monetization further. We’ll see you there!