Of all the ways to handle mobile casual games monetization, displaying ads is definitely the most popular one. Many publishers use a “hybrid strategy” to generate revenue from both paying and non-paying users. So besides serving ads, they offer in-app purchases for players who are willing to pay for additional features.
At the beginning of this month, we attended the Israel Mobile Summit in Tel Aviv where we got the chance to listen to our client Roy Tzayag, Ilyon’s Head of Monetization, speaking about casual games monetization. The talk was so informative, we decided to share it with you!
Roy has more than 10 years of experience in the mobile industry and for the past year has been leading monetization strategy for Ilyon. The Israeli-based game studio is the developer of one of the most popular arcade and puzzle games, Bubble Shooter. But that is just one of their more than 40 games in the app store (and about 300 million installs!) The majority of Ilyon’s revenue comes from ads.
During his talk, Roy pointed out that the game industry is moving from a “push strategy” to a “pull strategy.” What does that mean? Well, publishers are moving away from formats such as interstitial and banner ads that tend to interrupt the user’s experience and instead have started adopting rewarded video and native ads that are less intrusive.
Rewarded video seems to be a win-win format for publishers and users. Players can opt-in to watch an ad and speed up their game progression, while publishers get higher CPMs.
One of the big challenges that game monetization professionals face is finding the sweet spot between monetization, retention and engagement. There is not a one-size fit all solution, but it’s crucial to design a “users first” monetization strategy.
Roy’s tip is to test different approaches to ads and “don’t take anything for granted.” Experimenting will allow you to find how to grow your ad revenue without hurting your retention and engagement metrics. Definitely worth a try.
Especially since the winning formula is different for every game, Roy’s recommendation is to try new placements and rotate current ones. Always test new formats, and segment users per ad format. Keep your focus on your top Geos and try new relevant networks. Also, you should negotiate! Bargaining should always be part of your process. And keep looking for those local gems: dedicated ad networks within your top geos.
As marketing becomes more complex and data-driven, tracking performance is mandatory. Yes, mandatory. When it comes to metrics, you need to know what to measure. It’s not all about CPM either. Track your fill rate and monitor your overall synergy, check out ARPDAU (Average Revenue Rate Per Daily Active User) and revenue per session.