Game genre and monetization: Maximizing ad revenue from all your titles (VB Live)
December 18, 2020
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Presented by Facebook Audience Network

How do you maximize the revenue impact of in-game advertising? In this VB Live event, experts present research and analyst reports covering everything from the best ad formats for most game types, an in-depth look at rewarded video, how to test ads, and more.

Access free on demand.

How do you create the right ad experience for users in your game and genre? For every game, the experience is different, so the in-app monetization strategy should also be different. Hypercasual developers might be making money through in-app ads, but hardcore gamers are less likely to accept interstitials, banners, or irrelevant rewarded video, and will churn out. So how do you create the best ad experience for your users while generating the revenue you want to see?

“A 2020 report by App Annie shows that, across all genres and countries, mobile games saw an increase in both monthly active users and downloads after installing an ad SDK,” says Hahn Kim, strategic partner manager at Facebook Audience Network.

That statistic isn’t skewed by the growth in hypercasual and casual games, he says. According to a separate AppAnnie study, 76% of player time spent was in core games. In addition, more than 70% of hardcore gamers are okay with rewarded video ads, or like rewarded video ads, according to IDC’s gamer survey published earlier this year.

“Depending on the genre, but more importantly, depending on how the user plays the game, in-app ad monetization strategies need to be customized in order to maximize revenue without hurting the player experience,” Kim says.

“A lot of game developers have built their monetization strategy around IAP,” says Kiel LeBaron, senior director of ad monetization at Jam City, “but rewarded video is a win-win-win for players, for game developers, and for advertisers. That potentially changes the landscape for ad monetization strategies across genres.”

Rewarded video

 It’s become very clear that the rewarded video is the one common format that works well across all genres. It’s an opt-in experience offering users the choice to watch a video in exchange for something of value to them. When rewarded video is implemented well, the format offers a clear value exchange between players and publishers, as well as advertisers.

“Many developers feel that by giving something away, they can hurt their in-app purchase revenue, but this actually couldn’t be further from the truth,” Kim says. “More than 79% of developers surveyed said that rewarded video is actually their most successful format, and that it can help with game metrics like retention, and even encourage in-app purchases.”

However, these rewards must be balanced, both in how many ads a user is offered, to avoid hurting the player experience, as well as the rewards given, to avoid cannibalizing in-app purchases.

Rewarded video best practices

Essentially, there are three key elements to consider for successful rewarded video: what, where, and how. Specifically, what players receive in exchange for their time; where to insert rewarded video into your game; and how to get players to engage.

In all of these, you have to consider the player experience in your game. Player churn happens when a level is too difficult, when a player doesn’t want to make a purchase, or when they have to wait to unlock gameplay. Consider how you can build entry points that alleviate these challenges to make rewarded video ads more interesting. The most common application of this is offering things such as currency, items, or lives, but some developers are offering innovative new enticements, like trials of features, or even decreased wait times.

From casual to casino: Best entry points

Casual games: One of the most common and popular entry points for casual games is an out-of-lives rewarded video placement. It offers the ability for the user to watch an ad to get a life and continue playing the game, which leads to increased session times while also generating revenue. Another example is the boost reward or power-ups being offered before new levels to help players progress through a game more rapidly, especially for difficult levels. This can help keep the player in the game and avoid frustrating them into churn.

Hardcore and mid-core games: Rewarded video placements work best when they’re integrated into the core loop of the game, such as the pre-post session, where a placement can offer a video ad incentive for a player to multiply their points or earnings after they complete a level. By integrating at a natural break point in the game, the user is more likely to opt in, and by multiplying their existing points or earning, you can help them achieve milestones and go further in the game faster.

Another example is the daily mission or the mailbox. By integrating rewarded video into the daily missions, a publisher can monetize almost every active user. This integration is highly prominent at app launch, and can help with app retention by incentivizing users to return to the game every day, knowing they can always achieve one item on their daily missions.

Social casino: Speed-up placements in social casino games also common. Many offer free currency every day for logging in, but with a cooldown. Instead of offering rewarded video directly in exchange for currency, by offering to speed up the wait time, you avoid giving away too much currency and potentially affecting your in-app purchase revenue.

No matter the genre, the rewards of mobile game advertising are growing big. For more on planning your ad implementation, building in a testing and optimization framework, A/B testing best practices, finding the right network partners, and more, access this VB Live event.

Access on demand right here.

In this webinar you’ll learn:

  • Insights into in-app ad success by genre
  • The best rewarded video entry points for each game genre
  • How to leverage common A/B testing methods
  • How to make sure ad integrations complement in-app purchases
  • How leading publishers test and prove the revenue potential of ads


  • Kiel LeBaron, Senior Director, Ad Monetization, Jam City
  • Hahn Kim, Strategic Partner Manager, Facebook Audience Network
  • Emma Bullen, Product Marketing Manager, Hyper Hippo Entertainment (moderator)
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