How does eCPM differ on mobile devices

Mobile ads: the key to monetizing game apps

Are you looking to generate more revenue from your mobile game? By monetizing with in-app advertising, you can offer your users free gaming fun and generate sales in the process. In this guide, you'll learn why many developers choose to monetize with ads and learn best practices for implementing ads in mobile games.

Why do developers use mobile advertising to monetize their games?

Users expect free games

Developers use different strategies such as subscriptions and in-app purchases to monetize their games. With the latter, users pay for features that give them certain advantages in the game. However, this option is only used by a small proportion of users each month. This is why game developers are increasingly relying on mobile advertising to open up new sources of revenue.

Ads in mobile games are a win-win for everyone involved

Many users cannot afford or are unwilling to pay for mobile games or in-app purchases. That's why more and more advertisers are turning to ads to monetize their apps. Advertising in mobile apps is a win-win for everyone involved: developers, users and advertisers. Developers can generate the revenue they need to produce new content. Users can enjoy free games, which has a positive effect on user interest and loyalty. And advertisers get the opportunity to acquire new customers with specially targeted and relevant advertisements.

Advertising in games for mobile devices can be combined with other monetization models

In-app advertising not only enables the delivery of free content, it is also a highly flexible model that goes hand-in-hand with other revenue sources such as in-app purchases. More and more developers are realizing that ads combined with in-app purchases can help drive sales. In addition, premium ads are ideal for giving users a preview of paid in-app items and thus encouraging non-paying users to make purchases. So-called hybrid monetization models had an increase of over 50% in the past year.1 In the next section, you'll learn why game developer Avid.ly chose in-app advertising.

Avid.ly: In-app purchases and mobile advertising lead to success together

Chinese developer Avid.ly was looking for a way to increase revenue by monetizing non-paying players. Avid.ly's over 50 games are played by more than 2 million users every day. However, in-app purchases are made by a relatively small percentage of users, so the company considered in-app advertising as a new source of revenue. With the help of AdMob, static interstitial and banner ads were implemented in some of Avid.ly's apps, while a strategy was worked out so that the addition of the new in-app advertisements would not jeopardize the in-app purchase flow.

When AdMob was expanded to include premium ads in the summer of 2016, Avid.ly decided to test the new type of ad in some of its mobile games. The initial concern that premium ads could negatively impact in-app purchase revenue turned out to be unfounded. In fact, the opposite was true. In one of the games, average revenue per user increased by 40%, revenue from in-app purchases increased by 18% and session duration increased by 20%. Given these impressive results, Avid.ly decided to introduce premium ads in all of its mobile games.

Best practices for choosing the right ad format for your game

Ready to run mobile ads in your own games? AdMob offers a variety of flexible, unobtrusive, and powerful ad formats that will perfectly suit your game.

Banner ads are easy to use and a great introduction to mobile advertising. Interstitial ads fill the screen. Rewarded ads make a big impact by providing users with in-game rewards. If your most important concern is that the ad design matches your content, then native ads are ideal for you. The individual formats have different effects on the gaming experience. AdMob therefore offers various options for testing and analyzing ad formats and their effect on users. The next section tells you which format is best for your apps.

More impressions with user-friendly banner ads

What is a banner ad? Banner ads are rectangular and can be anchored in a free area at the bottom or top of the screen or displayed in a title screen or at the end of a level. Banner ads can contain text, images, or a video.

When are banner ads used? Banner ads are easy to implement. They go well with casual and single-screen games as it is usually easy to reserve part of the screen for advertising. Banner ads ensure maximum advertising impact with minimal disruption to the player. The display area is automatically updated at the optimal interval, which results from the analysis of previous data. In this way, the user always sees up-to-date, attractive ads that complement the gaming experience. And thanks to the "Smart Banner" function of AdMob, the size of the banner is automatically adapted to different devices. Smart banners occupy the entire width of the screen and a height proportional to the height of the screen, so that the ads can be delivered to different device sizes and formats without additional adjustment effort.

Best practices for implementing banner ads:

  • Banner ads are placed at the top or bottom of the app's screen and should be clearly separated from the actual game. For example, you can separate the display from all interactive elements. This works very well by drawing a frame line between the game and the display.
  • With a banner anchored at the top or bottom of the screen, you can use the "Smart-Banner" function of AdMob to automatically adjust the banner size to the screen size (smartphone, tablet, etc.) or orientation (portrait or landscape) of different devices.
  • If you are not using the "Smart Banner" feature and would like to set the size of the banner ad manually, you must select a size that gives the best effect. For advertising spaces with a fixed size, 320 × 50 pixel banners have proven to be particularly effective. For larger devices such as tablets, you can use the 728 × 90 format.
  • Large banners should be placed on the title or home screen if there is enough space. The 300 × 250 format has proven to be particularly effective in these placements.
  • Don't forget to take advantage of AdMob's optimized refresh rate to maximize your revenue by choosing the best viewing interval based on past performance.

Engage mobile gamers with interactive interstitial ads

What is an interstitial ad? Interstitial ads take up the entire screen. AdMob supports all types of interstitial formats, including interactive creatives and video ads. Users can close interstitial ads at any time.

When are interstitial ads used? Interstitial ads are easy to implement and have no effect on the game layout because they fill the screen. They are good for games with transitions between different types of content when users need to take a short break, which creates a good opportunity for a commercial to be displayed. Interstitial ads generally generate fewer impressions than banner ads, but deliver a significantly higher cost per 1000 impressions (CPM) and thus an overall higher ad revenue.

Best practices for implementing interstitial ads:

  • Think about how the game is set up and played. Interstitial ads go well with natural transitions in the game, for example when a new level or screen is loaded.
  • Interstitial ad creatives should be loaded and cached in good time so that they can be displayed immediately when the user reaches the transition point.
  • Also pay attention to what expectations the user has when the interstitial ad is displayed. For example, don't show an interstitial ad when the user is likely to type next, for example at the beginning of a level. Users find it annoying when an ad unexpectedly appears and they actually want to play.
  • Don't overwhelm users with too many ads. AdMob's frequency capping limits the number of interstitials that a user can see in a certain period of time. You determine the optimal frequency capping by starting with a small number and then slowly increasing the frequency until the optimal value for your game levels off. This way you can introduce advertising in your games without affecting user loyalty.

Target users effectively with native ads

What is a native ad? Native ads can be customized to match the design, layout and content of the game. Native ads usually have an image or video as the main asset with an accompanying text for the campaign.

When are native ads used? Because they are tailored to the look and feel of an application, native ads can reduce user churn and increase long-term value. Native displays are good for most uses; All you have to do is be ready to take the necessary steps to customize and create a beautiful ad layout.

Best practices for implementing native ads:

  • Customize the display to match the type of content. Design native ads to match the content around them, using visual aids such as colors, bumps, or shadows to differentiate between elements. All native ads must contain an ad label and the AdChoices icon and should not be confused with navigation buttons.
  • Present a clear call-to-action and make it easier for users to interact.
  • Use MediaView to show the main asset of a native ad. This allows both video and image assets to be rendered successfully.
  • Think about how you will integrate the ads. Native ads are best shown when users are reading the text on the screen, rather than when they are preoccupied with the main purpose of the application. Common ways to incorporate native ads into games include placing ads in a menu, on a home screen before starting the game, or on a storefront between in-app purchase and upgrade options.

Reward gamers with bonus ads and keep them in the game

What is a reward ad? This is an ad that users can choose to interact with in order to receive a reward in the app. The rewards can range from extended playtime to power-ups to features that are normally only available via in-app purchases. Premium ads render video ads and interactive ads, such as: B. Playable Ads.

What are the advantages of premium ads? With rewarded ads, users have control over how the ad is handled: they decide whether to interact with the ad in order to receive a reward. This ad format is becoming more and more popular in games because it can enormously increase the interest of the users and at the same time the turnover of the developers. In the past year, the number of apps that use rewarded ads has increased four times.2 This ad format typically has the highest eCPM because user interest and performance are extremely high. However, the impression volume is directly linked to the opt-in rate of the user. Therefore, rewarded ads will only deliver great performance if you offer valuable rewards at the right time.

Best practices for implementing rewarded ads:

  • Think about when and where your users might be interested in interacting with an ad for a reward. Also, think about the amount and type of rewards that might be most suitable. For example, you can give the user a life and let them continue playing at a certain point so that they don't have to start a level all over again. Or you can offer bonus points in progressive games with which users can make progress faster.
  • Use premium ads as a complement to in-app purchases. Some developers have succeeded by making items available to users that are usually only available through in-app purchases. Once users have "sniffed" the premium version of the application, they are more willing to make in-app purchases in the future.
  • Experiment with different types and amounts of rewards until you find the right implementation for the game. A robust A / B test solution such as Firebase Remote Config can be used for such experiments.
  • Finally, as with interstitial ads, make sure your ads are pre-fetched so they're buffered and ready when the user taps them.

Combine different ad formats

Many game developers combine multiple ad formats to maximize revenue. You can e.g. For example, you can simultaneously place banner ads at the bottom of your game's screen, show interstitial ads at the end of each level, and offer extra lives or bonus points through ads with rewards. With Google AdMob, you can increase your sales and concentrate fully on game development.

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