As everyone involved in the mobile game industry knows, ad monetization has become critical to monetizing mobile games. And without effective monetization, no game can succeed. So how can you learn the best ways to monetize your game. At Casual Connect USA 2017, the panel discussion, The Pain and Gain of Ad Monetization – Publisher Stories, offered some important information from the publishers’ perspective of what works and what doesn’t.
Publishers experienced with ad monetization for mobile games participated as panelists. They included:
Jarrko Rajamaki, Vice President Advertising at Rovio. This is Jarrko’s second commission in this position at Rovio, heading ad monetization over the entire Rovio game portfolio. Jarrko began his career in online advertising at AOL’s European business and still proudly uses aol.com as his email address.
Dave Yonamine, Co-Founder and Chairman of Mobilityware. Dave is the primary liaison between Mobilityware and other app developers and has the primary responsibility for the company’s strategic direction. Mobilityware is a leading mobile games developer and has more than 250 million downloads across its award winning portfolio.
John Boog-Scott, Chief Operating Officer at PeopleFun. John has spent the past five years growing PeopleFun, learning the hard way what succeeds and what fails with mobile games UA and monetization. PeopleFun builds five star casual word games. John has also been a lean startup founder in many other software and games companies, including Ensemble Studios, the creators of Age of Empires.
Karim Farghaly, Director of Business Development at Bandai Namco Entertainment America for mobile platforms. Karim manages external partnerships with development studios, licencors, digital distributors and advertising platforms. Prior to BNEA Mobile, Karim held a number of executive positions in the games industry, including at Scarab, Empire and Interplay.
The panel was moderated by Ayala Rudoy, Director of Strategic Customers at SafeDK. Ayala is passionate about helping game developers ensure the ads they serve in their games don’t affect the game’s user experience, retention or revenue.
This session discussed the benefits and best practices when monetizing with ads and described the issues and main risks of displaying ads in mobile games. Watch the video of this session to learn from these experts in monetizing with ads in games.
Producing the revenue you need for a healthy company is a constant concern is a constant concern for most developers. If maximizing the revenue you can generate from mobile apps is something you want to know more about, the session at Casual Connect USA 2017, The Next Phase of Mobile App Monetization: What Developers Need to Know to Maximize Revenue, offered some important information.
Presenters at the session were Adam Carey and Boris Logvinskiy. Adam Carey, Senior Director of Ad Monetization at Sega Networks, is a specialist on ad operations, ad product, data and marketing with 18 years of experience in digital advertising. You will be especially interested to learn that he is an expert in helping companies adopt and adhere to digital advertising best practices. Boris Gogvinskiy specializes in monetizing mobile apps and heads product management for all MoPub products at Twitter. Previous roles included product management at Demandforce, which was acquired by Intuit in 2011.
New kinds opportunities have been emerging for monetizing mobile apps. Don’t miss learning about them; watch this video of the complete presentation from Casual Connect USA 2017.
Succeeding With Mobile Games for KidsMobile gaming for kids is one of the fastest growing sectors of the gaming industry, now worth $2.2 billion. Not surprisingly, many of us may want to participate in this market. But when you start, you quickly discover there are tremendous challenges, including specific regulations for children’s apps, promotion and monetization.
At Casual Connect USA 2018, Natalie Portier presented a session designed to help you by the name of Overcoming Pitfalls of Launching Kids Apps. Natalie is Chief Operating Officer at the ad mediation company Appodeal. They joined this rapidly growing company at its beginning, and is using their ten years of experience in business operations and tech development in fueling their passion for innovation and quality game development.
In this session, Natalie brought together insights from successful publishers of apps for children, legal experts and marketing agencies to help developers avoid pitfalls and succeed with the mobile games they offer for children. To learn more about the opportunities and pitfalls in mobile gaming for kids, be sure to watch this video of Natalie’s session at Casual Connect.
I try to make sure each week I have time that's blocked off to think rather than do. - Boris…Click To Tweet
At Casual Connect USA 2018, Boris Logvinskiy and Adam Carey (Senior Director of Ad Monetization at SEGA Networks) discussed MoPub’s in-app solution for the header bidding concept, called Advanced Bidding. It is a new way of allowing different demand sources to compete for the opportunity to show an ad to a user, maximizing ROI for the advertiser while also maximizing publisher revenue. During the conference, Boris said “The core tenet of Advanced Bidding is that is has to be different than Desktop and built from the ground up.” This is something Boris believes will help solve the difficulty of monetizing an app. Furthermore, “I can’t wait to explain to brand dollars the performance of Rewarded Video. You skate to where the hockey puck is going to be, and that’s in-app advertising budgets.” To learn more about how you can make this work for you, be sure to watch the video of the full session.
We believe every game is unique & there is a special audio treatment that the game deserves. -…Click To Tweet
Join the founder of Dreamcraft Music and Sound Mike Raznick at Casual Connect USA 2018 as he explains how music and sound can be leveraged towards user acquisition and monetization. He provided real world examples of effective and ineffective treatments in music and IP licensing. Mike said, “We as composers strive to create a juxtaposition in the music and sound so that it can remain fresh throughout the gaming experience. A successful audio treatment should not cause fatigue. It comes down to good audio design, highlighting another reason to bring your team in early during a project’s development cycle so that there is time to test and make changes as needed.” Hear the discussion of how to create a compelling, fun and exciting audio experience for casino games.
Successful game studios recognize and embrace the idea that games have evolved. Today’s popular games are operated as services that evolve and grow over time with new content, live events, and frequent updates. To be successful over the long term, games need to understand and segment their players, develop deep relationships, and to understand and meet the needs of multiple player segments – in other words, to excel at liveops.
If you are a developer of mobile games, monetization is your constant concern; it is critical to your success. And it will be harder for you to monetize in some markets than in others. Emerging markets may be a particular struggle for you. So, what do you need to do to be successful in these markets?
Stanislav Sychenkov, Head of Publisher Development at myTarget, is someone who knows these problems and can give you valuable information. Mail.ru launched myTarget, a mobile monetization platform. It is now a main traffic source for advertisers in Russia. Before coming to Mail.ru, Stanislav was responsible for ad monetization in Zeptolab, the creators of highly successful games such as Cut the Rope and King of Thieves.
At Casual Connect Asia Stanislav used the example of Russia to provide insights into successful monetization in the more challenging markets. From their experience they developed several principles that they and their partners all over the world are using. By doing these things differently they are enabled to increase their profitability. If you would like to learn more about what you can do to use these same principles be sure to watch the video of Stanislav’s full session.
Petri Ikonen, Creative Director at tracktwenty, joined EA in 2012 when they opened their mobile game studio in Helsinki, Finland. With responsibilities that include supervising the studio’s design team as well as doing many hands-on design tasks, he is vitally involved in developing tracktwenty’s creative culture and processes. At Casual Connect Europe 2017 in Berlin, Petri discussed the challenges of creating SimCity BuildIt.
By Ori Meiry, Head of Social Acquisition, yellowHEAD
Earlier this month, yellowHEAD had the pleasure of discussing user acquisition and retention for mobile games at Casual Connect USA 2017 in Seattle. Together with three leading players in the social casino arena – DoubleDown Interactive, Zynga and Playtika – we shared the latest trends we foresee developing in 2018 when it comes to maximizing acquisition campaigns.
But it’s true: even though the advertising industry has come incredibly far since the early days of the mobile banner, the way we deliver advertising experiences and messages to consumers in apps still has significant room for improvement. And the shift from fixed-budget, brand awareness advertising to highly measured, performance-based campaigns is only further expanding this gap. Advertisers are expecting more from mobile than ever before – and publishers must be able to support the ad experiences that drive these outcomes.
The ideal ad experience
What are these ad experiences, though? Is it full-screen video, leveraging the power of sight, sound and motion? Is it interactive and sensory experiences, using features like haptic effects and 360-degree video? The answer is yes, yes and yes – to all of the above. The best mobile ads are those that integrate multiple elements and formats, that are truly a hybrid of everything that is possible on mobile today.
However, there is one component that, whether it’s the foundation of the experience or simply an added component, consistently improves the quality – and hence performance – of every mobile advertisement. “Gamification,” or introducing elements of fun and competition (e.g., points, rewards, scoreboards, levels, rules) has long been proven to deepen engagement and satisfaction with ads. It makes an ad participatory and draws in the user (pull tactic) versus simply illustrating or explaining (push).
That’s why playables ads are here to stay. They attract and engage mobile users not just because they are new and different, but because they are truly opt-in. Rather than interrupt the content experience, they give the user the option of seamlessly moving into a different one – and when they’re done, moving right back, almost like an interlude.
Poised for massive growth
So it’s of little surprise that in an app developer survey we ran earlier this year, we found that playable ads were, by far, the mobile ad experience that gaming advertisers were most excited about in 2017 – much more so than full-screen video or social video. Already, more than half (64 percent) of app install marketers are using playable ads, and 7 out of 10 of them find playables to be effective.
On our platform, we’ve found that they can drive 100 percent higher install rates for mobile apps – more than double the rates of full-screen HD video ads. The demand is so high that many ad companies cannot build playables fast enough to keep up with it.
Not just for gaming advertisers
While app install marketers were the first to fully harness the power of playables, creating mini-games that drive downloads of their game, we’ve seen other verticals quickly catch on. Entertainment companies have started to “gamify” their movie trailers: For Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Disney’s campaign let players go on a treasure hunt for specific items hidden inside a video, and they were rewarded with additional video content from the film for everything they found.
For Transformers: The Last Knight, users had to “wipe away” the dust that was accumulating on the screen in order to keep watching trailer content. Brands in other verticals, like QSR (Buffalo Wild Wings), are also integrating game elements into their mobile ad experiences and seeing stellar results. Users are not only fully engaging with the ad (versus multi-tasking or passively viewing) but they are choosing to replay it over and over again – which multiplies the awareness impact and is a clear indicator of developing real brand loyalty.
3 reasons publishers should embrace playables
With so much positive advertiser sentiment and user engagement, you would think that publishers and app developers would be excited about playables, right? But the most common complaint is that they are almost “too good.” That is, the mini-game competes with their own, and users could be drawn away from their app.
I’m here to tell you that is no reason to eschew playables in your app – playables can have many positive impacts to your monetization. Here’s why:
Playables enhance user experience. Playables can add to the positive experience that users have in your app, not detract from it. And, just as mobile users became accustomed to value exchange (rewarded video) ads and started looking forward to using them in certain apps to build virtual currency or unlock gated content, they will also return to app environments that offer enjoyable mini-game ad experiences (versus annoying banner ads).
They pay a lot more. Playables have extremely high conversion rates, and users that do convert are less likely to uninstall the app, since they’ve already tried and enjoyed the game. Free trials work! They are also more likely to spend money and engage in high-value activities within the app later. This all means high value for advertisers, and therefore much higher eCPMs for publishers.
Incremental revenue stream. Playables can immediately run inside an existing video or interstitial display zone, but as they grow in popularity with users and advertisers, savvy publishers will begin to build a specific home for them as a “demo center” for discovering new apps. Since this essentially compartmentalizes the playable ads, giving them their own section, it’s a great way to address concerns from publishers that they distract the user from the game experience. With higher payouts for publishers, users could try new apps to get more points and even larger rewards than exist today with video.
As mobile users ourselves, we all get excited when we discover a new app. We tell our friends, family and everyone about it. But what if ads actually become games themselves and allow us to “play” instead of just see and hear? All of our lives could become a tad bit more exciting with some much-needed play.