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Last update: July 2021

4 mins to read - 2021/07/12

In-App Advertising: Using it for Monetization of Your F2P Mobile Game

,It’s an exciting, dynamic time for the mobile games industry. Demand for mobile games has never been higher. And with new monetization tactics evolving all the time based on user behavioral trends, there’s a lot of scope for creativity when it comes to building revenue streams for your free-to-play (F2P) game. In-app advertising is the most widely used revenue stream for mobile game monetization, with 81% of respondents surveyed by Statista saying they used some form of in-app ads. The mobile sphere is full of brands and apps desperate to get some exposure through targeted advertising. Things will likely get shaken up in the near future, due to Apple’s changes to IDFA with the iOS 14.5. If you’re looking to dip your toe into this lucrative revenue stream, here’s what you should know…

Types of In-App Advertising to Use for Monetization

When it comes to in-app ads, there are 3 main types. What are their strengths and weaknesses, and what’s the potential for combining them for greater results?

Banner ads

The most basic type of ad, these consist of a bar of text that appears at the top or bottom of your device screen. Combine text with rich content to grab your user’s attention and boost click-through.

Interstitial ads

These are short, full-screen ads that play between gaming sessions. They tend to be very engaging and effective, and less easy for app users to ignore. Many interstitial ads are interactive. For example, interstital ads for other mobile games often offer a quick demo of gameplay to pique the user’s interest. If the ad is text and graphics, there will be an option for the user to exit out of the ad in its corner. If it’s a video ad, it will time itself out after a few seconds.

While interstitials can have highly favorable returns in the short-term, use them with caution. They can be detrimental to your game’s UX, and players can get frustrated if gameplay keeps getting interrupted by ads. While most app users have come to expect a certain amount of advertising, you still don’t want ads to be too long or too frequent.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that different genres of game can often get away with different sorts of ads. For example, users tend to be more tolerant of interstitial ads in hyper-casual games, due to their repetitive nature and lack of any sort of narrative. To optimize the legnth and frequency of your ads, track your click-through rate and retention rate of your user base.

in-app advertising banner ad monetization

Rewarded monetization

Rewarded monetization is a newer type of advertising that has been growing in leaps and bounds. Essentially, you’re incentivizing your users to view ads by offering them some sort of reward. This might take the form of extra lives, free currency, free consumables to improve gameplay, etc. It’s a win-win scenario, where your users gain prizes that can improve gameplay for them, and you get your ad revenue. Everyone’s happy.

How Can Push Notifications Improve Your Ad Revenue?

Push notifications are most often associated with being used to drive users towards in-app purchases. And it’s true, they are very effective for that stream of monetization. However, push notifications are primarily a form of mobile engagement. Their #1 aim is to get users into your app to complete gaming sessions or catch Pokemon or what have you. And once users are in-app and get caught up in gameplay, they will view advertising and contribute to your app’s monetization.

Having a robust push notification campaign is critical for user retention, and for building strong user habits of regularly picking up your game and playing. Obviously, step 1 is to build a seriously addictive game that users love playing. But once you’ve done that push notifications are a way to hook users on your app early on. Send them a notification at the same time each day to get them thinking about your app at that time, like clockwork. Or, you can leverage device-side data to target users with push notifications inviting them to come into the app and complete a level of your game at the perfect moment when they’d be swayed.

For example, OpenBack provides a wide range of custom data signals that tell you about a user’s battery and ringer volume levels, or the strength of their Wi-Fi, or even when they are rhythmically scrolling on their device, suggesting they’re bored and would likely welcome a quick distraction. Combine data signals to deliver push notifications at the perfect moment. Then, track user behaviors and rolling retention rates to ensure that you’re optimizing your push campaign in terms of messaging, content, frequency, and user segmentation.

Download our NEW Metrics & Measurement Playbook to learn how to optimize your push campaign!

Will IDFA Changes Affect My Mobile Game’s In-App Advertising Monetization?

Perhaps you’ll remember how the advertising industry went into crisis mode in April 2021, when Apple released their App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework. Mobile advertisers feared this would be the end of sending targeted ads. Many believed that, once consumers have the ability to withold consent to receive in-app advertising, that stream of monetization will vanish. However, it turns out those projections were overly dire, and advertising revenues have stayed relatively stable in the post-IDFA era. This is partly because many Apple device users are slow to update to iOS 14.5, and so haven’t been notified about their ability to revoke their consent yet.

Still, even if users wise up to the issue of ATT in the near future, this only means that mobile apps will have to be innovative. It’s likely that sending users a pre-permission notification, such as the one iOS allows for “soft-selling” push notifications, to explain the value of allowing their data to be tracked in exchange for more relevant advertising will become a commonplace practice.

Get in touch with one of our experts to learn more about how a robust, personalized push notification campaign can complement your in-app advertising monetization stream.

Also, to read about how to use OpenBack to boost player retention and maximize revenues, download our Case Study: Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon App, School of Dragons

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