In a global industry worth $46 billion (depending on which data source you believe), mobile games developers clearly aren’t struggling to find the best business models to monetise their audience.
There’s the standard premium model, an upfront fee for a title, and then there’s free-to-play.
Of course, getting people to pay for something that’s free is difficult, but mobile developers have long found the best monetisation design strategies to accommodate F2P.
The business models
In-app purchases are the most obvious way to monetise a mobile game, used in all the top titles around the world from Clash of Clans and Pokemon GO to Honor of Kings and Candy Crush Saga.
More popular in recent times are ads, particularly ideal for casual games. They can be implemented in different ways, forced or voluntary. There are also varying types, from interstitials and banner ads to video ads.
And there’s also the subscription model, a monthly fee (or otherwise) to play a game, often used in kids’ titles so parents don’t have to worry about their children accidently buying coins.
A new challenger
Another way to monetise mobile games is through rewarded surveys. There’s little information or published data about how it can work for a mobile game and just how much money it can make, but developers have been using it to create an additional revenue stream.
The economics work on a CPA model where developers are paid for each completed survey (CPA). Payouts based on the survey up to $10+ per complete and Developers choose how much virtual currency to reward based on their economy.
This translates to "high value" rewards to the user as currency payouts often reach levels 50 to 200x higher than a comparable rewarded video view. From an ARPDAU perspective, the key is to build monetisation mechanics that encourage high opt-in rates.
This varies by game but a 10% opt-in rate is a good benchmark and eCPMs are calculated from conversion rate (CVR) and the CPA. The average CVR also varies by game type and we see ranges from 15% to 30% on average. Repeat usage is key because the average repeat user will convert two times the overall average.
For modeling purposes, let’s assume a game with 100,000 DAU and a 10% opt-in rate monetising with rewarded surveys. Using conservative benchmarks, the monthly model would net out to:
300,000 Survey Impressions X 60% CVR X $.20 CPA = $36,000 Total Revenue @ $120 eCPM and $.012 ARPDAU
With the high CPA and high CVRs of rewarded surveys this game would add an additional 1.2 cents ARPDAU by monetising the 10% opt-in DAU.
Lucrative revenue stream
One example of a developer integrating rewarded surveys into their game is Wordscapes and Word Chums studio PeopleFun. Partnering with TapResearch, it engaged users during the “shopping moments” in Word Chums, offering surveys in addition to normal IAP special offers and video ads.
Rewarded surveys, provided the user-experience is well-managed, may very well find itself becoming the next big thingPieter Kooyman
Amongst survey takers, PeopleFun saw 2.5x more ad views, 3.4x longer sessions and a 50% increase in ARPDAU, when compared to average user benchmarks.
“Rewarded surveys fit perfectly into our monetisation strategy for Word Chums,” said PeopleFun COO John Boog-Scott.
“Users opt-in at on their own time and enjoy sharing their opinions for the high payouts. TapResearch has become a high yield partner across iOS, Android and our Facebook game.”
It’s not just PeopleFun interested in the potential of rewarded surveys though. Miniclip Chief Advertising Officer Pieter Kooyman also thinks they could become more popular amongst mobile developers.
“At Miniclip, we’re always on the look-out for new monetisation opportunities to build on our strong base of IAP, rewarded video and display advertising,” he said.
“Rewarded surveys, provided the user-experience is well-managed, may very well find itself becoming the next big thing.”