Interview

PG Connects San Francisco 2017 speaker spotlight: Upsight President on advanced ad strategies

PG Connects San Francisco 2017 speaker spotlight: Upsight President on advanced ad strategies

Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco will kick off 2017 in style on June 27th to 28th.

Tickets are still available.

So to give you a hint at what you can expect, we're shining the spotlight onto our speakers to provide a deeper look at the personalities who will be taking the stage.

Jon Walsh is President at marketing and monetisation firm Upsight.

What services does Upsight offer developers?

We offer a complete LTV management platform that can be separated into two main solutions. The first is our comprehensive mobile marketing platform. It’s a suite of enterprise-grade engagement, monetisation and analysis tools that empowers marketers to create personal, profitable relationships with their customers.

The second is a fully managed ad mediation solution that helps publishers reduce overhead costs while making more money from ads. Our partners can choose to use either or both. We highly recommend using the entire platform to truly maximise your player LTV of course.

What do you think is the biggest trend we’re currently seeing in mobile game monetisation?

Publishers are starting to get personalised marketing right. I’m starting to see more offers and IAP bundles that reflect spending and gameplay preferences, and that’s great. It’s win-win for players that want better experiences and publishers that want to generate more revenue.

Less attention gets wasted and the entire mobile industry benefits. It’s taken a long time to get here, but I’m glad we are starting to see the industry get this right.

Do you think enough developers are realising the potential of ad monetisation?

Almost nobody is, but I don’t blame them. Ads used to be clunky and inefficient. Thankfully, the industry is continuing to evolve. Now there’s tons of evidence that shows how proper rewarded implementations actually make for happier, more engaged players.

There’s tons of evidence that shows how proper rewarded implementations actually make for happier, more engaged players.

That said, it’s a complex problem to solve. You need to provide the right rewards in the right places and show the right ads to the right players at the right time. That’s a big ask for someone who’s already worried about the effect ads will have on player experience.

The last thing any publisher ever wants to do is push a player away from their game. We know for certain that when done right, rewarded ads have the exact opposite effect. They keep players engaged and actually increase IAP spending.

As an unbiased partner, our solution has been to help publishers build downstream behavioural measurement systems that help publishers get this right. We’re in a unique position to offer that. It’s been a game-changer for a lot of our clients, pun intended.

Could you share some details of one of the mobile monetisation strategies you’ll be discussing in your talk?

For sure. The first is that they should be measuring something we’re calling unique player ad engagement, and this is should be one of your top-level KPIs.

For a lot of publishers, rewarded video ad impressions per DAU is an adequate measurement of how well they are serving ads. Although typically too low, most publishers are happy with a one to one ratio, which suggests that each player sees one ad per day.

If they had the tools to dig deeper, they’d see that typically only 10% to 20% of users actually engage with rewarded ads to produce those impressions, which is far too few. What most publishers also don’t know is that this is one of the easiest metrics to fix.

It only takes a few small changes to get rewarded ad engagement up to 40% or higher, more than doubling ad revenue in the process. I’ll talk more about how that’s done on the June 27th.

What other major trends in the mobile games industry do you predict for the rest of 2017?

I expect we’ll see more AR products before the end of the year. Pokemon GO sent a shockwave through the industry that can’t be ignored. As the technology becomes more accessible and frameworks like ARkit reach the masses, we’ll start to see this category of the industry expand.

Apple's ARKit in action

I think we’re also going to see a gradual but calculated shift towards more skill-based games that favour deeper gameplay over compulsion loops. Deeper gameplay will allow for higher monetisation of a broader audience so that publishers won’t have to rely primarily on whale hunting.

What are you looking forward to seeing at Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco 2017?

There are some very interesting talks on mobile eSports that I’m looking forward to. It’s a fascinating part of our industry that I hope to see evolve in the next few years.

I have to say though, I’m mostly looking forward to reconnecting with our longtime friends in the mobile games business. Our industry has the best people, and the best parties.

Tickets for Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco 2017 are available here.

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