Since the introduction of IAPs, publishers have created games with surprising depth and content - bolstering revenue through microtransactions in place of the all-too-familiar 99 cent price tag.
But the sobering reality is that only 1.5 percent of mobile gamers make in-app purchases.
Developers are straining to diversify their monetization mix and as are result, look to advertising to solve this revenue riddle.
The advertising ethos is shifting. What has conventionally been a last resort is now the largest source of revenue for many game developers. The channel is making big strides in both delivery and value changing the stigma surrounding it.
In fact, a recent study states 35% of developers have adopted video ads into their games. Leading this mind shift are rewarded video ads.
The unique value exchange of rewarded video ads
In a talk titled Turning Ad Formats into App Features delivered at this year's Casual Connect conference, Adam Ben-David, VP of Supply Side Platform at Supersonic stated, "rewarded video ads are considered an everybody wins situation."
This means the developer, advertiser and user all benefit from rewarded video in their respective ways.
For those in need of a primer, rewarded video ads are high-quality video ad units integrated as parts of the game loop, being a tool to grant in-app content. In most cases, a rewarded video ad will prompt a user to view a short clip in exchange for premium content such as credits or boosts to use in-game.
According to Ben-David's study, developers experience notably higher games per sessions among ad engagers versus non engagers.
Contrary to the misconception that ads take away and never add, rewarded video ads actually increase overall user engagement levels across the board. The format's utility is demonstrated through this paradoxical effect and the resulting impact on user retention.
In regards to developer revenue, rewarded video ads not only command high eCPMs but users who engage in them are also much more likely to convert into paying users.
Players who gain disposable in-game income from viewing rewarded ads are inclined to stick around longer.
The rationale here is straightforward. Players who gain disposable in-game income from viewing rewarded ads are inclined to stick around longer, thus more prone to invest in IAPs and sustain game progression.
From an advertiser's perspective, rewarded video ads set the bar in terms of engagement and brand recall. The video format is innately compelling.
So whether you are a performance advertiser looking to acquire quality users or a brand marketer keen on portraying detailed messaging, rewarded video ads have proven to deliver on these fronts.
The benefit for the end-user is simple. Users who opt-in to watch a short video clip are immediately granted premium content to leverage in-game. This promotes positive user experience and increased game activity.
A clear value exchange in which everyone wins.
Ben-David goes on to explain the 5 steps to integrating rewarded video.
Let's breakdown how Game Hive's Tap Titans implements this exciting ad experience:
1. Integrate the ad experience into your game loops
Tap Titan's game loop centers around tapping or attacking monsters to accrue gold which can then be used to upgrade player gear, a classic RPG engine.
Game Hive saw an opportunity to help its users speed up game play by providing them various "boosts" via rewarded video.
2. Make it a natural part of the game look and feel
Throughout gameplay, a small fairy will appear in the middle of the screen indicating a rewarded video is available for view. Users can tap on the fairy to view an ad or choose to ignore the option and continue with normal gameplay.
Identifying natural elements in your game is key when it comes delivering a rewarded video ad. This will ensure the experience looks and feels native to the game without interruption.
3. Show the player clear value proposition
Upon clicking on the fairy, users are presented a clear value proposition of what they will receive before engaging in a video ad.
By providing a strong call-to-action, the publisher is indicating the reward payout is well worth the user's time. Cutting corners here will lead to poor video completion rates.
Tap Titans also displays clear exit controls for the user. Players who change their mind in viewing the video ad can simply tap "No Thanks" and continue on with gameplay. This capability ensures the ad experience is non-intrusive and completely opt-in.
4. Inform the player that he or she got their reward
Once the video is completed, Tap Titans bookends the offer to indicate the transaction is complete. This provides closure to the ad experience and helps transition the user back into gameplay.
You are likely to A/B test your payout amounts to find a balance between engagement and your game's inner economy. In other words, providing too much gold in this case will make the game too easy to beat, while providing too little will make watching a rewarded video an unattractive option.
5. Get creative with design and execution
Tap Titans throws the occasional curve ball by giving players 'boosts' entirely for free. This random act of kindness conditions users to click on the fairy whenever it is available, increasing the overall rate of completed video views.
The beauty of rewarded video is that it can be integrated in a variety of ways.
Tap Titans' 'boost' reward is simply one of many. Following the steps above will ensure the blending of this lucrative ad format.
From the nascent days of mobile monetization to the present, one thing remains constant: keep your users happy. Explore how rewarded video can do that for you.