Christian Facey is CEO of rewarded audio monetisation platform Audiomob.
Rewarded Audio is a powerful new means of monetising games in a non-intrusive and effective way. The way it works is simple and just as you would imagine: Audio ads are listened to (rather than viewed) while they run in the background of a game. The player is then rewarded with extra lives or bonuses or whatever else the developer decides, as normal.
The major difference between Rewarded Video and Rewarded Audio is that the gameplay isn't interrupted. And uninterrupted players are happier players.
Keeping players happy isn't a trivial matter. Those players will be more engaged, retain for longer, and bring greater lifetime value (LTV). They will leave more glowing user reviews, and be more likely to spread positive word-of-mouth messaging. All of that means better monetisation, and greater ROI.
The sheer volume of free mobile games available today means the slightest dissatisfaction can motivate a player to move to a new title. Avoiding irritating players while maintaining a healthy LTV from an engaged player base is perhaps more important than it has ever been.
Audio ads aren't anything new as a broad concept. In fact, we're closing on 100 years since the first commercial radio ad airedChristian Facey
Up until now Rewarded Video has been the main choice of ad format for monetising mobile games, but in some cases it can thoroughly annoy players by interrupting gameplay time. And it's not universally popular with developers either, many of whom see it as having high potential to clash with the aesthetic or tone of a game, and to intrude on a carefully crafted user experience.
And thus developers have come to see advertising, and particularly Rewarded Video, as a 'necessary evil' of mobile games – a means to monetise and the go-to choice, for want of a better option.
The fundamentals of Rewarded Video aren't broken. Most players prefer to watch an ad for a reward, rather than put down money on IAP. It’s only the delivery format of video that interrupts the player experience. Now with the Rewarded Audio that irritation is removed.
There are myriad other advantages to audio ads as a means to monetise mobile games. Audio ads aren't anything new as a broad concept. In fact, we're closing on 100 years since the first commercial radio ad aired.
Almost a century on, audio ads aren't going anywhere; they are just shifting to digital. That means that with Rewarded Audio, advertisers can use existing – or just slightly tweaked – inventory, in a format that they are deeply familiar with.
And that shift to digital is significant. Spotify's CEO recently stated his belief that audio ads' migration from radio to digital formats may bring an $18 billion ad sales opportunity in the US alone.
Meanwhile, last year digital audio ads organisation DAX found that 66% of brand advertisers now see digital audio as a key part of their integrated media strategies. Add the move of podcasts into the true mainstream, and Twitter’s recent exploration of audio tweets, and it's clear digital audio is going places.
We love that our Rewarded Audio technology inspires a lot of questions. One of the first we get is: 'how come audio ads for games don't yet exist?'. It's all about technology, of course. While the Rewarded Audio format is fundamentally simple as a mechanic, the AudioMob platform is remarkably nuanced.
Technology is the answer to many of the other obvious questions. 'What about when a player is listening to another audio source while playing a game on the same device?'. There AudioMob can do some smart detection work using clever audio passback functionality, detecting and pausing background audio, running an ad, and then resuming the background audio at the point of pausing.
Rewarded Audio can be integrated just as easily as any ad format. Our simple, elegant plug-in is all it takesChristian Facey
Our proprietary technology can also detect device volume, meaning we can serve audio ads in a means appropriate to the state of a current device. That detection ability also allows us to send prompts to players with very low or muted volume. And we're continuing to develop that range of functions.
Plug-in and play...
Rewarded Audio can be integrated just as easily as any ad format. Our simple, elegant plug-in is all it takes. We also have a beta underway, and admired and successful developers of all stripes are helping to shape our product.
We've equally built an experienced developer relations team, who have been central to building AudioMob's technology. That deep experience has already seen them work with studios including TinyBit, FGL, and Tamalaki.
To make it even simpler, we've worked with Unity to build a plug-in for their perennially popular engine, and recently we partnered with the digital audio advertising platform Targetspot, that helps us to more meaningfully target campaigns, and even run them ourselves, shortening lead times and reducing the effort for advertisers.
So far our Rewarded Audio technology has been extremely popular. We've made some major deals, worked with high-profile teams, and studios of every size and type doing brilliant and innovative things. Rewarded Audio is here to stay, and even the biggest advertisers are eagerly embracing the format.
It’s not changing - it's only getting better
Rewarded Audio can complement your existing money-making arsenal. It can work as a standalone option, but you don't have to replace any of your existing monetisation tooling. Used wisely, developers and publishers can level-up the money their games already make - and all without interrupting the players.
This article is part of our Monetisation Month, in partnership with AudioMob. Join the beta program and see for yourself how AudioMob's rewarded audio Unity plugin monetises - HERE