In this guest editorial Tomas Cavanagh, Strategic Partner Manager, Meta Audience Network explores the opportunities for developers and publishers to create more resilient and successful monetisation models.
As consumer demand for mobile games continues, many game publishers focus on retaining and monetising new players acquired during the pandemic.
According to Omdia’s 2021 Mobile Games Report for the first six months of 2021, mobile games generated $29.9 Billion globally through user spend in the first half of 20211.
Along with this growth, we see monetisation trends continue to evolve, as top publishers like Supersonic, Zynga and Activision Blizzard Media demonstrate how to add new income sources - like in-app ads (IAA) and in-app purchases (IAP) - into their games without interfering with the player experience.
Whether you're a new or seasoned publisher, below are four key pillars around which top mobile game publishers are anchoring their app monetisation strategy.
1. Balance your Monetisation mix for long-term success.
If anything, the mobile ecosystem changes over the past year have accelerated the predicted shift to hybrid monetisation. We’ve seen this play out across genres and monetisation models among our game publishers.
Supersonic had previously depended solely on ad monetisation but now also integrated meta-features and in-app purchases.
We believe that ads can also be a way for players to test and try rewards before actually making a purchase, thus driving up IAP.Clement Xue
Activision Blizzard Media and others have found that ad monetisation complements IAP monetisation. "We believe that ads can also be a way for players to test and try rewards before actually making a purchase, thus driving up IAP, said Activision Blizzard Media Head, Clement Xue.
Other IAP-heavy publishers like Ludia and Product Madness are focusing on building in foundational elements like a balanced in-game economy to increase revenue and engagement among all players - not just a few payers.
In short, there are many ways to diversify revenue streams in your game while adding to the player experience as long as it’s built into the in-game economy and growth plan.
2. Build Monetisation into your game from the start.
"Build, then monetise" is a thing of the past. Successful gaming publishers think about building in monetisation from the beginning, and it's paying off. We are seeing more creative uses of different forms of monetisation as well as new formats.
"In the past, monetisation was viewed as something you tack on to your content," said Glu Mobile, Senior Vice President of Growth Becky Ann Hughes, "but monetisation really should be considered as part of the content. It IS the content.2"
Xue agrees: "Advertising needs to be integrated into the game during game design, alongside in-app purchases, so that there is a strong value proposition for players to watch ads or pay for IAP while ensuring that the economy is well balanced."
Today, most publishers understand why it's crucial to build a balanced app economy into their game. But looking forward, more businesses will loop together user acquisition and Monetisation for a single, holistic approach.
Build, then monetise is a thing of the past.
3. Rewarded video is the preferred ad format with gamers.
Since 2017, gamers have increasingly used rewarded video. But now, more than ever, we see this format helping to encourage longer player sessions, less player churn, and greater engagement.
Rewarded video ads are considered twice as useful as other formats, as published in "Why the ad-supported model of in-game advertising is a win-win-win." Clearly, there is a strong value proposition for developers to build rewarded video formats into their games.
Whether you’re a casual or hypercasual, social casino, or hardcore developer, we have Success Factors guides to help you explore the best entry points for implementing rewarded video ads in your game.
The train has already left the station, and now you’re playing catch-up.Phil Suh
4. Optimising your bidding strategy is imperative.
Supersonic Studio's Director of Growth (UA and Monetisation) Igor Bereslavski, shared: "We've seen great performance, super-high CPMs and good fill rates."
On adopting bidding, Zynga’s Senior Director of Ad Monetisation and Product, Phil Suh, said: “The train has already left the station, and now you’re playing catch-up. So definitely do it now.”
If you’re still using waterfall, look to our bidding resource where you can connect with mediation partners and learn to Monetise more efficiently.
More strategies for game monetisation in 2022
Download our App Monetisation Industry Outlook and hear from 25 industry leaders on how to prepare your mobile gaming business for growth in 2022 and beyond.
1 - Source: Omdia, Mobile Games Report 1H21, 2021.
2 - Meta Audience Network, App Monetisation Industry Outlook, July 2021