Creating a great game may be the first step in having a successful title, but in today's booming market simply having a well-made game may not be enough. Choosing the right way to monetise can make all the difference when ensuring financial success.
In this guest post,vice president at Adjust (EMEA regions) Alexandre Pham discusses the different avenues for monetising a game.
Mobile game consumer spending is growing. In 2021 consumers spent £14 billion more on mobile games than in 2020, reaching nearly £100 billion in total. This is even more impressive given that 2020 was already considered an explosive year for mobile games as people in pandemic-related lockdowns turned to mobile games for distraction.
Whilst it’s apparent that there is money to be made in mobile games, the way to make your app fruitful and generate revenue is less clear. In simple terms, game monetisation is the mechanism by which mobile games earn revenue. But while the concept is simple, execution takes more planning.
Mobile games come in many different forms and as a result are monetised in a variety of ways. Monetisation strategies range from free-to-play games that depend entirely on ad revenue or in-app purchases, to subscription games that require players to pay to play. It’s crucial to consider these different methods when developing a game and establish which method will help you balance generating income with delivering the best possible gaming experience for your users.
So, what are your options?
With ad-supported games, users can download the game for free but are shown ads at points throughout gameplay, such as between levels. This model is prevalent among Casual and hypercasual games, where users are less likely to be willing to spend money on subscriptions or in-app content.
Ad-supported games can be split into playable ads - an interactive ad featuring a simplified version of a game being advertised - and rewarded video ads. The latter incentivises users to watch or interact with an advert to be rewarded in-game, often with credits or experience points. In-game advertising comes in many forms which, as with monetisation, should be chosen based on your specific game and players.
Similarly to ad-supported games, users can often download freemium games with no initial charge. However, players can make in-app purchases to gain access to exclusive content, get more lives, skip levels, or other advantages. This model is often combined with ads to supplement revenue or work as a gateway to subscriptions, so is popular across many different types of games.
The idea behind paid games is simple. Players pay a small fee, ranging from less than a pound up to larger amounts like £15 for a full-featured game - often to access a more premium game without advertising. These games regularly mix monetisation models to maximise revenue opportunities, offering in-game purchases as well.
Finally, some developers may wish to establish a subscription model, which allows users to remove advertising from their gaming experience. There are three main types of subscriptions: An individual subscription that applies to a specific game; an umbrella subscription providing ad-free access to a variety of games; or a battle pass subscription in which players need to make additional purchases to advance through the game to earn extra rewards in a set amount of time, incentivising users to play frequently.
Next steps for developers
So, you’ve chosen your monetisation method; what now? With such fierce competition in the mobile app gaming environment, it’s essential to be able to view and analyse the performance of multiple ad campaigns, from data that are aggregated and centralised, in order to make informed decisions fast. There are a number of different data sources required to effectively analyse performance, so having all aggregated data together in one place such as on a platform like Datascape, is a valuable tool for developers and marketers, which allows them to optimise their strategy and focus on growth. David Ribeiro, Head of Growth at Voodoo, for example, benefitted from Adjust’s advanced analytics platform, Datascape. He said: “Datascape allows our team to have complete, centralised visibility over all of our campaigns and apps to analyse marketing results. This way, our team is able to spot trends, compare performance easily against previous time periods, and act quickly and efficiently to implement changes to our strategy."
These insights will allow you to see what’s working and, if something isn’t working, you can then optimise the campaign, reaching your specifically targeted audience, for maximum return on spend.
It’s also important to note that most developers use a multi-pronged approach when it comes to monetisation, to cater to different types of players and access multiple revenue streams. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand who is playing your game and which types of experiences they want to engage with, so you can adapt your monetisation models to fit.
Finally, app developers must think beyond, “How much money can my mobile game generate?”. Instead, they should consider how their monetisation methods will deliver a better gaming experience for their players. Ultimately, if a monetisation method enhances the user experience, revenue streams will benefit.