The importance of gaming audiences rivals even social media, and the largest and most diverse gaming audiences are on mobile.
Despite this, many advertisers are hesitant to invest at scale in mobile gaming due to brand safety concerns. In-Play addresses many of their concerns by offering third-party verified, programmatic in-game advertising that doesn't interrupt gameplay.
This enables Admix to run mobile campaigns with household names such as Sky and Calvin Klein.
Admix's Publisher Partnerships Director Chloe Cave and Partnerships Manager Natalia Pakhomova share their insights on how game developers and publishers can use In-Play monetisation to make the most of brands' unprecedented focus on gaming.
PocketGamer.biz: What are the opportunities for developers and publishers with In-Play ads? Why should they be taking this seriously?
Natalia Pakhomova: In-Play ads put the player experience first. There is excitement with the In-Play format amongst the game developer community as we monetise in-game environments non-intrusively. In-Play ads fit naturally into the game and bring a targeted real-life advertising experience to the user. Our ads sit on virtual billboards, inside stadiums, 3D environments, and many other objects inside the game keeping the gameplay flowing seamlessly.
In-Play ads don’t block any part of the screen unlike banners and they don’t eat into the valuable session time, unlike videos. As a result, developers get happy players and an incremental revenue stream that adds value on top of their existing video and banner business. Our demand comes from thousands of advertisers who buy directly and programmatically.
Do you have any real-world examples of companies that have successfully implemented In-Play ads and the results they’ve had?
Natalia Pakhomova: Yes, hundreds of developers run In-Play ads with Admix, including Mamboo Games, TapNation, Sir Studios, Dodreams, Playducky, and many other successful developers.
In terms of results, developers tend to increase their average ad revenue per daily active user (ad ARPDAU) with Admix and diversify their revenue sources. For example, SirStudios sees up to 33 per cent higher ad ARPDAU in tier-1 markets with Admix.
Worth noting that beyond economic value, the value can also be aesthetic. For example, Dodreams have a racing arena in their game Drive Ahead! where they use billboards by design, as part of the game. They turned to Admix to fill these billboards with ads and so we helped them turn these billboards into a real revenue stream.
In response, the Dodreams team told us that they were joking six years ago that it would be cool to have real ads in those billboards someday. And voilà!
In terms of results, developers tend to increase their average ad revenue per daily active user (ad ARPDAU) with Admix and diversify their revenue sources.Natalia Pakhomova
Do attitudes to In-Play ads vary by audience, or by region?
Natalia Pakhomova: Developers tell us that player attitudes to In-Play ads are positive across the board. Both developers and players consider this format to be player-friendly.
It fits the gameplay, it keeps players in the game. The sentiment and experience of the player are comparable to seeing product placement in a movie.
Why has Admix adopted a no-code approach to implementing In-Play Ads, what results/feedback have you received from companies which are implementing the technology?
Natalia Pakhomova: Our goal was to lower the entry barrier for game developers to benefit from In-Play ads using our technology.
We developed a codeless drag-and-drop solution to enable developers to implement Admix quickly and easily. We can work with developers on a managed and self-service basis.
The feedback we get from developers is that integration with us is straightforward and this enables them to go live and start making incremental revenue quickly.
What are the typical questions and problems that you hear from developers and publishers before they start implementing In-Play ads?
Natalia Pakhomova: Most publishers, especially larger ones, tend to ask us about the revenue opportunity and robustness of our technology. As they go further, they ask about our content and data management capabilities, such as ad filtering, age-gating, and consent management tools. We provide these capabilities, they are free to use and they help developers move forward with Admix.
Developers tell us that player attitudes to In-Play ads are positive across the board.Natalia Pakhomova
How can developers and publishers get creative with In-Play ads? Does it have to be billboards and virtual ‘ad space’?
Chloe Cave: There are absolutely no rules at all and letting the creativity run wild is the fun part. Developers can simply drag and drop an In-Play placement onto any object within the game scene.
Our publishers have been creative. We have In-Play ads on a blimp, on an air balloon, on a poster on a wall, on a TV screen, on a carpet on the floor, and on the top of a building…to mention a few.
What sort of feedback have you had from companies which have introduced In-Play ads?
Chloe Cave: We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from our publishers. The most common ones are that they like the fact that In-Play ads are immersive and non-intrusive and In-Play creates a sizable new revenue stream without upsetting players.
They also value Admix as the core infrastructure to bridge brands and mobile games. We have both direct demand from our global sales teams and can scale with thousands of advertisers through our programmatic marketplace which brings strong CPMs and high fill rates.
What games and genres benefit most from In-Play ads? Do they work in all genres?
Chloe Cave: Games with 3D scenes, such as city explorer, sports and racing games can easily generate additional revenue by converting the existing billboards into In-Play placements.
However, we now see almost all genres embrace In-Play, from hypercasual games like Guess Their Answer to music games like Hop Ball, and from idle games like Workout Master to simulation games like MiniCraft.
There are absolutely no rules at all and letting the creativity run wild is the fun part.Chloe Cave
Where do In-Play ads fit into the current monetisation landscape? Do they work alongside other revenue streams?
Chloe Cave: In-Play ads can be easily added to any existing monetisation stack and live in harmony with other ad formats.
One of the reasons the format is so popular is that it’s a new incremental revenue stream that doesn’t cannibalise IAP or existing ad revenue.
What are the other benefits of introducing In-Play ads?
Chloe Cave: In-Play ads are proven to drive significant revenue and LTV (lifetime value) uplift. On that basis, they can play a strategic role in the monetisation stack for publishers to drive a better balance between player experience and advertising revenue.
Ads in mobile games today are often forced, full screen and up to 30 seconds long. They may have caused a very frustrating experience for the player, as shown by the number of reviews on the platforms complaining about ads.
In-Play ads are the exact opposite of this. They’re all about protecting a player’s right to play. They never impact gameplay or interrupt the experience and add a sense of realism to a game.
What are the future developments for In-Play ads? What can developers expect?
Chloe Cave & Natalia Pakhomova: The best thing about In-Play is that it’s just getting started.
In the coming months, Admix will release new exciting formats which include 3D wearables and product placement which will further enhance the monetisation and advertising opportunities available to game developers and advertisers.
Admix’s long term vision is to be the core infrastructure to reward and empower creators in the metaverse. Put simply, Admix has already started crafting the building blocks to help "monetise the metaverse".