In-app advertising can be an extremely useful tool for mobile monetization. With smartphone ownership on a continual rise, publishers and app developers have an invested audience who are eager to discover new apps, and one that could be of great interest to mobile advertisers. In building an attentive audience, developers and publishers not only increase their chances of attracting a variety of mobile advertisers, but they also increase the likelihood that they’ll bring in more app revenue via an ability to engage with said audience. Still, users can be resistant to in-app ads if they feel forced. They can perceive the app itself as off putting if that app is running an overly-aggressive, misguided ad campaign. For that reason alone, it’s up to you, the mobile publisher, to make sure that there’s a clear value exchange for the audience between the ads they see and the experience they’re getting within the app.
Find out which genres your users enjoy, and tailor your monetization model accordingly.
With mobile games, there are many in-app rewards available and of interest to players. Powerful items and characters, high-value virtual currency, and other bonuses are highly valued prizes for many players. While these can be offered through in-app purchases with real-world currency, not every player necessarily has the funds for this. That’s why free-to-play (F2P) games are often appealing and the F2P model is popular, since it allows players with more time than money to take part in mobile gameplay more easily. The barrier to entry is low, which not only broadens the audiences viewing your ads, but also gives F2P gamers a reason to view your in-app ads in full when they’re connected to something useful in the game or app.
Often, a player will be interested in multiple games within the same gaming genre, so something to consider is to cross-promote one of your popular titles from a particular genre (for example, a hypercasual title) within a similar game of that same genre. In-app ads are a great way to offer snippets of gameplay from other (or newer) games in your portfolio. Sharing a glimpse into the type of games that you know your audience is fond of can help you to grow your audience and ultimately, increase ad revenue by introducing new players to your apps. This also demonstrates that you care about your players and that you want to create meaningful in-app experiences for them, as you’re working to develop games that are similar to what you know they already enjoy.
Connect to your users with ad formats that they engage with most
For example, say that viewing a daily rewarded video ad gives the player a single unit of premium currency, and it would take ten units to purchase a piece of premium content. In this scenario, the in-app ad becomes valuable to the player. The player knows this is an advertisement and may normally be less willing to engage. However, because there’s a tangible reward here and value to gain, the player is willing to pay with their “time” for a heightened in-app experience.
In-app ads can also be tied to the user’s native experience within that game as well, using clever elements to appeal to their interests. That’s when it makes sense to include native ads in your game, as this format feels less intrusive and interruptive and more like a seamless extension of game-play. The more natural the in-game advertising flow, the higher the likelihood that your users will continue to play the game for a longer period of time, making them more engaged customers and potential super-users. As MarTech Series puts it, “delighting your customers with compelling gaming experiences will drive engagement. Consistent engagement will keep them coming back to continue playing and interacting with your in-game ads, which can, eventually, boost your bottom line.”
Pique interest with in-game currency
When executed appropriately, in-app ads can also encourage the player to return to the game and become a repeat user. By using rewarded video ads, you give the player a reason to consistently open the app every day, encouraging them to make their engagement with the game more habitual. This keeps your app at the forefront of the player’s mind and maintains their attention as they strive to earn that unit of daily (or weekly, etc.) currency. In this example, we see the ad as a driving force for time spent on the app, something that feels more comfortable and routine to your players and further removed from the dread of forced or fruitless advertising.
What it all means for you
The key to gaining your users’ trust and ultimately their attention and time lies in respecting their desires to play the mobile game of their own volition and succeed within it to the point where they feel accomplished and rewarded. In-app advertising is a powerful means of generating ad revenue, and when executed in a way that demonstrates to the user that you value their time with meaningful rewards, or that you have tailored your ad formats to suit their interests and aspirations within the game, you break down those barriers between the user and the black box of the mobile advertising unknown. Publishers and developers that can get this right will create an audience that is willing, and often even excited, to engage with the ads within their mobile apps, and those are the apps that truly win.
Whatever you feel suits your business model and app style, MoPub offers a variety of ad formats and dedicated client service teams at the ready to enhance the in-game experience for your users and help you #ElevateYourGame. Questions? Reach out and let us know how we can be of service to you.
About the author: Sara Penchina, Global Content Marketing Manager
Sara has 5+ years of B2B marketing and communications experience for companies in the advertising, marketing, tech, and media industries. At MoPub, she’s currently focused on developing and executing content marketing strategy and activities supporting MoPub’s market education, brand awareness, and lead generation initiatives. She lives in NYC and when she’s not at work, you can find her at a barre or yoga class, practicing boxing (her latest fitness obsession), or planning her next trip.