These days, app developers must use all the right moves in order strike a balance between monetizing their game effectively and satisfying their players with an experience that keeps them coming back.
True, mobile app users have accepted the reality that their favorite free games often come with ads. However, this does not mean they joyfully accept banners occupying valuable screen space. There are simply better ad experiences to be had, one of which has already risen to the top of the acceptance pool: video and rewarded video ads. In fact, 35 percent of game developers are now using video ads because of their capability to put the power in players’ hands.
Recent data shows app users are far more tolerant of ads when the messages are relevant to their interests and designed with mobile in mind. According to a recent study from IAB, 80 percent or more of consumers in most markets prefer campaigns that are tailored to mobile vs. repurposed creative or ads they have already seen on TV or online.
Rewarded video ads embody the kind of tailor-made experiences mobile users desire. Also known as incentivized ads, these offer your users in-app perks and privileges in exchange for watching a 15 second video. In this integrated manner, these ads are not only tailored to mobile but are also crafted to your specific game flow and become highly relevant.
Here’s the play-by-play to integrating a rewarded video ad experience that can complement the gameflow and give back something of interest to your players. In-game ad placements can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the game experience:
- In between levels: Depending on the type of game, placing the reward incentive at moments of game level transition can fit seamlessly into the UX (e.g., Nneed a gem or tool to help advance through level 2? This is the most versatile placement to offer all kinds of in-app rewards.)
- At player death: Out of lives? No problem. At this crucial point in the player’s game, an opportunity to extend gameplay is a welcome proposition.
- Store wall: If your app has a storefront, try placing a rewarded ad at the store level for an unexpected treat. If “time is money,” an opportunity to earn extra virtual currency in exchange for 15 seconds of time is the best deal around.
Consider these creative opportunities to apply in-app rewards and enhance your users’ gameplay:
- Create anticipation: Use a countdown timer to add a sense of urgency to the decision to view the ad. With the clock running down, adrenaline builds and so does the impulse to hit “Play.”
- Be a tease: Offer an advanced look or sneak peek at a new character or first-right/beta privileges to try a new game function, special effect, or tool.
- Sweeten the deal: A credit or bonus toward their next in-app purchase can trigger an initial IAP and motivate continued IAPs.
- Confide: Reveal a secret move, tip, or hidden code buried within the game.
- Train: Offer a tutorial to empower your players with a deeper understanding of strategy.
- Protect: Reward viewers with an extra weapon, tool, or superpower to defend their safety and advance their journey. Perhaps teach them a new game skill, move or strategy.
- Currency: Value comes in many forms depending on your game, of course. Think gems, gold, tokens, or even energy pellets to help your players succeed.
- Be generous: Coins. Cha-ching! That’s the sound of a happy player.
- Score big: For competitive players, racking up bonus points and achieving the highest score provides an advantage and invaluable bragging rights.
- Advance: Allow your players to move up in their game world by allowing them to advance to the next level or skip a level.
- Relax: Offer users more time to complete a level or task.
- Live large: Help your players stay in the game longer with an extra life.
It is essential to pay attention to ad-serving details to ensure ads have proper pacing and don’t show up too often. To prevent going overboard and increase your likelihood of getting it just right, ask your ad platform partner about which controls are offered, such as frequency capping and daily view limits (DVL). When you’re in charge of frequency, you can control how often an ad appears throughout the game experience, and put a daily limit on the number of times a user can view an ad in a day. With these controls in place, you can elevate your monetization strategy to achieve the perfect balance of art and science, delighting those who you are critical to your success – your all-important users.
Dale Carr is the founder and CEO of Leadbolt, the next-generation mobile marketing platform delivering high-performance advertising for app developers and advertisers.