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Facebook said that game publishers and developers are increasingly monetizing their mobile games with Facebook Audience Network. In 2018, the total number of active gaming publishers on Facebook Audience Network grew over 50%, reflecting the effectiveness of Audience Network in balancing the game experience and with relevant ads from global Facebook advertisers.
Facebook shared four updates related to game monetization for developers and advertisers.
New research on ad effectiveness in games
Facebook created a white paper summarizing new research about how mobile game developers understand, utilize, and maximize the revenue opportunities of different monetization options.
It found that in-app ads can improve retention. 57% of mobile developers believe in-app ads can improve player retention without detracting from the game experience. Developers ranked the combination of in-app ads and in-app purchases as most effective for monetization, with over 55% now using both.
And Facebook said rewarded video is the most effective format. 79% of developers using a mix of ads and in-app purchases said rewarded video is their most effective format. With rewarded video, players receive a reward-like extra lives or in-game currency for watching an ad. Additionally, 53% of developers believe rewarded video drives in-app purchases.
Playable ads are also growing as a successful format. With playables, a mini-version of a game is embedded in an ad, letting players try a game before downloading. While playable ads are growing in popularity as a format, 33% of publishers using a mix of in-app ads and in-app purchases said playable ads are already their most successful format.
These findings align with the game monetization trends taking place on Facebook Audience Network, particularly the strong adoption of new engaging ad formats such as rewarded video. In 2018, payouts from the Facebook Audience Network for rewarded video increased more than eight times. Publishers of all sizes are using it.
Expanding access to rewarded video
Given this strong momentum, Facebook is making rewarded video available to all gaming apps on Audience Network, opening up even more opportunities for game developers and publishers to effectively monetize their mobile games.
Over the coming weeks, more developers and publishers will see rewarded video as a placement creation option in their monetization manager dashboard. Those interested in using rewarded video should download the latest version of our Audience Network (software development kit) SDK, and can learn more by consulting our best practices for getting the most out of the format.
Launching playable ads on Audience Network
Last August, playable ads launched in News Feed on Facebook. Since then, the company saw the format drive real results for advertisers — people who installed an app through a playable ad opened the app 60% more often and were 6x more likely to make an in-app purchase than people who installed through other ads for the same apps.
So Facebook has extended playable ads to Audience Network, available in both rewarded video and interstitial formats in the latest Audience Network SDK.
With the rewarded playable format, the player can interact with the advertised game for 15 seconds to get the reward, with the ad unit’s call to action taking the player directly to the app store to install. With the interstitials playable format, players can interact with the playable ad or download the game after five seconds. All playable ads delivered via Audience Network are clearly marked in an intro card so the player can identify the experience before it starts.
Playable ads on Audience Network have been promising for both game publishers and advertisers, Facebook said. Within rewarded video placements on Audience Network, playable ads see 60% to 85% higher costs per mille (CPMs) compared with regular video. Initial data on interstitials also shows positive results, with those that are playable delivering higher CPMs than video interstitials.
“When Audience Network offered us Playable ads, we were excited about the opportunity and the results did not disappoint,” said Roman Poleshchuk, head of product and monetization at X Flow, in a statement. “For our app ‘Color by Number,’ CPMs on rewarded video increased by 107%. Additionally, the user experience is great as the design informs users when an ad is ‘playable.'”
New metrics and simplified ad creation for playables across Facebook
In addition to extending playable ad placements to Audience Network, Facebook said it is introducing expanded capabilities and more transparency for playable ads to help advertisers better understand the effectiveness of their creative and increase overall ease of use.
Three new playable ads metrics are becoming available in Ads Manager. They include Instant Experiences Clicks to Open; Instant Experiences Clicks to Start; and Instant Experiences Outbound Clicks.
All will help gaming advertisers identify key drop-off points to improve gameplay and increase return on ad spend. These metrics are also applicable for other campaigns with Instant Experiences and Lead Ads.
Simplifying playable ad creation with zip file and vertical video support is also happening. Facebook is making ad creation for playables easier for marketers by introducing zip file and vertical video support capabilities. These updates give advertisers the ability to create higher quality playable experiences of larger file sizes, and allows advertisers to easily use existing, off-Facebook playable files on Facebook and Audience Network. The new metrics, zip file, and vertical video support will be available to all advertisers in the coming weeks.
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