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“There are ways to drive ad revenue that can actually be incredibly engaging to users, as opposed to it being sort of a vestigial limb that’s tagged on to an app experience,” says Alex Tarrand, VP of marketing at Jump Ramp Games that powers the Lucktastic brand.

That’s especially essential as customers get more and more savvy about their mobile experiences. Not only do customers get fatigued by the number of ads that are thrown their way in every experience, they’re also embracing ad blocking with wide-open arms.

“I was staggered by the stats on ad blocking — almost a quarter of people were engaging some sort of ad blocker,” Tarrand says. “On mobile the numbers are astronomically high, so if you can reach people through an experience that’s outside of a normal interstitial ad, but also make it engaging, you bring them back in.”

Tarrand does that by leveraging some areas that most don’t, but which potentially have a high yield, like “eventizing sponsorships.”

“My personal term for this is share voice plus,” Tarrand says. “In general, advertising is an impressions-based business, but I think we can add a lot of value in ways that make us stand out as a company. Folks like Disney usually nail this because they have a lot of cross-channel sponsorships, but here, we drive sponsorships across a few different platforms in a pretty integrated and fun way.”

For instance, they’ve opened up their whole ecosystem to brands, which can buy ad impressions inside of the game, as well as product placement and pre-roll video in their high-viewership live-streaming show, Lucktastic Live.

At Jump Ramp they also build branded and unique events that pair with ad buys. A recent example is an upcoming sponsorship with a large board gaming company. They produce events that reward players with free tokens, which can be exchanged for real-world goods.

But, he says, while those events will be branded, they won’t necessarily feel like an ad. A game might pit two teams against each other, in a Blizzard-branded fight. With Blizzard as the makers of World of Warcraft, a user might choose the orcs team or the humans team, and players will compete to complete in-app actions to win tokens.

“That’s a branded experience, but it’s also very participatory for the audience, instead of being very passive like a normal display ad would be,” Tarrand says. “There’s incredible value in working directly with your partners as opposed to just monetizing through remnant advertising. It fosters a personal relationship that allows you to build these fun experiences.”

A branded event can be very much a part of the compulsion loop of the ad, Tarrand says. Players come back into most games because they want to find new experiences. They might like the core mechanics, but they’re more excited if they find something new when they come in.

“The idea is to run events that are uniquely branded, are positioned a little differently, that engage your audience, that are a little different every time, but that drive common metrics important to an ad-funded business: session length, sessions per day, and DAU to MAU ratio,” Tarrand says.

Ad events can even increase the volume of installs that you get by making the content more compelling.

“I don’t see a lot of folks leveraging that, and I think there’s a lot of room there for improvement,” says Tarrand.

And when it comes to ad yield optimization, you need to look at the volume of impression opportunities you have versus impressions filled, he notes.

When you’re talking about a more cohesive sponsorship experience, involving events, bringing in streaming television and social, mounting a really good dashboard is critical, enabling you to track how your various campaigns and sponsorships move critical metrics while they’re live.

“It’s not just how well the sponsorships perform against your baseline metric; it’s also how well they perform against one another,” he says. “If one is performing dramatically better than another, rarely do I find it’s tied to the brand; more often, it’s tied to the execution, how you’ve run and how you’ve staged that particular branded event or branded sponsorship.”

While events and sponsorships are running, Tarrand tracks a number of specific metrics every single day, he says, particularly, app session length, app sessions per day, and then retrospectively the DAU to MAU ratio and installs driven for advertisers through the month.

“If you can nail a couple of events that really move those metrics in a meaningful way, then you know that you’re going to be making substantial revenue every time you run a branded sponsorship or a branded event,” he adds.

To learn more about leveraging in-app advertising, never leaving money on the table, and how to get a piece of the $53.4 billion dollar ad revenue pie, don’t miss this interactive VB Live event!

Register now for free.

You’ll learn about:

  • Tools and tactics for publishers to monetize mobile apps (capture form, overlay, banner ads)
  • The role of sponsors and partnerships in mobile app monetization
  • Overcoming the challenges posed by technology fragmentation
  • How to NOT leave money on the table.


  • Alex Tarrand, VP of Marketing, Jump Ramp Games
  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat
  • Rachael Brownell, Moderator, VentureBeat