Many in the mobile industry see advertising as a dirty word, something to be avoided, a necessary evil – at best. This view is, perhaps, driven by the fact that the most successful games don’t have advertising – Minecraft, Clash of Clans, and lately Candy Crush Saga. Of course it’s easy to promote life without ads when you’re making $2.4 million in revenues daily.
I’d argue this view is mistaken. Advertising when done well can add a significant percentage onto a developer’s bottom line. The most famous example of integrating ads seamlessly with your product is, of course, Google – who now earn massive profits from returning ads along with search results. Why can’t the rest of us integrate ads in a way that enhances or at least doesn’t alienate users and players?
Many people still associate mobile advertising with cheap Banner Badgering. However, the mobile ad industry is evolving at an extremely rapid pace, there are now all kinds of affiliate, interstitial, video, offer walls, to take into consideration. Developers have reported that when done well ads are adding $500-$3000 onto their daily revenues – a figure not to be sneezed at.
To that end I put together a presentation for the team at Tsumanga Studios, where I work. To introduce some of the terminology and options that are available to games and app developers, I hope you find it useful.
Of the current crop of top games, take a look at Gameloft’s Minion Rush – the way they have integrated ads is very clever, rewarding users with tiny amounts of currency in exchange for watching an ad. Similarly Disney’s Monsters University have integrated an offer wall in a way that doesn’t spoil the game at all for those uninterested in ads (note this is a paid for app).
Placing interstitial ads at appropriate points, ie at the end of a level (like Fruit Ninja) or rewarding the player for watching ads should not destroy the user experience, and may help your app break even faster. At the very least, you should use ad networks to cross promote your other content.
The mobile app and game space is still pioneer country. No one knows anything. There are plenty people doing well with and without ads, but you need to make up your own mind and run your own experiments. There are a number of competing business models out there, clearly if you can get your game or app right vast profits can be made. That, however, is not an easy task. Until you get it right, perhaps, ads can help?