By Andrew Allison, Head of Supply EMEA, Vungle
Mobile video ad spending will grow faster than any other advertising category in 2014, according to eMarketer. For developers, this is great news. Not only can mobile video be a high-impact monetization strategy and increase revenue, but it also provides a more engaging and contextually relevant experience for users.
Here are the four best practices to help you get started.
1 Use the power of opt-in
Instead of simply integrating video interstitials into a game, developers can choose to create opt-in placements that offer rewards, like in-app currency or extra lives, to users who watch these ads. These value- exchange ads are shown to have higher click-through rates than non-rewarded ads.
“I don’t push videos in front of players without their consent,” said Soner Kara, founder of SKGames.Users of SKGames’ Traffic Racer could opt-in to watch a 15-second video ad in exchange for $500 in-game cash to buy a new vehicle or upgrade existing vehicles. Kara: “I just show a button and give them the choice. In fact, some players are so eager for cash that they get upset when there are no videos available.”
2 Merge videos seamlessly into gameflow
Mobile video ad experiences can be customized to appear at natural breaking points in the game—let’s say, at the end of a level or when your character dies. Unlike TV’s cliffhanger ads that interrupt at the most exciting moments, mobile video is best when its non-interruptive.
Show them when players are resting from an intense challenge, or waiting for their resources to replenish. Finnish hit game Zombie Catchers implemented an opt-in video placement that lets users avoid waiting when they’d normally stop playing because they’ve used up their two game sessions.
3 Enhance, don’t interrupt
In Zombie Catchers’ example, watching a 15-second ad allows users to stay in the game, instead of waiting for new sessions to be unlocked. Turns out, getting back in the game faster also encourages players to play longer. Video ads extended the player session time by more than 25 percent on average. To balance UX, players only see one ad for every hour of play. “It truly encourages people to play the session once more after watching the video,” said Zombie Catchers developer and co-founder Matti Kallonen. “We wanted to give a reward that is very meaningful, and we’re happy with the placement.”
4 Pick the right rewards
When creating a reward structure within your game, consider these best practices:
- Avoid cannibalizing IAPs: rewards given for ad views should be less valuable than what users find in the storefront.
- Build into existing game scenarios: the most effective rewards occur within normal gameplay experiences (versus pulling users out of the game). For example, Zipline Games’ Slots Tycoon kept users in the gambling mindset by integrating a “free spin” option into their pre-existing diner slot machine.
- Let users choose. 92% of mobile users prefer to choose the reward they receive. Give them an option, and use it as an A/B test to determine future incentives.
According to Pocket Gamer, 35% of mobile game developers are now using mobile video ads. As you explore this new form of monetization, keep these best practices in mind to create the best experience for users while maximizing your revenue.
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