21 April 2015

How to Implement Value Exchange Advertising in F2P Games?

In a game & app saturated market, and the cost of acquiring loyal users skyrocketing, game developers are battling their way to find the balance between increasing revenue, and still delivering a good, fun user experience that would increase their users’ life-time-value.  With only 2-5% of freemium gamers actually converting to paying users – publishers are in desperate need of alternative monetization solutions to increase revenue without compromising the quality their gameplay. This article is aimed at providing a few tips on how to integrate ad-based monetization that is guaranteed to complement your game.

A bit about Offer-Walls

An offerwall is essentially a list of offers that the users may wish to engage with. Once completed an offer, the user is rewarded accordingly. Up until recently, game publishers integrated offerwalls in-shop, meaning within the payment section of the game.

As you know, the average percentage of non-paying (and-will-never-pay) users is around 95%. Within those 95% there are the “knowledgeable” users, who are familiar with the alternative, ad-based offer walls, and those who are completely oblivious to such options.

Let’s say I am a user, who has no intention whatsoever to take his wallet out and pay out-of-pocket for anything virtual – why the heck would I be accessing the payment section (=shop)? And, as you can imagine, very few users actually get to the offerwall in such cases, usually well below 50%. Some game publishers report numbers as low as 5% of their users(!).

Try implementing offers both in-shop and out of shop – you will see more users monetized and better engaged with the game, not to mention the positive influence on the revenue.


From Pull to Push

Looking back at those users who are not familiar with the offerwall concept – not only are they less likely to get to the offerwall and to the shop section at all, they are also very unlikely to generate any income when they do somehow get there.

Now imagine someone who has just failed level 23 for the 5th time in a row, and is starting to get frustrated. What if he gets a ‘Push’ invitation to engage with a brand and be rewarded with a much needed advantage on his next attempt?

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When done right, such ad formats have a much better chance to

  • Catch the user’s attention
  • Prolong his game session (with immediate effect)
  • Lead to engagement
  • Lead to repeated engagement


Focus on User LTV (Life Time Value)

Game monetization solutions were created to generate income for developers on the free-to-play ecosystem – but they cannot, MUST NOT, come at the expense of the user’s experience. Shoving whichever ad to whomever user at whenever moment will lead to failure faster than you can pronounce your game’s title…

Focus on the user’s experience, improve his gameplay and increase LTV – through smartly placed ads; ads that will be attentive to each user’s receptiveness and preferences regarding which content to receive when (and more important – when not…). Don’t risk being abandoned by your users simply for making the mistake of looking for the quick buck…

Integrating ad formats that will complement the quality of your game and actually improve the user’s experience and gameplay through non-intrusive ad-based rewards – well, then you are set on track to not only prolong the actual gameplay session, but to also optimise towards higher ARPU.


Not Too Little, Not Too Much – You Need To Get It Just Right!

One of the hardest things to determine – is “how much is just enough?”

You want to build a reasonable, optimal exchange rate mechanism within your game, be it for paying users or for ad-based monetized users.

On the one hand – you do not want to pave the way to an easy win for every monetized user (cash or ad-based), yet on the other hand – you do not want them to feel that the reward they get in return is not worth their trouble…

You have to have BALANCE.

Make sure at all times the exchange rate is one of value, but not too much value that will cause the users to “buy” their way out all the way to an easy win. Regardless of what you may think about human nature – nobody likes a win too easy… Enable a momentary solution to a challenge, or a temporary advantage, one that will facilitate immediate satisfaction – but not obviate the user’s need to bring his A-Game to progress in the long term.

On the other hand – nobody likes being ripped off either – so make sure the item/currency are relevant and appropriate to the user’s investment…


To sum it up:

When done right, value exchange in-game advertising is an extraordinary way to monetize a huge percentage of your non-paying user base.

Innovative technologies enable you to not only monetize a significantly larger portion of users than ever before, but to also carry out monetization solutions that actually improve the user’s gameplay, get him to play longer, engage and re-engage with top brands and enjoy the game even more.

Higher ARPU + Increased Gameplay Lifespan, = significantly higher Life-Time-Value per user.