28 July 2015
When it comes to free content, we are all pretty much accustomed and even accepting towards ads in exchange for not paying out of pocket, but when it comes to compromising our gameplay experience – have we become too forgiving??? It sometimes seems that we might be paying a hefty fee being served irrelevant ads at irrelevant moments – taking all the fun out of playing… And if the whole experience is annoying – who benefits from it anyway? No doubt it pushes us users away, but the advertiser also gets poor, negative brand exposure, and since we probably end up tossing our device aside – the game publisher loses as well…
But is it even possible to do things differently? Better? Or at the very least – in a less annoying manner???
First, and most important step – It is all about the user.
If you treat “traffic” in terms of “clicks and impressions” – you’re setting yourself for failure. People play video games for different reasons – competitiveness, means of time-pass, social activity, shear entertainment, and more. Therefore, they engage differently and have different needs, preferences and react differently to key moments within gameplay. It’s not about clicks and impressions – it’s about INDIVIDUAL USERS.
Quit “shoving” – try “soft-pushing” instead
The different reasons for which people play games very much dictate also much variance in their ad engagement preference. Instead of shoving ‘in-your-face’ ads whenever you can – try implementing advance technologies to learn each user’s changing preferences during his/her course of gameplay, and cater your ad serving to their needs. Serving ads ALL THE TIME works against the user, the advertiser and the publisher 99% OF THE TIME… Serving ads ONLY WHEN the user is likely to engage with such, leads to improved results – EVERY TIME.
Example: imagine a semi-competitive natured player, who has just failed level 23 for the 5th time in a row, and is starting to get frustrated. What if he gets a ‘Soft-Push’ invitation to engage with a brand relevant to him, and be rewarded with a much needed advantage on his next attempt?
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 positive brand 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. 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.
One company who develops ad formats targeting not only the user’s profile, but mainly his engagement mindset – is Woobi, who had recently launched new developments in its Dynamic Mindset Advertising (DMA) technology. The company reports significantly improved results in both conversion and engagement rates, while increasing publisher ARPDAU, game session length and overall user LTV, and most importantly – highly positive user feedback.
According to Chaya Soggot, Woobi CEO, the patent-pending DMA algorithm is integrated into free-to-play based game, monetizing non-paying users through value exchange advertising, and is integrated directly into the game loops.
Unlike standard advertising, DMA based targeting predicts the moment a user is in the most receptive mindset to engage with a brand before displaying an ad. Using machine learning algorithm, the platform determines not only which content to display to whom and when, but also when not to display an ad so to not interrupt the user’s gameplay experience. The result is a non-disruptive gaming experience for the user, leading to longer game sessions and improved LTV for publishers, and outstanding campaign results for advertisers.
There is no turning back from Freemium – with 90% of all games revenue on the iOS App Store, and 98% on Google Play coming from freemium apps. However, with paying users accounting for only 2%-7% – game developers need to seek better monetization solutions, such that will respect the gaming experience of both paying and non-paying users, increase ad revenue without cannibalizing IAP revenue, and uphold uncompromising standards to maintain their premium gaming experience with or without ads.