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Welcome to the big bad world of advertising. As a game developer, advertising can be a little overwhelming. How do I make money? How do I acquire users? What do all of those weird acronyms even mean?

Let’s take a step back and look at look at both sides of the game advertising coin:

  • Monetizing your game by displaying ads for other products within your game.

  • Advertising your game in order to acquire users.

Monetization – Displaying ads inside your game

There are, of course, several strategies you can employ to make money from your game – by displaying ads, by using in-app purchases and so on. These strategies aren’t necessarily exclusive. Games that feature in-app purchases often display ads as a complementary revenue source. Games without in-app purchases can generate significant revenue if they have sufficient numbers of users.

If you decide to display ads within your game, you’ll become what’s known within the industry as a publisher making inventory (the facility to display ads within your game) available to advertisers.

Advertisers will look to target particular player demographics (players with specific characteristics, those living in a particular region of the world, for example). In order to connect you as a publisher with advertisers who find your players particularly attractive, you’ll need the services of an advertising network.

Advertising networks, such as Unity Ads (currently, probably the fastest-growing Game Ad network in the world) receive money from advertisers for providing them with inventory. Ad networks use algorithms to determine when it’s relevant to display a particular advert within a given game, both to match up advertisers’ demographic requirements with a particular game’s players and, more importantly, to optimize the chances of players clicking ads.

If you’re considering becoming a publisher and making advertising inventory available within your game, there are a number of strategies you can employ to ensure that your users don’t find those ads intrusive.

A particularly successful one, in our experience, is linking ad views to in-game rewards (coins and the like). More on how best to integrate ads into your game in a later post…

Unity Ads in Crossy Road

Advertising – Acquiring users through in-game ads

Every developer needs players for their game, but not every developer knows if spending time and money on advertising makes sense. If you’re considering advertising your game, the first thing you need to work out is how much each player is worth to you.

If your game makes a relatively large amount of money per player from in-game purchases or ads you display inside your game, using advertising to acquire new users may well make sense.

If the cost per install of advertising your game is less than the amount of revenue you make from each install the difference between the two is pure profit. In the jargon, this is expressed as follows:

ARPU – Average Revenue Per User

        Each user you bring in typically brings in X dollars in revenue

CPI – Cost Per Install

Acquiring a new user through advertising, will cost you Y dollars.

        ARPU – CPI = Profit

Once you really get into advertising, there’s a lot more to discuss: advertising creatives, optimization, targeting… we’ll go into all of that in future blog posts.

Final screen of an ad from Crossy Road

Unity Ads

Crossy Road developers Hipster Whale chose to monetize their game by publishing ads (amongst other things). With Unity Ads, they were able to generate over $1 Million in revenue in just a few weeks.

Getting started with Unity Ads is very simple – just import the free Unity Ads plugin from the Asset Store and you’re good to go!

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  1. am i allowed to use this together with admob?

    i do not want to lose my banners and as they are not supported,
    but i do want the Click and watch reward system.
    i would like to know if if i am allowed to use both in the same game?

    friednly greetings,

    Dino

  2. Is there anyway we can get PLAYMAKER support for this ? :)

    1. You can ask on the Playmaker forum.
      Unity themselfs has no plans yet to support Playmaker (as far as i know)

      There are already some Playmaker actions for it on the playmaker forums but still lacking.
      if you ask some specific actions for it on the action request page i am sure some people will help out :)

      Friendly greetings,

      Dino

  3. Does Unity pay for video being watched or should the user install the recommend game ?!

  4. Windows Store support for Unity ads would be a game changer for us!

  5. I believe Unity Ads doesn’t support banners at the moment. Is this planned? And what are the Unity’s team’s thoughts on ad-banners? Do you think it’s a good way of advertising in game, or should full-screen ads always be used?

  6. While I’m not a big fan of advertising I guess it’s a necessary evil in this world … so I’d like to add one more voice to making this multiplatform as much as possible. iOS and Android is a great start – but Web player and WebGL are definitely quite important as well, and Blackberry / Windows Phone 8 / Windows Store Apps also shouldn’t be missing. When all that is available, adding this to standalones should be trivial. With consoles, I guess that depends on whether Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft even want ads in their console games … but if they do, it should be available. Keep Unity multiplatform ;-)

  7. Hello Developers,

    Thanks to Unity again for another tool “nice ad serving network”.
    It entegrates to our game very quickly with a simple, lightweight sdk.
    Consept of serving the ad is very user friendly, it merges to application smoothly, did not effect on game art and game play.
    Dedicated support team is a plus for this ad network. Something like, sitting next to you when developing.

    Regards,

  8. Alberto Salanueva

    January 20, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    I also want ads on the Web player, specially within Facebook app center.

    1. Nikkolai Davenport

      January 21, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      As Applifier before Unity Ads, we used to support Facebook.

      Currently the only platforms we support are iOS and Android, with the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store being the target storefronts for advertising. We don’t have plans at the moment to bring back support for Facebook, but we are looking to expand our support to include additional mobile platforms and store fronts. For the moment though, our focus is to make Unity Ads the best it can be on iOS and Android.

      Keep an eye on the blog. We’ll be announcing any new developments with Unity Ads here.

  9. I couldn’t find function to hide banner after ads load. should i just use the deprecate one from documentation?

    1. Nikkolai Davenport

      January 21, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      Unity Ads doesn’t support banner ads. If you’re still experiencing an issue with this, could you start a post in the Unity Ads forum and provide a copy of your integration code? Thanks!

  10. When playing the video it often says playback error.

    1. Nikkolai Davenport

      January 21, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      These “Video Playback Error” messages typically appear under poor network conditions. Connection is either too slow, or there’s too much packet loss. The message can also appear if your device is doing background downloads that force shared bandwidth, such as updates.

      We have made improvements to how videos are preloaded, however are still working to improve network error handling. Keep an eye out for updates as we will be making notes of this in the change logs.

  11. You should allow Unity Ads to work on Web Browser games and pc stand alone ones.

    1. So is it not working upon Unity Webplayer games?

      1. Steven McKnight

        January 20, 2015 at 5:05 pm

        Right now – no. Unity Ads currently only supports iOS and Android. We’re definitely looking at other platforms to expand to in the future though!

        1. Great article.

          Pretty please with sugar on top, get Unity Ads working for Windows Store Apps!

        2. Unity Ads for Unity Web Player would be absolutely awesome!!