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A new Unity report called, “In-Game Advertising the Right Way: Monetize, Engage, Retain” indicates that any preconceptions one might have about rewarded video ads being unpopular among mobile game players has no basis. In fact, according to the report, rewarded video ads are well on their way to becoming the new monetization norm.

The study, which you can download here, summarizes and assesses a November 2015 survey based on the input of over 2,000 mobile game developers and players. The survey reveals that rewarded video ads have enormous potential as a way to monetize games. And that’s without negatively affecting either IAP or the lifetime value of players, mind you. Here are a few highlights.

Rewarded video ads bring home the most bacon

When it comes to monetization, it seems as though rewarded video ads are currently the hottest revenue generator — at least according to the developers who participated in the study. Over half said that rewarded video ads are providing them with the highest revenue per user compared to any other type of in-game advertising.

What’s more, the players surveyed said that they actually prefer rewarded video ads to other types of payment. Almost two-thirds stated that they always or sometimes choose to engage with a video ad for an in-game reward, given the chance.

The Secret recipe that players can’t get enough of

The fact that the study discovered almost 80% of players confirmed they are open to engaging with video ads for in-game rewards doesn’t surprise Made With Unity client Futureplay, makers of the hit Farm Away!. Co-Founder and CEO Jami Laes said, “Our secret to success is focusing on creating a monetization method that has positive reinforcement. We give our players a choice when they want to watch rewarded video ads, stirring engagement.” Mika Rahko, Co-Founder and Head of Development, continued, “Even more amazing is that we’re seeing an average of 22 rewarded video ads watched per install. And this engagement is sending our revenue through the roof – driving $0.15 average revenue per player per day in the US market.”

You’ve got ’em, how do you keep ’em?

The implication then is that rewarded video ads don’t just earn short-term revenue, but they can be designed to extend the players’ lifetime value for the game maker. This is confirmed by the responses in the study, which indicate that rewarded ads can improve (or at the very least, do not negatively impact) retention. In fact, less than 1-in-10 developers saw any drop in retention at all after introducing rewarded video ads.

Find out what works and what doesn’t

Not only does the study present the results of the ads survey, but it digs into the numbers, interprets the implications of the results, and presents the details of what works and what doesn’t.
To get insight into how rewarded video ads might work for your studio, game, and audience, download the free study: In-Game Advertising the Right Way, Monetize, Engage, Retain.

Download Your Copy Now

28 replies on “New study reveals the future of mobile game monetization”

[…] of premium content, and is distributed to the user after a successful video completion. A recent study reveals that rewarded videos are the hottest revenue generator chosen by app publishers at the […]

[…] of premium content, and is distributed to the user after a successful video completion. A recent study reveals that rewarded videos are the hottest revenue generator chosen by app publishers at the […]

If the user is interested they will almost certainly click on the link at the end of the ad. That’s how you determine the true interest of the player.

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I switched over to Unity ads a few months ago. Using admob I made 10c to $1 per day. Sense, I have made exactly 0. Nothing. Unity doesn’t pay to play the ads but when they get clicked. Then they play the same 3 ads over and over. These are ads that the player has already seen or downloaded. So no more clicks. Until unity offers a per view fee (like a penny a view), it is a waste.

I’ve had similar results. AdMob seems to be significantly better for some cases, because it rewards you for impressions. Unity Ads gives me literally $0 unless I pass a threshold of click-throughs. So I’m guessing Unity Ads is a great choice if you have thousands of eyeballs, but I don’t.

When I make my game free for a weekend (getting 10k+ installs, so around 5k DAUs), then I earn around $50 / day. So I think you need to get numbers in that ballpark (and much higher) to even stand a chance.

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[…] Unity report called “In-Game Advertising the Right Way: Monetize, Engage, Retain” indicates that any […]

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[…] New study reveals the future of mobile game monetization (Rick Armstrong) […]

Does NOT work here too, could you post a direct link that works somewhere? like dropbox or google drive, thanks.

Filled the form to get the document a few hours ago and still haven’t gotten the download link on my email, same happened to a coworker and he filled the form 8hrs ago.

Hey, that’s fine. If it helps pays the bills and the consumers are happy it’s a win/win right. Only one thing I have not seen reported is the number of times people are getting ripped off. O.k. it’s free stuff for watching a video. Only it isn’t. A promise of a reward that isn’t given doesn’t seem like theft. Yet when I keep up my side of an agreement and they don’t keep theirs, I feel robbed. Trying to get a hold of anyone to solve an issue is a nightmare. Usually a Zendesk help link and as many layers as they can get between you and anyone who’s actually put any effort into the product. Once you finally can reach someone who cares, usually it’s an actual developer or part of the team. They make it right. And they are concerned. I often wonder of those that do finally get through how many more gave up after two or three emails and a phone call. I mean how much are you actually out right? Yet if the people paying for the advertising are getting a bad image, and the people who make and maintain the app or game are paying for their respective services. Now you are stealing from three people. And like I said how many layers do the customers actually get through before they give up? How many developers and advertisers are aware they and their target audience is being robbed in their name. None that I spoke with.

[…] New study reveals the future of mobile game monetization (Rick Armstrong) […]

Right monetization strategy is the main business requirement after Unity development of a particular project. Hope that new report will help developers and marketing specialists to understand better their online business performance.

One unsuitable thing in unity terrain settings is restriction of base Map distance (2000).
we need 5000 or higher for air games !

Not 100% sure about it, but might it be that at the moment, “rewarded” are paid the same price as if the user would actually look at the advertisement?

Completely watched ads suggest that the user is actual interested in the content of the video, so they are more valuable to the advertiser. However, with rewarded ads (external incentive), this is not true anymore. I sure know that I never really want to see any rewarded ad watched so far. I am only interested in the reward.

So I predict that the money people are willingly to pay others to show rewarded ads will go down once advertisers realize they are being tricked into thinking that their videos are actually interesting.

But the same happens when the user is playing and an ad appears in the screen (video, full screen image or banner). Is the user interested in that ad? I’m sure he is not, but the ad is there until the user closes it and can continue playing the game normally.

You’ve missed the point.

The comparison he is making is the ability to determine the interest of the viewer by whether they watch the advertisement in its entirety or not.

If the user has the option to close the ad and watches all the way through, you can assume they are interested. If they don’t watch all the way through, you can assume they aren’t interested.

If the user cannot close the ad then the user MUST watch all the way through and there is no feedback to gauge whether the viewer was interested or not.

If the user is interested they will almost certainly click on the link at the end of the ad. That’s how you determine the true interest of the player.

A little lesson in marketing. You watch an advertisement for a biscuit on TV and rushes out to buy it? But if you go in the market looking to buy a cookie and biscuit Econtra advertising and or other unknown with the same price, what do you buy? That’s the benefit of brand exposure.

And when you’re associating the brand there is a reward that helps even more. Think a TV advertising is a bad impediment for your entertainment, while this is helping you.

Sorry about my English.

I think you are missing a point on ads. If you are playing a game and you’ve created a certain profile about yourself and based on your likes, even what you search for or visited, you may see a very good ad that might even interrupt your experience or allow you to watch an ad in depth later.

It happened to me today. I was looking for an alternative to Mac Pro and I visited Boxx a week ago, while watching a youtube video on unrelated sports I saw a very well made add for Boxx Apex1 that caused me to click on it and look over the specs of that computer. I’m a step closer to buying a box.

biscuits and cookies is the older TV model. I pick cookies because I know and like them. I don’t buy cookies because I saw a cute ad. That’s very a very old school model and meant for brainless consumers (and it probably works).

Relevant advertising does help. If I am diabetic, cookies won’t interest me at all, regardless of how well made the ad is. Indeed, it will only annoy me. On the other hand, how do you handle targeted advertising in a way that doesn’t make the viewer feel like they are being stalked? In your example, you were watching an unrelated sports video when the unrelated ad for something you were looking for popped up. There are many people who would see that as evidence that they were being monitored.

Perhaps a further refinement of the model would be ads that are relevant to the content at hand. An old model to be sure, but perhaps Saturday morning cartoons would be a good example. Ads were for toys and sweetened breakfast cereals mostly, why? Because the demographic of the programs was children and it was morning. As prime time rolled around, advertisements were more general and random since there wasn’t an easily definable demographic. So a player would be presented with ads that were both relevant to their interests, but also relevant to the game.

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