Master Monetization Alongside Top Publishers

By Tom Bishop, Strategic Partner Manager, Facebook Audience Network

Disruption has always been a catalyst for innovation, and in the case of expected IDFA changes, this holds true. While evolving user data targeting policies are expected to limit publishers’ ability to create personalized ad experiences, many are testing and exploring innovative solutions to help balance app monetization.

With the expected changes, from a reach and user acquisition standpoint, publishers and developers will lose the identifiers that help them find, segment and acquire ideal users. Waterfall management on iOS 14—already poorly placed to maximize publisher earnings—will become more complex. And publishers reliant on in-app ad monetization may see CPMs decrease.

How are gaming companies pivoting to minimize the impact?

Some have already adopted Facebook solutions to build easily discoverable games, opening up access to a broader audience. Others have turned to in-app bidding to get more value out of every impression and reduce time spent managing waterfalls. And increasingly, gaming apps choose to implement a balanced monetization model that includes both in-app purchases and in-app ads (like rewarded video) to drive retention, profitability and manage CPM changes.

In this article, we’ll explore stories from a few app publishers and developers who, in the face of these reach, user acquisition and ad monetization challenges, opted to test and prove Facebook Audience Network solutions to build resilience for sustainable future growth. 

User Engagement and Retention Challenges

Help Players Find Your Game Without Having to Download a New App

Instant Game developer FVRV has successfully acquired more users by building and distributing their HTML5 puzzle, sports, and social games using Instant Games. Intrigued by the opportunity to help players find and enjoy their games without downloading a new app, they turned to the Instant Games platform.

Using Instant Games to grow their audiences, FRVR has seen over 500 million plays, thanks to increased game accessibility and reach at scale. FRVR founder Chris Benjaminsen shared that “The Instant Games platform allows us to reach players where they have already decided they want to spend time, rather than trying to entice them to download our apps, which is a big barrier to get players into new games. With Instant Games, Facebook has shown to be the fastest innovator in the market.” (Facebook's Instant Games helps FRVR grow engagement and revenue).

Grow your Game and Drive Engagement with a Global Audience

For developers looking to increase player acquisition, engagement and retention, Facebook Gaming Services allows game developers to connect to Facebook's global audience through a variety of services and features, including Facebook Login for Gaming, Player Finder and more.

Aiming to increase first-time player engagement shortly after launch, mobile game company Bear Hug Entertainment decided to integrate Facebook Login for Gaming in their game Alice Legend. They added the login button directly on the welcome screen, to be readily available to players. The results? In the first 30 days of implementation, they were thrilled to see a majority (61%) of players log in through Facebook. Additionally, these players were 4X more likely to convert to spenders, leading to 4X growth in IAP revenue.

Ad Monetization Challenges

Free Up Valuable Time and Resources with Bidding

Lion Studios was looking to decrease the manual complexity of waterfall management and became interested in bidding as a more streamlined scalable process to monetize their numerous titles. 

After setting up bidding with Audience Network, Lion Studios generated additional revenue, which, over time, has enabled them to grow their team and redirect their resources to growth-oriented priorities. Katja Llach, senior director of growth at Lion Studios, shared: "Bidding is important to us because it allows us to spend less time manually improving waterfalls and more time on what's important to us: improving our games."

Combining IAP and IAA to Minimize CPM Fluctuations

One of the keys to driving retention and minimizing CPM fluctuations is choosing a suitable monetization model. And for many companies, this means achieving the best mix of in-app purchases (IAP) and in-app ads (IAA) for their game type. 

IDFA can serve as an opportunity to explore in-app purchases and help stabilize the revenue model for developers who have leaned on an ads-based model in the past. And those who have grown their game with in-app purchases may want to consider implementing ads to earn more from their entire player audience.

As personalized advertising becomes more challenging, first-party data and immersive ad units will become more valuable. Publishers need to be innovative in getting players to opt-in by creating ads that don't detract from the user experience and rather improve it. One way to solve this is by integrating formats like rewarded video with optimal entry points for your genre.

As an example, consider leading social casino and card game developer ME2ZEN, who was looking to diversify its revenue model for Solitaire TriPeaks Journey and explored a hybrid monetization strategy using both in-app ads and in-app purchases. 

In particular, they A/B tested rewarded video ads offering special game features which allowed players to advance to the next stage of the game if they watched. 

The gaming company earned a substantial revenue boost with its hybrid strategy-- a 30% increase in average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) and a 50% increase in revenue from rewarded videos-- allowing them to reinvest the earnings into its user acquisition strategy.

Build a Balanced Approach to App Monetization by Asking Yourself these Key Questions

Choosing the right solutions will depend on your specific needs. While industry changes like IDFA will affect everyone, the impact will differ based on game genres and other factors.

When thinking about which solutions to test, consider the following:

  • What problem/challenge do I need to address?
  • Which solution gives me the most value for my problem?
  • Do I need a short-term or long-term solution or both?

Once you have a clear diagnosis of the problem or opportunity, we can help you find the right end-to-end solution.

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