4 pointers for designing your ad monetisation strategy

A big shoutout to everyone who attended our Appconomy meetup on June 13th! We learned a whole lot about the current flows of the free-to-play market and the monetisation strategies that follow accordingly.

Among the A-list of speakers, Danielle Cohen from ironSource provided us with great data-driven insights within ad monetisation and the value of incorporating it throughout all steps of the game design process.

To sum up just some of the many interesting points of Danielle’s talk, we have made an all-too-short list of 4 main considerations that you should think about when designing your ad monetisation strategy.

Pictures from our Appconomy conference, June 13th 2019.


1. Find the right balance between user and system initiated ads

When it comes to opt-in, or user-initiated ads, consider both the visibility and rewards that you’re offering to users, and be sure to educate users so that they’re aware of the rewards they’ll receive. If the majority of the revenue you’re generating comes from IAPs, then you must find the proper balance between IAPs and user-initiated ads (i.e. rewarded video and offerwall). A recommended practice is to grant different rewards from Rewarded videos and IAP respectively (different currency/revive/double XP etc.)

However, if the majority of your revenue comes from ads, then you should maximise your ad revenue by increasing your engagement rate (engaged users/active users) with rewarded video and ensure that you’re constantly optimising your strategy to serve the right number of interstitial ads. Earlier impressions draw more installs and therefore engagement rate is more important than usage rate. It's recommended to compare your engagement and usage rates with your competitors in order to maximize your ad implementation. ironSource is coming out with a new feature that shows you these benchmarks according to your genre.

2. A/B test everything!

The best method for finding that sweet spot between average revenue per user and number of impressions is through A/B testing. Different placements, increase/decrease rewards, capping/pacing, and so forth can all be A/B tested in order to locate the different tipping points of your monetisation strategy.

3. Think about ads from day 1

Be sure that you start incorporating rewarded videos during the meta-game design phase. With the proper implementation and balance of your ad units, your players will get to experience more features in the game, which in turn will increase engagement, and ultimately improve the LTV of your app. There’s no secret sauce to app monetisation, but by testing everything and thinking about balancing ads and IAPs from day 1, you can make a pretty sweet sauce yourself.

When you implement the right monetisation strategy, not only does it drive revenue, it also increases your retention rates.

Danielle Cohen, Business Development Manager, ironSource

4. Not all dolphins swim the same

With the rise of user ad revenue tools like ironSource’s, it’s now possible to see an accurate amount of ad revenue generated by each user with the click of a button. This also means developers have the ability to see how their different ad consumers are distributed, and differentiate between the users who generate hundreds of dollars from ads and those who have zero-value.

Just like with IAPs, you can have significant ad whales in the ad revenue side as well, and you should incorporate customized ad strategies for those users within your larger monetisation strategy decision making. Try to segment your users into groups and set up different conditions for each group to maximise your revenue from each of them without hurting your valuable user groups.

Published: June 24th, 2019