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How a pricing dilemma opened our eyes to advertisements

By on April 3, 2012

Last week we featured a post from Simon Moller from Kiloo about in-app advertising. In this guest post Peter Kjaer from Pixeleap shares his experience integrating advertising in his game.

Screenshot from Vendespillet

Pixeleap is a relatively new indie studio with four developers. When we were about to release our second game, Vendespillet, we wanted to offer it for free, but could not figure out how to monetize it.

We talked about in app purchases, but we did not choose it, mainly because the game was intended for very young kids.

So we decided to go with advertising to try and see if any money could be gained from it.

We decided that we only wanted ads that did not interfere with gameplay, so our only real choice was to go with a fullscreen on startup, and nothing else.

Numbers from the first week, with about 10-15k downloads of the game

Before we saw the numbers we had dared hope for an eCPM of about $5, but we never dreamed of seeing the numbers shown above.

Since the first week the numbers have stabilized a bit, and are mostly high on the weekend, but still good on weekdays.

Numbers from 11/3 to 17/3

eCPM is still good and as we are trying to aquire more users, hopefully the amount earned will increase.

Our experience with fullscreen ads on startup has really only been good and we have been very happy to work with Chartboost.

Below is the report from last year (we released late November)

Covers roughly 20/11/2012 to 31/12/2011

Covers roughly 20/11-2011 – 31/12-2011

The game this is based on

The game is called Vendespillet. It has about 7500 unique users a week over a total of 41k downloads, and this is a Denmark only game.

We have released an international version called Fun Memory but until the userbase picks up we are not activating the advertisements yet.

The reason for this waiting is that we want to give the users a chance to try out the game before we start monetizing them.

We did receive a few 1 star reviews based on the ads, but as Simon from Kiloo mentioned last week, they can be counted on one hand. And we think that no matter what you do, some very few people will always hate it.

Further monetization

In an attempt to further monetize the Danish version of the game we have added a “remove ads” IAP that can be bought for $2.

We are holding our breath to see if this will undermine our ads income or if it will increase profit overall.

The thoughts behind it is, that the people who would pay to remove ads are not going to click on the ads anyway, so it is an experiment to try and monetize this group of users.

Looking forward

We are working on a few game titles right now and will definitely be using advertisements in them. Right now we are very happy with Chartboost only, but as we add virtual currency to our future games we are also looking at Tapjoy, but have not made any decisions yet.

To the question if we will allow users to pay for an add free game, we will have to look at the numbers generated by our current game to get a better feeling for it, to see if it raises user satisfaction and to see if it ad income keeps steady.

I hope you enjoyed this post and  if you have any questions please let me know, I can be found on twitter @PeterPixeleap

I mostly tweet about what we are doing a Pixeleap but also post when there is a new blog on our website where we usually share sales/income numbers and general experience with being an indie on the app store.

About Peter Kjaer

  • Alistair Aitcheson

    This is really interesting stuff. 7500 unique users per day is really good, and it would seem that they’re not being put off by the ads, which is very encouraging. May I ask how you built-up the 41k-strong userbase? 

  • pixeleap

    Wrote you on Twitter, but for others who might be readin along:
    I think the succes of the game is really due to it being in our local langauge. there are many kids games on the app store but very few are localized.
    I think localization is very underestinated on the app store.
    We have not spend any money on ads or other kinds o aquisition.

  • http://www.as3gametuts.com/ Benolds10

    Very interesting! I had no idea the eCPM for in-game ads could be so high.

  • pixeleap

    Glad you liked it, it surprised us as well :)