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Keys to Successful Mobile Game Advertising

By on January 18, 2013
FlickrCC Ricardo Liberato
FlickrCC Ricardo Liberato
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This is a guest post from Nate Ahearn at Chartboost


Advertisements in mobile games can be about as much fun as slamming your head into a brick wall. Being bombarded by banners and detoured to sign up for a Netflix account simply isn’t good for anyone’s in-game experience. But seriously, ads don’t have to be so nauseating. Here are five tips to give your players both something that feels natural to your game and a tool that can generate significant chunks of revenue if used properly.

Test and Optimize

Bombarding players with game promotions will get you nothing but an angry user. It’s important to test different types of creatives to see how players respond. Once you launch, check the data to see how people are responding and adjust accordingly.

It’s also important to consider when players are seeing promotions in your game. We recommend showing it to them when the game boots up to avoid interrupting the experience you’ve designed, but maybe you want to show it to them after they’ve played for ten minutes or in between levels. It’s important to test, test, test to figure out the right fit for each of your games.

Go Direct

After you’ve seen which promotions your users love and those they toss aside, it’s time to reach out directly to that developer and orchestrate your own Direct Deal, on your own terms, breaking free of the shackles of a typical ad network revenue share.

Embed it into the core game experience

The very best kind of promotions are the ones that seamlessly blend into the game experience. Supercell does a fantastic job of this with their newspaper mechanic in Hay Day. Players click on the mailbox to bring up the newspaper and are presented with items that they can purchase from their friends. On the first page, Supercell has the ability to promote other games, cross-promote their own titles or drive people to other destinations like their Facebook page, all using just one of the four newspaper cells.

Do your game justice

You spent the last nine months slaving over every last detail of that endless runner, why advertise something that betrays the finished product? Give players something consistent, something that represents exactly what they’ll get when they hop into your game and the chances of getting a devoted player will skyrocket.

Audit partners like you’re the IRS

If you’re smart,  you’re working with a variety of monetization partners. Some might be bringing you thousands upon thousands of users, while others, well, might not. But is the value of the users you’re acquiring? Are they playing your game and then deleting it? Are they playing a ton, but never paying? It’s important to track each player’s behavior so you get an accurate gauge of the lifetime value (LTV for you acronym lovers) to maximize return on investment (ROI). Volume is great, but if they don’t stick around and spend money on in-app purchases (IAPs; last one, I promise), they may as well not have downloaded your game in the first place.

For more helpful tips, feel free to ping me anytime at [email protected]!

About Nate Ahearn