In-app advertising has been one of the most popular models of mobile game and app monetization. To excel in IAA and make the most out of your mobile game, one thing that can make or break is your ad placement strategy. Setting up a good ad placement strategy is to ensure your ads are visible and appeal to more clicks while not annoying your users. The greatest checklist any Publisher should go for is that ads should:
✔ Appear at the suitable time
✔ Be shown in the right place
✔ With a reasonable frequency
With in-app advertising, there are three most widely-used ad formats: Banner, Interstitial, and Rewarded ads. Each ad format should have different ad placements to maximize revenue and enhance the user experience.
1. Banner Ads
A banner ad is typically displayed at the top or bottom of the screen. It usually takes up a small portion of the device’s display and can be static or animated. The content within the banner refreshes automatically after a certain period, between 60 to 90 seconds. Users are less likely to be annoyed with banner ads since they only take up a small space and don’t affect users’ actions on the app/game.
Where to place banner ads
Banner ads are one of the best ways to get a product or service noticed. They can be on the top or bottom of the screen, in-app notifications, and even on a page’s loading screen. The key is to make sure the placement is relevant to the user’s experience.
The recommended areas to place banners are where users are likely to look or spend time. Common placements include the top and bottom of a page, after displaying content, immediately before or after a menu option. As with any form of advertising, testing different locations is key in order to find out what works best for your audience and context.
When to show banners
At first, you can show your banners right when the app is opened since this doesn’t damage retention but maximizes ad revenue.
The next right timing can also be when they enter a new feature or level in the app and engage with content that is likely relevant to the banner ad. The rule of thumb is that the user has plenty of time to view them. This could be during a pause between game levels or after a user completes an in-app task.
How often should Banner ad appear
At regular intervals throughout the app experience is common. The frequency is also up to user activity and behavior, with ads only appearing when the user is likely to be engaged. Ads should not appear too frequently, as this could be annoying and lead to user attrition.
A/B testing is essential to determining the ideal frequency for your banner ad placements. Try different things to see what works best. It can go two ways: users prefer shorter but more frequent banner ads or a single placement that is active throughout the entire session, which brings in the most money.
2. Interstitial Ads
Interstitial ads are full-screen advertisements that appear within a mobile app or game. Like banner ads, interstitials can come in static or animated; sometimes, they are playable. This full-screen ad format often has high ad viewability, but it also comes with the stakes of getting policy violations if not implemented carefully.
When to show Interstitial ads
Interstitial ads should appear when a user is transitioning between different sections of an app, at natural breaks in the app’s user flow. Their placements should be in areas of high user engagement, such as during game levels, or at the end of a session. This gives a better user experience as they are not forced to view an ad while using the app’s main functionalities.
When the app/game has just opened, it is never a wise choice to welcome your users with interstitial ads – this is vital. There is the app-open ad format for that. Still, many Publishers got it wrong and got policy violations.
Interstitial ads should be shown when a user has completed an action, such as finishing a level in a game or completing a task in an app. Interstitial ads should not occur too frequently, and it is essential to ensure that users are not bombarded with too many ads.
How often should Interstitial ads appear
This specific ad format should not jump out too often as it can be disruptive and annoying for users. A good frequency to follow is to offer an interstitial ad after every 30 minutes of usage. This gives the user enough time to get used to the app and complete actions without interruption.
Interstitial ads should only appear periodically so users don’t see too many in a row or get surfed when using the app.
Implementing frequency caps and rate limits on interstitial ad placement is important as over-saturation may diminish the effectiveness and weaken user loyalty.
3. Rewarded ads
Rewarded ads are advertisements within mobile apps and games that allow users to receive an in-game reward in exchange for watching an ad or interacting with it. Rewards can include coins, points, levels, and other in-game assets. Publishers tend to implement this format since it is less intrusive and more welcomed by users. Plus, this is one of the highest-paying ad formats for mobile apps and games.
Where to place rewarded ads
The gateway to Rewarded ads should appear in popular user locations, such as a home page, menu page, options page, or an area of frequent use. These ad placements will help maximize the visibility and potential revenue of the ad. Additionally, ads should be integrated in such a way as to not interrupt the user’s experience or hinder normal app functionality.
When to show rewarded ads
Rewarded ads are user-initiated ads, which means that users should never have to see this ad format unwillingly, but choose to see it in return for in-game assets. This could be during longer play sessions; after level completions, or while they’re exploring new content. Other times like when they are in need of a specific booster item, or another life to try it over, is ideal timing to ask them to play ads and get rewards.
What other ways can you implement rewarded ads
- Daily/Extra currency
This script is straightforward yet strategic. Users simply watch ads and then get in-game money/currency in return. This can be a reward for them for just showing up. Instead of a daily check-in and giving out in-game currency for free, make it a reward for seeing an ad. Another choice is making it a bonus/extra amount of currency when they have already do the daily check-in.
2. Boosters, extra life, replay
This is one of the best ideas to prevent churn. Sometimes, there are levels that are extremely hard, or tools that are a tad more premium. Offering users a second chance/boosters/extra life, or a one-time key is a more accessible way than making them pay for IAPs.
3. IAP discounts ads
Many Publishers give out discounts for in-app purchase items if a user chooses to watch an ad. This strategy encourages unsure or hesitating players to spend money and loyal players to take advantage of the deal. Either way, you can make some money out of this.
- Note: Rewarded ads can make high eCPM while pleasing users. It may seem very tempting to put them everywhere, but Publishers should also keep in mind their game’s economy. Giving out too many rewards can affect the game balance, and create game asset inflation.
It is important to carefully consider the best placements for banner, interstitial, and rewarded ads in mobile apps and games to ensure maximum results. By doing so, you will maximize the return on your monetization while respecting users and their gaming experience. With the right ad placement strategies and thorough testing and analytics, Publishers can optimize their monetization efforts and better contribute to building a meaningful relationship between publishers and consumers.