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To build a great games business, unify your marketing and monetization strategy

Meta's Rob Kiely on the future of monetization and growth

More publishers are broadening their perspective from building great games to building great video game businesses. Gone are the days of developing games in isolation of marketing and monetization strategy. Instead, the most successful mobile game businesses unify their approach to user acquisition (UA) and monetization, build ad strategy into game development, and leverage multiple growth levers.

Nearly 70% of games decision makers are now developing games with a unified UA and monetization strategy, according to a recent survey of more than 500 mobile game businesses across 17 countries, which Meta Audience Network commissioned with IDC and published in the report: Ads, IAP, and Beyond: Supercharge your game.

Rob Kiely, Global Director, GAMES Mid-Market at Meta

Here we’ll explore recommendations for three areas of games business growth:

  • Which player acquisition strategies are effective in a changing app ecosystem?
  • What role should in-app ads play in my monetization mix?
  • How are mobile game businesses thinking about future monetization and growth?

Which player acquisition strategies are effective in a changing app ecosystem?

Mobile game businesses are most successful with a holistic acquisition and monetization strategy and in-app ads (IAA) are critical in this mix. In Ads, IAP, and Beyond: Supercharge your game, we reported that 83% of developers found IAA to be effective in acquiring players for other games in their portfolio…especially as part of a suite of user acquisition solutions.

Leverage social communities to acquire players

In addition to ads, there are many ways game publishers can optimize their user acquisition and growth mix – depending on the needs of their games.

Brand communities aren't new in the gaming world, but the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic intensified the collective need to forge social connections. This is evidenced by the fact that more than half of those surveyed said they're also acquiring players via:

  • Working with social media influencers and content creators (54%)
  • Creating social communities and networks outside the game (53%)
  • Using social/viral uptake features that are built directly into their games, such as custom invites to a tournament (51%)

What role should in-app ads play in my monetization mix?
Fewer mobile games are monetizing with just in-app purchases, and in-app ads are increasingly considered essential to a successful monetization mix.

The Meta Audience Network-commissioned IDC survey revealed that 93% of developers now use in-game ads as part of their monetization mix.

Contrast this with just three years ago, when 83% of mobile games featured advertising SDKs, according to 2019 results reported by data.ai in our 2020: Ad Monetization in Mobile Games: The Untapped Potential.

Balance IAA + IAP to increase ARPDAU and retention

The 2022 Meta Audience Network report also revealed that decision-makers increasingly prioritize balancing in-app-ads (IAA) and in-app purchases (IAP) within their games. Most respondents noted that this combination outperformed average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) and player retention targets versus IAP-only games.

Specifically, 62% of developers agree that a hybrid of IAA+IAP incorporated at launch helps maximize day eight and day 28 retention and revenue.

Offer a positive value exchange with rewarded video

When considering ad formats, rewarded video ads offer a positive value exchange by giving the player an in-game reward for their time engaging with the ad.

  • Nearly 47% of survey respondents selected rewarded video ads as the most important ad format
  • 74% of the developers surveyed who implemented rewarded video saw neutral or positive impact on retention
  • And interestingly, 39% saw an increase in IAP revenue with 29% seeing a rise in player lifetime value

How are mobile game businesses thinking about future monetization and growth?

Finally, we’ve gathered insights on ways you can diversify your revenue streams and build a balanced player acquisition mix to drive your business model forward.

Diversify revenue streams

The developers we surveyed shared a few additional avenues for monetization beyond IAA and IAP:

  • 53% leveraged sponsorships or licensing deals
  • 44% are looking to gaming portals or other app stores
  • 28% are exploring organic discovery

Your next step should be to consider which growth areas make sense for your business and build the most resilient revenue mix for a sustainable future, starting today.

Download the 2022 Ads, IAP and Beyond report for more rich insights and strategies to help guide your gaming business into its next phase of growth.

Supercharge Your Game with Meta Audience Network
For more information on how Meta Audience Network can help you maximize your mobile game revenue, visit our Supercharge Your Game resource hub on the Meta Audience Network website.

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