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A look back on Unity Ads product features and updates

February 8, 2022 in Games | 10 min. read
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Throughout 2021, the Unity Ads team focused on what we believe is important to developers: Gaining more control and flexibility, having the tools and confidence to react quickly in a fast-changing environment, and getting high monetization and user acquisition (UA) performance while maintaining player experience. 

As we look forward to another exciting year for Unity Ads, let’s dive deeper into the product developments from 2021 that will pave the path for 2022.

Empowering developers with greater control

Putting more control in the hands of developers enables them to build out their monetization and user acquisition strategies faster and make smart decisions that add value to their bottom line.

Here are a few product and feature updates from last year that were brought in to help empower developers further:

Ad Controls to protect brand safety and reputation

Publishers now have the tools available in the Monetization Dashboard to confidently protect the player experience by easily managing the ad content shown in their games. With Unity’s Ad Controls, you can make properly informed blocking decisions, such as blocking an advertiser or individual creatives.

The previewing functionality also provides developers with more transparency over the third-party content that’s shown to their players. That means you can protect your brand reputation and meet safety requirements with Ad Controls while blocking the least amount of demand.

Dashboard showing how to find Ad Controls tab

Check out how Big Fish uses Ad Controls to protect their brand safety by showing ads that are right for their audience. 

Ad Unit innovations

Before the roll-out of the Ad Units for Unity Ads, Placements within the Monetization Dashboard were containers for both ad format settings and eCPM floor settings. This required users to make the same edits multiple times per placement and was inefficient.

With Ad Units, you can now link all placements to a few ad units, and do mass changes to settings in only one place, significantly reducing the amount of time spent either setting up or maintaining ad strategies. 

Lastly Ad Units also align better with mediation platforms allowing you to mirror your mediation setup within unity for ease of use. Not to mention a whole host of additional quality of life improvements aimed at managing many eCPM targets at once and seeing their performance all in one place.

An easier way to upload and manage Creative Packs

For Unity’s user acquisition solutions, the Creatives Upload page helps advertisers better manage their ads across multiple apps in the Acquire Dashboard. Advertisers can more easily upload videos, playables, and end cards, to optimize their campaign workflows. 

A new ad format was also added to the Creative Pack in 2021, which allows advertisers to upload a video ad followed by a playable end card. This format also has a call-to-action at the end for users to take the next step, such as installing the advertised game. 

The playable end card feature gives players a more engaging ad experience by seeing gameplay within the ad and then being invited to try it directly in the app.

Screen showing Creatives Upload tab

Programmatically manage campaigns using APIs 

Continuing the promise of reducing steps for advertisers, we launched several new endpoints within the Advertising Management API to enable advertisers to manage their apps, campaigns, bids, source bids, return on ad spend (ROAS), as well as budgets and ad creatives. 

These new endpoints reduce workflows and allow for more flexibility so advertisers can focus on measuring and strategizing for growth.

Read the API documentation here.

Extending ROAS targeting for Audience Pinpointer

Audience Pinpointer helps advertisers achieve their campaign goals more efficiently by optimizing campaigns for return on ad spend. We previously had support for ROAS targeting using in-app purchases and in 2021 we added ROAS targeting using ad revenue on Android for customers using Adjust and AppsFlyer as their MMP. 

ROAS targeting allows advertisers to set a target for return on ad spend while our platform adjusts the bids in real-time. Set a maximum bid which will keep bids within the set limit, putting you in control of your ad spend.

Read our documentation for more information about ROAS targeting and check out how Game Jam acquired 85% of tier users with this feature.

Unity Mediation release

In October 2021, Unity Mediation, currently in beta, became a new option to help developers diversify their ad demand to drive more competition for impressions and increase eCPMs. This new tool helps publishers to fill ad spots quickly and competitively, creating strong monetization opportunities without compromising on player experience.

The tool launched with access to several networks, including Unity, AdMob, ironSource, Vungle, and Applovin for waterfall, and AdColony for waterfall and in-app bidding. Meta Audience Network also became available for in-app bidding with Unity Mediation in December 2021, which gives developers even more access to ad demand to increase competition for impressions. Check out our mediation resources to get started.

Providing greater visibility into performance and insights

To drive monetization success, developers need visibility into how their strategies are performing and insights that help them understand how each decision will impact revenue. Here are a number of improvements we made to help publishers and advertisers gain this visibility:

  • iOS 14 reporting and revenue impact forecasting to understand how users reacted and the impacts it had. 
  • Change history in the Monetization Dashboard can help publishers review and track what changes may have impacted their revenue. 
  • The Campaign History and Performance tool allows Advertisers to see their campaign performance over the last 30 days against the changes that were made to the campaign. They can see how changes to bids, creative packs, targeting, and budget may affect their overall campaign performance. 
  • Dashboard insights can help publishers increase performance by highlighting areas within their setup that can improve monetization success.
  • Ad-blocking impact forecasting within Ad Controls informs better blocking decisions to preserve revenue.
  • A/B testing capabilities for Unity Mediation compares the performance of two waterfalls and analyzes which variation is performing better to increase your earnings.

Addressing the ever-changing ad landscape

The mobile advertising space saw many changes last year, from iOS 14 to new regional rules and regulations as well as continued market consolidation. Staying on top of all the changes can feel like a full time job for developers. Our focus was, and will continue to be, supporting developers with the right solutions to stay on top of the ever-changing landscape.

iOS 14 privacy solutions 

User data privacy rules are constantly changing and Apple's iOS 14 update is a good example of this. Here’s a series of updates we released for the Unity Ads SDK to address the iOS 14 changes:

  • Our iOS 14 Support Package was rolled out to address Apple's SKAdNetwork and App Tracking Transparency (ATT) frameworks. This support package within the Unity Editor also provides a customizable context screen so publishers can explain to users why opting-in can be beneficial for them. 
  • The “Info.plist” feature that aggregated DSPs to comply with ATT.
  • SDK 3.5.1 which complied with ATT before the regulation was enforced.

To further support the development community during times of change, we created an iOS 14 resource center. Here, you can find best practices, guides, and other content to help you stay ahead of changes that could potentially impact their monetization and user acquisition strategies.

Screen showing Unity Ads lookback

Enhanced fraud protection for iOS 14

Our fraud protection infrastructure was also enhanced to better protect our advertisers. We fortified our ad network to continue to serve quality supply to our advertisers when fraud signals were reduced due to iOS 14 updates.

Here’s to 2022

We believe the world is a better place with more creators in it, and that mission will continue to drive our focus in 2022. We are excited to continue enabling developers with the right tools to fuel their passions and provide the expertise needed for their success.

These product updates are just the beginning as we aim to continue to support you in the complex mobile advertising environment.

If you want to stay in-the-know about all the latest developments from the Unity Ads team, sign up for the newsletter to get product and feature updates as well as premium insights sent straight to your inbox.

February 8, 2022 in Games | 10 min. read

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