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An introduction to advertising

January 20, 2015 in Games | 3 min. read
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Welcome to the big bad world of advertising. As a game developer, advertising can be a little overwhelming. How do I make money? How do I acquire users? What do all of those weird acronyms even mean?

Let’s take a step back and look at look at both sides of the game advertising coin:

  • Monetizing your game by displaying ads for other products within your game.

  • Advertising your game in order to acquire users.

Monetization – Displaying ads inside your game

There are, of course, several strategies you can employ to make money from your game – by displaying ads, by using in-app purchases and so on. These strategies aren’t necessarily exclusive. Games that feature in-app purchases often display ads as a complementary revenue source. Games without in-app purchases can generate significant revenue if they have sufficient numbers of users.

If you decide to display ads within your game, you’ll become what’s known within the industry as a publisher making inventory (the facility to display ads within your game) available to advertisers.

Advertisers will look to target particular player demographics (players with specific characteristics, those living in a particular region of the world, for example). In order to connect you as a publisher with advertisers who find your players particularly attractive, you’ll need the services of an advertising network.

Advertising networks, such as Unity Ads (currently, probably the fastest-growing Game Ad network in the world) receive money from advertisers for providing them with inventory. Ad networks use algorithms to determine when it’s relevant to display a particular advert within a given game, both to match up advertisers’ demographic requirements with a particular game’s players and, more importantly, to optimize the chances of players clicking ads.

If you’re considering becoming a publisher and making advertising inventory available within your game, there are a number of strategies you can employ to ensure that your users don’t find those ads intrusive.

A particularly successful one, in our experience, is linking ad views to in-game rewards (coins and the like). More on how best to integrate ads into your game in a later post...

Unity Ads in Crossy Road

Advertising - Acquiring users through in-game ads

Every developer needs players for their game, but not every developer knows if spending time and money on advertising makes sense. If you’re considering advertising your game, the first thing you need to work out is how much each player is worth to you.

If your game makes a relatively large amount of money per player from in-game purchases or ads you display inside your game, using advertising to acquire new users may well make sense.

If the cost per install of advertising your game is less than the amount of revenue you make from each install the difference between the two is pure profit. In the jargon, this is expressed as follows:

ARPU – Average Revenue Per User

        Each user you bring in typically brings in X dollars in revenue

CPI – Cost Per Install

Acquiring a new user through advertising, will cost you Y dollars.

        ARPU – CPI = Profit

Once you really get into advertising, there’s a lot more to discuss: advertising creatives, optimization, targeting… we’ll go into all of that in future blog posts.

Final screen of an ad from Crossy Road

Unity Ads

Crossy Road developers Hipster Whale chose to monetize their game by publishing ads (amongst other things). With Unity Ads, they were able to generate over $1 Million in revenue in just a few weeks.

Getting started with Unity Ads is very simple – just import the free Unity Ads plugin from the Asset Store and you’re good to go!

[asset src="https://assetstore-content.appspot.com/21027"]

January 20, 2015 in Games | 3 min. read
Topics covered