When Finnish studio Seriously integrated Unity Ads into mobile hit Best Fiends, they boosted ad revenues by 250% without any negative impact on player retention. Here’s how they worked with the Unity Ads team to achieve that.
Seriously opened its doors just two years ago led by a founding team of former Rovio execs and games industry veterans. Debut title Best Fiends has enjoyed acclaim and achieved impressive revenues. It’s also a game that’s committed to respecting its players where monetization is concerned.
At launch, Best Fiends employed the familiar in-app purchase monetization method. It worked well, but given that, on average, just 3% of a typical game’s user base ever purchase in-game items, it was obvious that more could be done.
Initially, Seriously asked the Unity Ads team to help them out with creating video trailers to promote Best Fiends and improve user acquisition. That approach was enormously successful and Seriously rapidly saw total Best Fiends player numbers clear ten million. But that was just the beginning. Next, Seriously harnessed the full power of the Unity Ads platform to monetize their users by placing video ad content within their game.
The integration into Best Fiends was actually a basic one at first; players could earn extra bonus coins by watching a video ad. Monetization improved, prompting Seriously to work closely with Unity to deepen/optimize their Unity Ads integration.
“We wanted to create an opt-in experience,” explains Seriously CEO and Co-Founder Andrew Stalbow. “Our user reviews on the App Store and in Google Play are significantly better than many of our competitors, and we’re focused on keeping it that way.”
Seriously strived, with the Unity Ads team’s input, to introduce advertising that was effective, appropriate, and, most importantly, optional for the player. The result was a simple chance-based spinner wheel, implemented in a way that kept with the game aesthetic. It let the player choose to trade watching a short advert for some in-game items that might otherwise cost money.
Players who aren’t interested in ads can happily skip them, while those eager for more free content are served advertising that doesn’t interfere with gameplay flow and pacing.
The results of this new integration were fast and striking. Best Fiends’ ad revenues grew to 2.5 times their former level and ad engagement skyrocketed. All this while improving both session length and player lifetime. Ad revenue per paying user also climbed 250% as a result.
The logic behind this improvement to an already successful game is really a simple one. Unity Ads gives players a way to play without paying that still improves revenues. The platform provides users with a passport to premium content without pushing the customer to act in a way they don’t want to.
It’s certainly worked for Seriously. Currently, Best Fiends has been generated $11 million in gross revenue. 51,000 new players join the game every day, and, in total, 850,000 hours a day are put into Best Fiends by players. What’s more, Seriously’s game has seen monthly active player numbers hit 4.9 million.