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For Free-to-Play Mobile Games, Finding a Balance with Ads

Some respondents were concerned about a drop in ad fill rate

November 15, 2016 | Mobile | Media & Entertainment

Advertising is an inherent part of nearly all free-to-play mobile games. But as with many types of ad-supported content, balance is critical: too few, and the game won’t make money, but too many, and players might loser interest.

Primary Concern When Setting Ad Frequency in Free-to-Play Mobile Games According to Mobile Game Professionals Worldwide, Sep 2016 (% of respondents)

More than a third of mobile game professionals surveyed by game analytics company deltaDNA said their primary concern when setting ad frequency within free-to-play games was about depressing player engagement levels.

More than a quarter of respondents said they were primarily concerned about lower levels of player enjoyment, and 14% of mobile game professionals worry most about churn—that they’ll be cycling players in and out as they grow frustrated, rather than growing their user base.

Mobile game professionals weren’t just worried about player interaction. For example, 6% said they were concerned about potential loss of in-app purchase revenues, and nearly as many were concerned about a drop in ad fill rate.

Primary Type of Ad that US Mobile Gamers Prefer to View in Free-to-Play Games, Nov 2015 (% of respondents)

Though advertising within mobile games can be intrusive to users, that’s not to say that all players dislike seeing it. Much of the advertising within mobile games is rewards-based, and research from Unity Technologies found that nearly half of US mobile gamers who play at least monthly prefer viewing rewarded video ads in free-to-play games.

Moreover, some 29% of respondents said they preferred full-screen picture ads to support their free gaming habit.

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