The results of our In-game Ad Survey 2017, reveal that Free-to-Play (F2P) game developers are becoming increasingly accepting of the monetization opportunity of in-game advertising and are feeling more confident in their approach to ads.
In the last twelve months, the number of developers describing their ad strategies as being ‘effective’ has doubled, while the number feeling ‘cautious’ and ‘unsure’ about how best to integrate ads has decreased.
While game makers have traditionally had an uneasy relationship with ads, the study reveals that most developers (49%) now see ads as an ‘important monetization opportunity’. Last year the majority (51%) felt that ads were a ‘necessary evil’. In fact, a significant increase (21% up from 11%) now believe that ads actually ‘enhance player progress’.
Other key findings include:
• The vast majority of F2P games use multiple ad formats to maximise revenue, while only 20% of core games and 7% of casual games don’t use ads.
• Rewarded video ads are now the most popular ad format, deployed within 58% of F2P games (up from 44%), ahead of video ads (38%) and banners (34%).
• Developers are now adopting more complex ad strategies with big growth in the number of games managing 6+ ad networks (17% of games up from 8% in 2016). The use of ad mediation tools has also increased, with developers preferring unbiased to biased mediation platforms.
• Developers are still cautious about increasing ad frequency, with player churn (26%) the main concern, alongside lower levels of player enjoyment (21%) and less player engagement (18%). There is also a concern that higher ad frequencies could lead to lower eCPMs (12%) and a drop in ad fill rate (7%).
• The majority of developers (40%) still only serve one or less ads per session, while in-game advertising still only accounts for roughly a third (31%) of total game revenues.
Mark Robinson, CEO, deltaDNA, said: “The results of this year’s study are fascinating as they paint a contrasting picture and reveal a missed opportunity.
“On one hand, it’s clear that developers are becoming more comfortable with ads and more confident in the effectiveness of their ad strategies. Developers are increasingly adopting a ‘player first’ approach to ads, using them as a natural part of the game mechanics, which appears to be paying benefits.
“However, game makers are also still fearful about increasing ad frequency per session and as a result, many are still leaving a lot of cash on the table. This is borne out by the fact that average ad revenues are still only a third of total game revenues.”
Get the full study here.