Ads are essential in free-to-play games, so we have created smartads for targeted advertising. It is a dynamic and independent ad mediation and management platform, developed specifically to drive monetization in games with low player numbers. In this article, we look at the new opportunities available to developers using smartads, for player engagement and monetization and discover the secrets behind the technology, learning how strategic ad mediation can improve the player experience in games.
The player experience is at the heart of our process, therefore, personalization is key. Smartads takes this key innovative approach to in-game advertising, and provides developers with a comprehensive view of the entire game economy, allowing them to balance in-app purchases (IAP) and ad-serving with positive game experiences. It combines intelligent player targeting with dynamic ad mediation to increase in-game ad revenues. Smartads ensures that each player gets the monetization experience they prefer by segmenting them into either ad responsive or IAP responsive groups – which means that ad responsive players are targeted earlier, while those who are not responsive are protected.
What differentiates smartads is our highly optimized mediation, which guarantees best possible eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions) per player. In addition to this, we enable powerful analytics, per user reporting on ad activity, the ability to control ads based on player behaviours, total control of the SDK, the ability to be up and running in 15 minutes, and most importantly, we are completely independent to ensure your mediation waterfall is always set-up in your best interests.
With smartads, there are two ways to target ads. The first, is by allowing the platform to predict the value of each network, and automatically waterfall the mediation based on the ad value in real time, at a user level, which maximises the ad impression value CPM (cost per mile). The second is by maximizing impression density and fill-rates by using predictive modelling of player behaviors and player targeting, to fully optimize ad relevancy.
The cascade is an ordered list of Ad Networks. Smartads will attempt to retrieve an ad from the first ad network on the list, if it fails it will go to the second and so on, until it has exhausted the list. The ad networks are sorted based on their predicted value for that player. For each game there are 28 different cascades, dynamically generated to cover different regions and device types. Each interaction can be analyzed by viewing the ‘ad records’ information. Three standard events drive the analysis – ‘requestAd’ records the cascade attempting each Ad Network, ‘showAd’ records when an ad is shown and ‘closeAd’ records the what a user did with an ad.
The deltaDNA ‘Engage’ functionality controls the ads. On each ‘showAd’ call, the game can provide a decision point. This will then call ‘Engage’ and check if the ad should be shown or not. Again, personalization is paramount here. By default, we will show an ad, so ‘Engage’ is used to switch ads off for user-defined player segments. Multi-part campaigns capabilities will shortly be available, where you will be able to choose whether a target receives an ad or a message, as a consequence of a previous game interaction.
We provide access to over 30 ad networks which allows for the highest eCPM to be selected, automatically cascading, which saves internal time and resources. And we don’t just cater for the big guys, any sized games can make money from ads with smartads mediation technology – our tools maximise eCPM, with one check per month sent out.
We are always looking into unique ways in which we can enhance our technology and functionality, so going forward, we will add multi-level campaign functions, more ad networks, different ad types, our own ad rendering engine, better QA tools and standard house Ads, all to enhance monetization, look and feel; and to improve player experience even further.