You can test just about anything related to monetization (such as in-app purchases) and user acquisition (such as your referral process) in your game. it’s important to focus on one thing at a time so you can identify exactly what has caused a particular change.
Identifying what to test.
1. New ad placements, for example adding a trigger point for a Rewarded Video ad
2. New ad formats, for example Rewarded Video, Interstitial, or Banner ads
3. New prices for in-app purchases, for example lowering prices to reduce churn or increasing prices to boost revenue per player
4. Different scaling for accumulating virtual currency, for example increasing the amount of currency a player gets after set periods or actions, to give them more purchasing power and increase the likelihood that they’ll remain engaged.
(eCPM) effective cost per thousand impressions: is the standard measure of pricing for digital ad inventory. Publishers have the ability to set target eCPM rates for selling inventory in their game so they can evaluate what people are willing to pay for various ad placements and formats.
Fill rate is the percentage of ad requests that get filled by the ad networks you work with. Fill rate gives you an indicator of how much you can realistically demand for ad space in your game.
Retention (or players returning to your game) over 7 or 30 days
if you want to try new ad placements,
test one and see what happens.
Keep great gameplay at the forefront of your mind when testing.
Try not to implement everything at once,
as it can become difficult to isolate the impact each change has.
Dont try to implement the entire vision from the get go there may be an endless list of tactics you wish to employ in your game right now. Narrow it down to the essentials and build from there. This will enable you to isolate the effects, positive or negative, to specific things you add or change in your game. It will also help you optimize over the long term.
One simple way to set yourself up for long-term monetization success is to plan for what your game’s revenue generation may look like a year down the road. Build placement spot for ads or IAP to appear but do not implement them until it is ready for an upgrade or change due to other things working or not working.
To keep yourself on track throughout your game’s development cycle, launch, and post-launch, make sure you have a checklist that includes:
--- Critical items you need to account for
--- Why you need to account for them
--- What the specific deliverable is against each item
As with any element of running a business,
you always need to start with your customer.
Gathering quantitative data: data expressed in a numerical form
identifying the games in your category with the highest download numbers. aving a look at these numbers gives you a good source of who is succeeding. Understanding why they are succeeding requires deeper evaluation.
identify the games in your category with the highest revenue. Tools like AppAnnie or Apptopia provide competitive insight into which ad networks have been integrated by specific games, what the download trends have been for those games, and directional guidance on how much revenue these games are generating.
the insight you can gather here is that if a game similar to yours runs all of their ads through networks which specialize in rewarded video, it’s likely to be a clear indicator of the value of that particular ad format for your own game.
Gathering qualitative data: is non-numerical data.
Take some time to download and play comparable games yourself, in order to get a better sense of what seems to be working for game developers further along in their journey. Specifically, pay close attention to
--- Which formats are used
--- The stage(s) of the game where each format is used
--- How ads and IAP are used together, if this applies to the game
--- How does the user engage with IAP and ad touchpoints?
--- Do you think these touchpoints are well-integrated in the game?
--- How could the touchpoints be improved?
Metrics to evaluate are:
2. Gameplay metrics
3. Performance and technical stability metrics
It is crucial to evaluate all three areas
to ensure you are keeping your players happy,
Interpreting the data:
--- Impression volume: the number of times an ad displays in your game over a given time period
--- eCPM: the effective cost per thousand impressions paid to you
--- Fill rate: the percentage of time in which an ad serves at a specific price point
--- Revenue: a function of all of these metrics.
All of these monetization metrics should constantly be evaluated to see where optimizations can be made.
players are always the true source of your revenue, Keeping players in your game allows for more opportunities to monetize for the long term.
--- Player retention: the rate in which players return to your game over a certain period of time
--- Time spent: the average amount of time a player spends in your game during a single session
--- Player progression: how far a player, on average, makes it through your game
--- Purchases (if using IAP): which items are popular purchases, and in what quantities
--- Churn points: levels or stages of your game that have a high rate of players disengaging and leaving
The best way to evaluate is to launch
your game without ads to establish a baseline
of how users behave in the absence of ads.
In some cases where ads complement gameplay, like rewarded video for instance, you may even find that your gameplay metrics improve. This is the most effective way to generate momentum as both your user base and revenue per user increase in parallel.
Top level monetization strategies for your game, such as your core KPIs and business model, shouldn’t change very frequently. However, the tactics behind them may frequently change in order to keep your game growing and catering to your target players.
1. Make monetization an integral part of your game design
2. Know your customer
3. Know your options
4. Test and iterate
5. Technology and your customers change, and so should you