Our 6 must-reads on rewarded video ads

Mobile gaming is a tough industry to break, so tips from those at the top of their field are always appreciated.


First they were saying you can’t make money with mobile games. Then it’s you can’t make money with free games, then with advertising-based games. Every single time the people saying it have been wrong.


Our most important thing is the player. A lot of people forget that these days.


At the Fyber Blog, we’ve been speaking to many of the brightest and best people working in mobile monetization over the past 12 months, getting them to share some of the secrets behind their success.


It makes for interesting reading and shines a light on many of the mobile industry’s best practices when it comes to monetization through ads.


Here’s a bite-sized rundown of six of our best articles on rewarded video ads, full of monetization tactics and with links to the original stories.

1. From free-to-play to view-to-play >>

Futureplay CEO Jami Laes sees a mobile industry that’s gradually shifting towards rewarded video monetization, even if we can’t perceive it directly. “Our brain isn’t recognized to see change,” Laes says. With that shift in mind, the Helsinki-based mobile veteran has built an entire studio around rewarded video ads, coining the term “view-to-play” along the way.


Futureplay’s rewarded video ads—across games like Idle Farming Empire (formerly Farm Away) and Idle City Empire (formerly Build Away)—offer gameplay boosts and rewards more commonly associated with in-app purchases. By focusing on ads, not IAPs, the development team has a lot more wiggle room when it comes to letting players speed up gameplay. And players love the ads, with an 80% engagement rate for rewarded video.

Futureplay Games rain cloud rewarded video ad integration multiplier boost

Laes now sees a future where view-to-play impacts even more mobile genres. “Even though people think it won’t work with base building or card mechanics, they just haven’t found the right way,” he says. It’s just a case of figuring out how to make players love the idea.


To read the full story on Futureplay and Laes’ innovative leadership style, click here.


If you don’t give bullshit to your players, you don’t need other rules. You’ll always do the right thing.

2. A lesson in integrating rewarded video ads >>

PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator became the #1 free app within 24 hours of its September 2016 launch, beating out Pokemon Go along the way. Perhaps no surprise, given the YouTuber’s hordes of passionate subscribers—currently numbering around 62 million.


But small Canadian studio Outerminds also managed to effortlessly nail the game’s rewarded video advertising, largely by putting player enjoyment first. “The decisions were made more in terms of pleasing the gamer than pleasing our wallet,” Outerminds co-founder Ghislain de Pessemier says.


Tuber Simulator lets players watch rewarded video ads in four distinct placements, all offering tangible rewards and all blended seamlessly, and knowingly, into the game’s theme. “We’re making fun of the ads themselves,” de Pessemier says. “Every time you’re watching an ad, there’s kind of a joke. It’s as if the game is super meta about advertisements.”


Read the rest of the story here, including how Outerminds first teamed up with PewDiePie.


Our four ad placements are perfect, in my opinion.

3. The rewarded video advertising checklist >>

Josh Nilson believes developers should integrate rewarded video ads with authenticity. The co-founder and CEO of Canadian studio East Side Games—behind mobile hits like Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money and Pot Farm—has a strong track record in this regard, and he’s happy to share his experience.

Trailer Park Boys Greasy Money rewarded video ad integration

For Nilson, ads must be completely opt-in, fit the game’s theme, and provide genuine value to the player. In addition, developers should think of the global implications of running rewarded video ads—keeping the game balanced in countries which lack ad inventory. And finally, Nilson recommends push notifications that let players know when they can interact with an ad.


“If you don’t have an effective way to make [ads] authentic for the player, then just don’t do it yet,” Nilson says.


For the full article on East Side Games, including great tips on building a community, click here.

4. SEGA’s mobile evolution >>

SEGA’s a gaming giant, but they’re a giant from a different generation. Despite partnering with Apple at the launch of the iPhone 3G, way back in 2008, SEGA struggled to grapple with the changing shape of the App Store—particularly the shift from paid games to free-to-play.


That all changed when SEGA experimented with an ad monetization model in Sonic Dash, alongside existing IAPs. Dropping the price from $1.99 to free saw Sonic Dash top the U.S. download charts for the first time, with no Apple App Store featuring help. “We had a huge volume of downloads,” chief marketing officer Mike Evans says, “and we started to make some really decent money.”


Now, SEGA has fully embraced F2P, with its ever-growing ad-supported collection of retro classics, SEGA Forever, bringing in players and helping to build a network. They’re then using that audience to help gauge the relative strengths of classic IPs on mobile, resulting in standalone releases like Crazy Taxi Gazillionaire and WWE Tap Mania.


Click here to read more about SEGA’s mobile transition, including a straightforward summary of the “penny gap” problem.


We’ve generated a very sustainable revenue stream, and ads is a big part of what we do.

5. Creating that “happy” feeling >>

Tired of pop-ups and banners, Game Hive turned to rewarded video ads—still in its infancy back in December 2014—for the breakout “clicker” hit Tap Titans. And the Toronto-based developer did so much right that Tap Titans quickly became a poster child for rewarded video advertising.


In its early stages, Tap Titans teaches players to click on a tiny, randomly appearing fairy in return for in-game rewards. “That little fairy triggered a happy feeling,” Game Hive co-founder Mark Wang says. “You get used to tapping that.” Later, the fairy lets players watch rewarded videos, and they jump at the chance. “Players love that,” Wang says. “They don’t feel that that’s an ad at all. They feel like it’s a reward.”


Game Hive followed up with multiple fairies in Tap Titans 2, linking them to key gameplay elements like skills trees. “That’s how we have one of the highest engagements for video ads watch, per player, in the industry,” Wang says. “I spoke with a lot of our partners, and any eligible players can watch like six, seven ads a day. That’s pretty rare in the mobile game industry.”


To get the full, exclusive story on Game Hive’s remarkable rise, built on a mantra of experimentation, click here.


I’ve never seen players want more ads, but we were just emptying all the impressions by every single ad provider we have, crazy as that sounds.

6. Putting rewarded video ads front and center >>

Germany’s Fluffy Fairy Games went from a four-man startup to a 50-employee studio in under two years. It did that by harnessing the revenue-earning potential of rewarded video ads—putting this right at the heart of their hit game, Idle Miner Tycoon.


Each time a player opens the game, they get a chance to double their idle income—accrued while they were away—by watching a rewarded video ad. It’s where the vast majority of players engage with ads, according to Nate Barker, Fluffy Fairy’s director of business development.

Idle Miner Tycoon rewarded video ad integrations

But the rewarded ad opportunities don’t stop there. Players can watch videos to boost their in-game income for four hours, and that bonus is stackable, meaning many players engage with ads for around 15-20 minutes every morning in order to maximize their gameplay.


It’s a fearless approach to rewarded video that’s helped the young studio—which is entirely profitable—earn 50% of its revenue through advertising dollars.


Read the full article to get more insights on Fluffy Fairy Games’ success.

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