How 500+ publishers are building sustainable mobile game growth

This article is part of a VB Lab Insights series paid for by Meta Audience Network.

In a changing app ecosystem, growth-minded mobile publishers have evolved from developing great games to building great gaming businesses.

Meta Audience Network recently commissioned a survey, conducted by IDC, of more than 500 mobile game business decision-makers across 17 countries. The resulting insights are published in the new report: Ads, IAP, and beyond: Supercharge your game. 

Below are seven recommendations, backed by this research, to help gaming businesses maximize monetization and growth. The recommendations are categorized by the questions we asked about user acquisition (UA), monetization and future development.

Which growth strategies are effective in a changing app ecosystem?

  1. Unify UA and monetization 

According to the Ads, IAP, and beyond: Supercharge your game report, nearly 70% of gaming decision makers are now developing games with a unified UA and monetization strategy.

  1. Cross-promote with in-app ads 

The research also found that 83% of developers believe in-app ads (IAA) are effective in acquiring players for other games in their portfolio, especially as part of a suite of UA solutions.

3. Nurture social communities

In addition to ads, gaming businesses are building social communities as part of their marketing strategy. More than half of those surveyed also acquire players by working with social media influencers, creating social communities outside the game and building social features into their games. 

4. Expand to new markets

More publishers also plan to grow their games globally. Of the 500+ surveyed, 42% said they plan to expand to new markets, especially to the United States / Canada, Europe or APAC.

What role should in-app ads play in your monetization mix?

5. Build a balanced IAA and IAP model from the start

Which monetization model performs better at game launch? And how does that impact retention? According to 62% of developers surveyed, a combination of IAA and IAP is the best strategy to meet both ARPDAU and retention targets at game launch.

6. Boost retention with rewarded video
Nearly half (47%) of survey respondents selected rewarded video ads as the most important ad format. Beyond increasing mobile ad revenue, rewarded video ads also positively impact multiple game KPIs. Of mobile game developers surveyed who implemented rewarded video ads:

  • 75% saw the same or higher number of players 
  • 30% saw an increase in player lifetime value
  • 39% saw an increase in IAP revenue 

“With rewarded video, we figure out the right balance that maximizes player engagement as well as IAP and ad revenue,” said Dmitriy Makiyevskiy, Director of Ad Partnership and Operations at Zynga, in a previously published success story. 

How should you plan ahead for sustainable monetization and growth? 

  1. Diversify revenue streams

Developers surveyed shared a few additional avenues they’re exploring for revenue growth: 

  • Sponsorships or licensing deals (53%)
  • Gaming portals and/or other app stores (44%)
  • Additional distribution partners (42%)
  • Organic discovery (28%)

In light of these insights, what’s your next step? Look at your growth strategy and consider your best options for acquiring more players; diversify revenue; and build a resilient monetization model. The seven strategies above can serve as a guide, and the infographic below as a reference, as you move your gaming business toward next-level success. 

For more in-depth insights, also download the full 2022 Ads, IAP and Beyond report.

Hahn Kim is Head of App Monetization, Americas, at Meta Audience Network.

Source: IDC White Paper, sponsored by Meta Audience Network, Succeeding in Mobile In-Game Ads, #US49232322, June 2022

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Originally appeared on: TheSpuzz