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9 Jan 2014

How to Utilize In-Game Advertising the Right Way

In other words: how to use in-game advertising effectively without angering your fanbase. Without a doubt, in-game advertising can be an awesome way to earn additional revenue, yet it’s also a great way to annoy your players. Moreover, if implemented incorrectly, it’s a prime way to ensure your players never return to the game. Yet there are correct methods you can use to ensure that in-game advertising is not only implemented into your indie mobile game, but is also used in a way that will keep your player’s from getting annoyed by you. The following are strategies you must use if you want to implement ads appropriately.


Ensure the amount of interruptions is minimal

People hate being sold anything. It’s just a fact of life. Yet, people don’t hate ads that are useful (more information on that in a minute). With that being said, people hate being sold something if they are kicking back, relaxing, and playing a game. Thus, you must carefully implement ads into your game so they don’t annoy the player trying to enjoy their game. For example, consider showing ads between levels as the next level loads, and keep the ad on-screen for only a few seconds. The trick is to show ads only during natural pauses of the game (the pause screen itself could be a viable option).


Integrate ads into the UI

Always keep the UI in mind whenever adding ads to your game. The reason? Because you do not want players to accidentally click an ad while they are in the middle of playing your game. Ads that are not integrated into the UI will cause players to accidentally ‘stumble’ as they are playing the game. Case in point: I remember playing an iOS game about a year ago that placed the ‘Next’ button right below a large ad between levels. Many times I was accidentally click the ‘Next’  button if I was in a rush to get to the next level, and it became so frustrating that I stopped playing the game altogether.

Integrate your ads appropriately, and your players will continue coming back for more.


Know your audience, target your ads to their taste

One of the first rules to creating anything is to know your audience. As you are developing your indie game, you probably have a great idea as to what type of players will be playing your game. As a result, the ads should be targeted to them as well. If your target audience is 30-something males, you don’t want the ads that pop up to sell things they wouldn’t be interested in, such as makeup and upcoming episodes of The View.

Instead, do some research to discover what your target audience is interested in (the tactics you can use to learn this information will be coming up in a future post). The more targeted the ads, the more clicks each ad with receive, thus increasing your revenue.


Playtest, playtest, playtest

You also need to measure how negatively or positively players react to how advertisements are shown in-game, and this is accomplished via playtesting. Before you begin showing any advertising in-game, you need to do some research and discover the best way to implement your ads in the game. For example, while you may place all of your ads on the loading screen of each level and also place it in a place where players can see the ad but will not accidentally click the ad, you may find that players are reacting to said ad negatively due to the ad being displayed a few seconds too long. By decreasing the time the ads are shown, you may quickly find that players do not have an issue with the ads to begin with.

Playtesting is vital is how the ads are displayed and used in-game. Obtain as much data as possible to help you to make an informed decision (while following the tips above of course), and you are going to find that you are indeed able to utilize in-game ads appropriately without putting a bad taste in your player’s mouths.

Do you have any additional tips for using in-game ads appropriately? Let us know in the comments below!

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