The Future of Mobile Game Advertising – 7 Predictions

Let’s start with the elephant in the room – predicting the future is a funky business.

Don’t trust anyone that tells you he knows what the future looks like. With that said, you can treat the rest of this post as it is meant to be – a fun attempt to guess some of the trends and maybe spike some interesting ideas and discussions.
seven predictions about changes in mobile games and ways to monetize them within the Soomla platform for game developers.

Video Ads Will Remain Strong

Betting on an existing trend seems like a an easy one but history does show the Gaming Industry can be rocky one so there is really no guarantee for any trend to continue. That said, there are quite a few reasons, why video is a very good format for mobile games:
  • Easy access to creative materials – they’re called video games for a reason
  • Highly effective format that delivers an immersive experience
  • Native fit inside other games and other types of affordable inventory

Lower Banners Will Go Away

It is just a bad format all over. Low quality clicks for advertisers, annoying for users and low revenue for publishers.

The ‘Click’ action Will Change from Tap to Swipe

This one is more of a wishful thinking than an actual prediction. There are just too many parties involved to make such a change that obviously impacts CTR, CPCs and CPMs. However, here are some reasons why this change makes sense:
  • Small screen sizes combined with big fingers makes the tapping less accurate than a mouse click on a PC
  • High ratio of accidental clicks drives click quality down
  • The context switching between apps takes longer so the accidental clicks are more annoying for the users
  • Swiping is a fun experience
  • A user that swipes an ad is much more likely to convert later on
  • As the mobile ad industry matures there is more room for specific formats that are purpose built as opposed to ones that originated from PC/Web

User Selection and More In-Ad Interaction

About 2-3 years ago there was an attempt to innovate online video advertising by giving the user a choice between a few video ads. This makes a lot of sense as the user who actually made a conscious choice to watch an ad is more likely to take action later on. In online video, this didn’t catch on but it seems that this approach can be a better fit for mobile game ads.
  • Gaming content is interactive while watching an online video is a passive experience.
  • It’s easy to create a fun selection experience in mobile touch screen
  • Video is today one of the most effective formats for mobile game advertising

Twitter will Become a Big Source for User Acquisition

Many game publishers consider Facebook as the best source of new users. The combination of the in-feed ads, the high ratio of mobile usage, the targeting capabilities and the volumes makes Facebook campaigns the #1 or #2 choice today. Twitter shares very similar advantages but reaches different audiences than FB. Once twitter launches such a platform it will be a big hit.

More Native In-Game Advertising Experiences

While the top grossing titles are actually moving away from advertising as a source of monetization, there is a new breed of publishers who specializes in bringing masses of users and monetize them based on ads. Many of those publishers relay on sequels or a more templated approach to design, development and can invest more in creating better in-game ad experiences that makes the ads feels less intrusive. I’m not talking about product placements, these are very hard to justify. I’m talking about nicer ways to put an interstitial, a video ad or an offer wall and actually making it look like it belongs. Some of the offer wall providers are already offering their offers in a form of a feed that can be integrated creatively.

Offer Walls / Incentivized Ads are Here to Stay

There have been voices against the practice of offering users incentives to watch ads or take different offers. The ‘Scamville’ fiasco comes to mind as well as Apple’s repeated attempts to fight incentivized downloads. At the end of the day, most users likes having this as an option and it is by far the least intrusive form of advertising. After some trial and error it is also clear that while not all advertisers get ROI there are certainly many advertisers that do.
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