Dear Hunter Review – Balancing IAP and Ads

Popular game by glu mobile is one of the more profitable games in the app storesDeer Hunter is a popular game that doesn’t really need an introduction. It’s one of these games that features multiple worlds with both levels and single level modes so users can make progress but can always play more if they get stuck on a level. If you haven’t seen it before, the game simulates hunting wild animals with various weapons that are based on real ones.

Economy of upgrades yields high ARPPU

game play features hunting wild animals using highly realistic weapons and stunning 3d graphics
The game economy is based mainly on requiring users to constantly upgrade their weapons to succeed in new levels. This is a very effective model used by CSR Racing, Blood and Glory and many other games. Users find themselves spending a lot of time accumulating game currency so they can upgrade their guns. The time spent on accumulating ingame dollars helps them to justify purchasing game currency for real money. The outcome is that paying users tend to pay a lot in this kind of games.

Showing ads only to non paying users

One of the interesting things about Deer Hunter is a fresh approach to balancing between In-App Purchases and Ads. Obviously, games with high ARPU such as Deer Hunter can’t risk scaring people away so no ads are been shown in the first phases of the game. Other publishers such as and SuperCell have even eliminated in game advertising completely just to avoid the risk of upsetting a paying user. Glu however, takes an interesting approach here. It tries to feature ads only to non paying users.deer hunter economy is focused on upgrades. the game offers many weapons and plenty of opportunities to upgrade each one of them. It blocks users from making progress unless they upgrade.

Identifying the non payers with incentivized ads

Detecting what users are going to pay and what users will never pay is a tricky business. Some users start paying right away and others take time before the first purchase. What Glu does to distinct them is start the game with no ads at all. Then, after the user completes a few levels, the game features an opportunity for the user to get free gold in return to watching a video, or buying a lot of gold at a great discount. Users who have chosen to see the video are flagged as non-payers and from that point the game increases ad exposure to these users. I don’t have the data to show if this works or not, but at least my personal experience is that I never pay in mobile games and I always choose video when it’s offered to me so on a sample size of 1 – Glu is 100% right. I expect that their data will also show that this is a good way to tell.
glu balances advertising and in-app purchase by detecting users appetite and predicting who will never pay


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