Several factors play a role in determining the revenue model for your game, but in game advertising offers one source of cash flow. Many developers see advertising as source of revenue, but it helps to know some facts before planning your game around it.
Down the hall from Joystick Labs is Adzerk, a company that specializes in ad serving technology, and CEO James Avery helped educate Joystick teams on the business of in-game advertising.
After listening to his presentation, there are a few takeaways for independent developers to consider.
First of all, your download should be free if your ads interrupt gameplay in any way. People pay for games with the expectation of ads not interrupting their game experience. Charging people for a game download and interrupting them with ads will turn people away.
Avery also made it clear in-game advertising is not as simple as slapping banner ads in your game. While you could certainly go that route, click rates on banner ads are minuscule, and the money you receive per click is even more depressing. Unless you’re Angry Birds, don’t expect to make huge sums of money on banner ads.
Instead, Avery suggested thinking creatively about advertising. An independent developer may not have the initial clout to pitch to advertisers, but be mindful of opportunities. Targeted ads that are relevant to your player demographics provide the best return for advertisers, so know your audience.
Avery said advertisers today look for engagement, ads and messages that invite consumers to be involved with the brand. Games that can deliver engagement become the most lucrative opportunities.
Gamers can be engaged through product placement, ads featured during gameplay and more, so be innovative. Advertising can be done in a subtle and effective manner. Selling out and making your game about collecting Coca-Cola tokens (although that could be a potentially lucrative option) isn’t necessary, but think about how your game could engage consumers.
A few examples come to mind. In Contract Killer, a free download, ads are currency and watching ads equals more contracts and weapons. After Angry Bird’s enormous success, their new title Angry Birds Rio based themselves on the 20th Century Fox movie Rio.
The above photo is from Joystick team wefiends’ title Sushi Boy Thunder, which uses the ad network Kiip to place ads within the game. Kiip is a unique network that ties gamer achievements with advertisements, which works perfectly for its arcade style gameplay.
What are your thoughts on in-game ads? Totally against them, or are they appropriate if done right? What are the best and worst examples of games using advertisements?
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