In episode 1 of LevelUp, game industry veteran, Jeff Gurian, VP Ad Monetization and Marketing at leading game publisher Kongregate, speaks about all things related to game monetization and marketing, and how the two loop together, including the future of user acquisition and whether or not we’re going to see more major game companies invest in TV.

Read on for edited highlights from Gurian’s podcast:

The evolving game monetization-marketing loop

“While a lot of companies keep monetization and marketing departments siloed, they really do go hand in hand. UA needs to know what the eCPM’s are because that affects what the ARPDAU is for ads, and that affects the LTVs, especially in games that are ad driven. If UA doesn’t know how much the value of ads has increased, then they don’t know how they can increase their bids accordingly. It’s something that needs to be an active conversation. Not something that they go ‘wow, our user value went up the past three weeks. Maybe we can increase our bids now.’ It should be something that should be done in real time.”

“At Kongregate, our [combined] monetization-marketing approach has helped give our UA team perspective on what our CPMs are and how competitive they are in the marketplace. If we’re primarily buying on a CPI basis, the amount of inventory we get is dependent on the CPMs that are being driven within the apps we’re buying from. That’s imperative because if the UA team doesn’t know what those CPMs are, they don’t know how much they really need to move the needle to get more volume.”

“A lot of companies keep monetization and marketing siloed since the disciplines and information and data between them are interrelated but are not completely dependent on one another. As long as there is a dialogue between the individual groups, I think that they can function separately, but effective communication is key.”

How UA differs across games

“At Kongregate, we have different strategies depending on the game. Sometimes we simply do indirect payback, meaning that we want every dollar we spend to make a dollar back. While for other titles, we may take a more aggressive approach to UA, since paid UA and scale also drive organics. We often try to find the balance point of volume in a particular title and a particular price point, while still seeing if we can nudge the price point up a little bit. We look at UA factors holistically.”

Will brand marketers going in-app make the UA space more competitive?

“From a monetization perspective, hopefully, brands will better utilize rewarded video. It’s unclear if CPMs are on par with performance yet, but if brands can figure out how to turn product views into a video, they become more valuable to brand advertisers, which could in turn challenge mobile acquisition as there would be fewer ads for mobile advertisers to compete on.”

Mobile’s impact on game design

“Mobile’s impact on game design has been good and bad. The bad news is that because the market for UA has become more aggressive, it’s forced developers to focus on data and monetization, pushing a lot of smaller devs into working with publishers. On the flip side, developers are learning to build high-quality games that aren’t just ‘fun’ but also monetize well. The ecosystem is forcing the hands of developers to get better at designing games, retaining users, and monetizing their in-app economies. When Kongregate is evaluating titles, there are two major criteria. One – is the game featurable? Meaning will Apple and Google like the mechanics and the art? And two – is there an option to do paid UA? These are both essential in a title in order to scale and find real success.”

The future of TV for game marketers

“At the end of the day, TV can work [for game marketers], but to get there it requires a pretty big investment. You have to test a number of things, ranging from time of day, channel targeting, geos, etc. You also need to have a good base line of installs to see if TV is in fact providing a lift. For example, buying one commercial does nothing, you have to buy a series of them over time before you see any results. For TV’s potential to really work requires a minimum fee of $100,000 (but more realistically $200,000 – $400,000). So is it better to invest that money in TV which is semi questionable? Or to put that money into performance marketing which provides exact and immediate insights?”

The benefits of rewarded video for UA

“Rewarded videos provide qualifying data about the user, as anyone who comes across this ad-type is likely to be playing a game, and is therefore a gamer. This allows advertisers to target their audience effectively.”

The right way to use rewarded ads inside your in-app economy

“At Kongregate we divorce ad placements from IAPs to avoid gold farming. Otherwise people continuously watch ads to get currency, without being incentivized to buy hard currency. Gold farming is also not ideal because when users watch subsequent ads, CPMs begin to decline. If people are watching five ads to get currency, the first ad is far more valuable than the second which is far more valuable than the third, and then by the time they reach the fifth ad, developers are actually making less money while still giving away the same amount of currency. At Kongregate we put added bonuses around things like speedups, timer reductions, bonuses, etc. but never tie the features directly to hard currency in order to avoid gold farming. The only ad placement that does tie to currency is the offer wall.”

What can we expect to see from the gaming space the next 5 years?

“Over the next five years, AR and VR will take their appropriate places in the tech ecosystem. AR, which is essentially an enhancement of existing technologies, will most likely become very prevalent in the mobile gaming space, whereas VR lends itself more to the console and in home entertainment systems. Additionally, video ads and programmatic mediation will continue evolving and structuring the mobile gaming space.”

Listen to the full gaming podcast .
Want to learn what goes into making the world’s most popular games? Subscribe to LevelUp to never miss an update.

Read more

 

ironSource Blog

The Source

Predicting Trends for Mobile World Congress 2019

Mobile World Congress 2019 (aka MWC’19) is fast approaching. Here is everything you need to know. Let's take a peak at the big reveals, innovations, and industry predictions you can expect. What is MWC? MWC is the biggest and most..

IndustryChat

How to Monetize and Advertise Word Games

In this episode of LevelUp, Andrew Stone, President at Random Logic Games gives the lowdown on word games including best practices for monetization, user acquisition, and design. Read on for edited highlights from Stone’s podcast: Who is playing mobile word games? “While women 25-40 are the target audience, word games have mass appeal and viral..

IndustryChat

Best Conferences for Mobile App Developers in 2019

With 2019 off to an excellent start, we thought it would be great to give you a little heads-up at some of the developer conferences for mobile apps and games happening this year. Mobile App conferences are a great opportunity for developers to learn, network, create, and play your part in the app and mobile..

AdChat

설날 트랜드 리포트 2019

2019: 기해년 여름 트랜드 리포트와 겨울 트랜드 리포트를 따라, 설날을 맞이하는 시기에 맞춰 개발자들은 어떠한 일들을 예상해야 할지에 대한 리포트를 발표하였습니다. 설날은 전세계에서 가장 주목받는 명절 중 하나로, 전체 인구중 거의 20%정도가 기념 합니다. 음력으로 치는 명절이기 때문에 매년 날짜가 달라지기도 하지요. 이번 설날은 2월 5일이며, 년은 기해년 입니다. 설날을 맞이하며 한국의 인구는 휴식을 취할수..

AppChat

What app developers should expect during the Chinese New Year

Nitsan Regev is a BI analyst at ironSource. 2019: The year of the pig Following our end of summer trends report and our winter holiday report, we decided to take a look at what developers should expect during the Chinese New Year. The Chinese (or Lunar) New Year is one of the world’s most observed..

Ad Monetization and User Acquisition: Q&A with Tapps Games

Ad monetization and user acquisition are two sides of the same coin. For example, UA teams are dedicated to realizing true app growth, whereas ad monetization teams are driven to generate revenue. Taking this into account, it’s almost logical that gaming companies will have these teams separated. Each team has different goals that at face..

IndustryChat

What’s the Hype with Hyper-Casual Games? Part 3: Marketing

In our final chapter of LevelUp’s hyper-casual series, Ryan Davies, Digital Marketing Manager at Kwalee, shares his thoughts on running successful user acquisition campaigns for hyper-casual games. Read on for edited highlights from Davies’ podcast: Failing “Failing is critical, especially for hyper-casual games because you’re dealing with such a fast rate of content. You have..

Nordeus Talks Ad Monetization, Brands, and App Industry Trends

Nordeus, a Serbian mobile game studio, is far from being the new kid on the block. Their hit title Top Eleven has been live for nearly a decade and has 200 million registered users, across Facebook, iOS, and Android. While Nordeus’ games are more IAP focussed, in-game ads still provide a significant source of revenue..

IndustryChat

The Future of Programmatic Mediation

In this episode of LevelUp, Pieter Kooyman, Chief Advertising Officer at Miniclip, sets the record straight on ‘programmatic mediation’. He defines the term and predicts what the mobile industry can expect to see in the new year. Read on for edited highlights from Kooyman’s podcast: Many names “Let’s start by listing all the names surrounding..

IndustryChat

2018’s Most Popular Level Up Podcasts

2018 was quite the year for ironSource’s LevelUp Podcast. We launched the LevelUp podcast, produced 13 episodes (and 2 seasons!), generated thousands of listens, and made some awesome friends along the way. With the new year upon on us, we thought to curate a list of our most listened to LevelUp podcast episodes with some..

Interested in becoming an ironSource partner?

We’d love to hear from you.