This article is part of a Gaming Insights series paid for by Facebook.
Fun-to-play, simple to understand, and easily interruptible, it’s no surprise that hypercasual mobile games have topped U.S. and European charts in recent years. Casual games — led by arcade and puzzle — were the most downloaded globally in 2019, with 82% share, according to Ad Monetization in Mobile Games: The Untapped Potential — a Facebook-commissioned study with App Annie on the global top 1,000 game apps in 2019 (March 2020).
No matter your game genre, if your goal is to maximize the revenue impact of ad monetization, it’s important to hone in on the right formats and strategies. Below, we’ve combined insights with recommendations for casual and hypercasual publishers looking to monetize with ads.
Players spend more time in ad-supported games
The impact of ads on the casual game experience is a net positive, according to the report mentioned above: Top casual games saw average user sessions jump +198% one-month after installing an ad SDK. And time spent increased compared to the pre-ads period (App Annie, March 2020).
And what do hypercasual players think of ads? The majority of U.S. (79%) and South Korean (85%) hypercasual players surveyed understand the value exchange of ads and are okay with seeing in-app ads, according to the August 2020 Facebook IQ-commissioned study: Genre and Great Games, in which Interpret surveyed more than 13,000 mobile gamers across 11 countries.
Evolving ad formats drive the player experience
As far as formats go, rewarded video ads are a strong fit for casual games, and interstitials can be especially effective for hypercasual games.
Rewarded video puts players in control of their experience, offering an in-game reward for watching an ad. And it makes sense for business, too: 79% of developers said that rewarded video is their most successful format as published in Ads, IAP or Both?, Facebook-commissioned research by Walnut, based on 173 online interviews in the U.S., EMEA and APAC (May 2019).
Rewarded video tips for your casual game
Rewarded video ads are most effective when built into your game from the start. Here are some of our favorite rewarded video implementations for casual games:
- Daily Reward Multiplier: Allows you to daily monetize almost every active user, as the integration is highly prominent at app launch, which helps with app retention.
- Out-of-lives: Offers a high temptation factor and limited alternative routes for players to take. Can create a high emotional attachment to the game.
- Boost reward: Allows players to progress through a game more rapidly. Offer mid-level power-ups to give them an advantage over other players.
- End-of-game multipliers: Offers a video ad incentive to multiply points after completing a level. Relatively easy to integrate from a user interface standpoint. Offers a high temptation factor.
- Home Screen: One of the highest visibility locations, this integration is excellent for players who may never otherwise navigate to the store.
Interstitial best practices in your casual or hypercasual game
Animation and transitions have evolved in interstitials, ever-improving the player experience. Facebook Audience Network offers several interstitial creative types:
- Display Ads: Standard image
- Video Ads: Autoplay videos start as soon as the interstitial loads, and are skippable
- Carousel Ads: Both image and video
- Playable Ads: Offers an opportunity to play a mini-version of the game
When integrating interstitials, we recommend:
- Trigger an interstitial at non-intrusive moments to avoid disrupting gameplay, such as level complete or returning to the home screen. Avoid inserting in the middle of gameplay
- Test interstitial frequency caps to help optimize performance
Ad length and tone for casual and hypercasual
When creating ads for hypercasual games, publishers should note the following insights from Genre and Great Games.
- Ad break length: More than one-third of hypercasual players in the U.S., U.K., and South Korea report that they prefer one 30-second ad versus shorter ad units with more frequent breaks
- Tone of ads: Hypercasual players surveyed prefer mobile game ads that communicate humorous and adrenaline-pumping tones
Publishers winning in casual and hypercasual monetization
Jarkko Rajamäki, VP Advertising at Rovio, sees advertising as another way to provide more content to players and add more value to their entire gaming experience. “Player experience is always at the centre of everything we do,” he shared in Winning in Casual & Hypercasual Game Monetization, October 2018.
Thibault Leduc, Voodoo’s head of user acquisition and monetization, has observed that users are very interested in rewarded video because they want the in-game currency — whether it’s to multiply their virtual money or gain a boost at the beginning of the game (Q&A with Voodoo, June 2020).
Canadian indie publisher Gogii Games implements ads in a way that retains the positive player experience that gamers expect from its titles — and have seen a 10% increase in time spent in-app (Gogii case study, July 2019)
In short, real-life publisher success and industry data tell the same story: If you’re a casual or hypercasual publisher, there’s an opportunity to drive player experience and optimize ad revenue impact with the right ad formats and monetization strategies.
Learn how to further optimize your in-app ad placements with our full best practice guide: Success Factors: Winning in Casual and Hypercasual Game Monetization.
Lisa Tolentino is Strategic Partner Manager at Facebook Audience Network.
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