A Game Developer’s Guide to Mobile Video Ads for Apps

Being a mobile game developer has a lot of perks – but the “making money” part can be a struggle at times. First, there’s the decision over whether to release a paid or F2P app. Most consumers don’t want to pay for apps, and knowing this, it’s common for game developers to go freemium, relying on IAPs and banners or pop-up interstitials to boost income.

But, that doesn’t usually solve the problem. Developers report that fewer than 5% of users make even one in-app purchase. And banner ads and pop-ups can really disrupt the user experience. I’ll let a developer speak to that one. Here’s David Marsh of Nimblebit in a piece for Touch Arcade:

“Pop-up interstitial ads assault the player, interrupting them while they are trying to play a game. It’s disrespectful to the player, and signals that we don’t respect the players time spent in our game.”

Enter mobile video ads

So, that leaves developers exploring other routes for monetization. And increasingly, they’re turning to mobile video ads for apps. A recent report showed that 35% of game developers are now using video ads. We tend to think there’s a couple reasons why this is happening:

Video can engage users more deeply. Through imagery and use of human voice, video deftly communicates subtle layers of information. (Think about the 2014 ALS campaign—would it have been as impactful if you didn’t get to watch people suffer through an ice bath?) This emotional connection translates to action. Research also shows that people exposed to mobile video ads demonstrated improved brand awareness and interest in purchasing.

Opt-in video ads merge seamlessly into gameflow. Mobile video ad experiences can be customized to appear at natural breaking points in the game—let’s say, at the end of a level or when your character dies. Developers can even choose to provide rewards, like in-app currency or extra life, to users who watch these ads. These value-exchange ads are shown to have a higher click-through rates than non-rewarded ads, and they provide value that hurts (rather than annoys) the user.

Where to Start

Mobile video monetization is best done up front during development – rather than as an afterthought. If you’d like to try mobile video, we’ve put together a guide to level-up your knowledge – from the steps you can take to choose the right placements to how to reward users and hone your strategy to boost revenue.


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You can download the guide our in app advertising best practices guide.

Or, if you’re interested: test out the Vungle iOS SDK, and then check out our mobile video monetization walkthrough on how to do it in less than 10 minutes.

But wait there’s more! We’ll be sharing additional insights from the guide in the weeks ahead. Subscribe to the Vungle blog in the top right of this page to get future posts sent straight to your inbox.