Ever had the desire to hunt zombies with a harpoon gun and blend them into smoothies? While this may sound like a strange concept, it’s also a wildly successful game from Finnish studio Two Men and a Dog. The offbeat app, Zombie Catchers, saw 1.5 million downloads in the first week alone – now mil- lions of users are regularly enjoying their pulpy adventures.

Best of all, the studio monetized the game early with Vungle video ads, netting them revenue from the game’s success and engaging users more deeply with the game.

Goal: Monetize Players from the Beginning

Two Men and a Dog founders Matti Kallonen and Aleksi Räisänen, former Rovio and White Sheep veterans, knew they should position Zombie Catchers to drive revenue from the very beginning.

“Downloads often spike at launch, and we wanted to have monetization included then. If we added it later, we might not have that same level of volume,” said Kallonen.

But they weren’t willing to try just any monetization tactic. The game already featured in-app purchases that offered a small stream of revenue. They sought another tactic that would complement (but not cannibalize) IAPs and be useful, not interruptive.

Solution: 15s Opt-in Videos Make Gameplay More Fun

Two Men and a Dog decided to integrate Vungle video ads as their only ad technology.

They implemented an opt-in placement that gives players faster access to zombies. Normally users only get two “catching sessions” before they have to wait another 10 minutes. Watching a 15-second ad allows them to capture the undead again, right away. To balance UX, players only see one ad for every hour of play.

Results: Users Play 25% Longer After Watching a Mobile Ad

Turns out, getting back in the game faster also encourages players to stay in the game longer. Kallonen estimates that video ads extend player session time by more than 25 percent.

“It truly encourages people to play the session once more after watching the video,” he said. “We wanted to give a reward that is very meaningful, and we’re happy with the placement. We really liked the 15-second format of the video, and, Vungle was easy to implement.”

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