Everything You Need to Know About Audio Ads
In this article, we'll explore how audio ads function, their advantages, and the trends shaping their adoption in the mobile gaming industry.
Jovan Ristic

Audio ads in mobile games represent a fresh twist on in-game advertising that could impact how developers monetize their creations and how brands reach their audience. These ads, which pair sound with minimal visuals, are designed not to disrupt gameplay or app use, allowing users a seamless experience while engaging with advertising content.

Though audio ads have been around for a few years, it wasn't until mid-2023 that we saw a significant uptick in their adoption. This increase is likely driven by a growing recognition of their benefits—chief among them, the ability to maintain user engagement without pausing the action.

As developers and advertisers alike seek more seamless ways to integrate ads, audio formats are stepping into the spotlight as an effective solution that meets the needs of both advertisers and users. In this article, we'll explore how audio ads function, their advantages, and the trends shaping their adoption in the mobile gaming industry.

What Are Audio Ads?

Audio ads are an innovative ad format designed specifically for mobile games, which play audio content without necessitating a pause in gameplay. This allows players to continue their experience uninterrupted, while still engaging with advertising—creating a win-win situation for both developers and advertisers. These ads typically last between 5 to 30 seconds, with the most common durations ranging from 15 to 30 seconds.

The content of these ads can vary but is generally designed to be engaging and relevant to the gaming audience, often leveraging persuasive, clear, and concise messaging to capture interest quickly. Alongside the audio, a small visual element is also displayed—usually a static image or logo. This visual is subtle, sized around 70x70 pixels, ensuring it supports but doesn’t overshadow the audio message.

What Types of Audio Ads Are There?

Audio ads come in two main types, each catering to different aspects of user engagement and game monetization strategies.

Rewarded Audio Ads

Rewarded audio ads are initiated by the user, meaning players choose to listen to these ads in exchange for some form of in-game benefit, such as currency, extra lives, or special bonuses, much like how rewarded video ads work. This opt-in nature significantly boosts user engagement, as players feel they receive value from interacting with the ad.

Examples of successful implementations include cases where developers integrate these ads at natural pauses or decision points in gameplay, enhancing the player’s experience without feeling intrusive.

Non-Rewarded Audio Ads

In contrast, non-rewarded audio ads are system-initiated, which means they play automatically without explicit consent from the player at predetermined intervals or during specific moments in the game. The placement of these ads requires careful consideration to avoid disrupting the player experience.

Effective strategies often involve the use of these ads during less intrusive moments, such as between levels or in background scenarios, ensuring that they complement rather than hinder the gameplay. User experience considerations are paramount here, as the balance between monetization and user satisfaction must be carefully managed to maintain game enjoyment and retention.

Implementation and Technical Requirements for Audio Ads

Implementing audio ads effectively requires understanding the technical nuances across different platforms and ensuring compatibility with existing game development frameworks and attribution tools.

Integration Methods for Different Platforms

From a purely technical perspective, audio ads should be available for integration for most mobile game developers. More specifically:

Unity: Most game developers use Unity for mobile game development, and integrating audio ads involves incorporating specific SDKs provided by audio ad providers. These SDKs are tailored to work seamlessly within the Unity environment, ensuring smooth operation across different devices.

iOS and Android: For native mobile game apps developed specifically for iOS or Android platforms, developers need to integrate audio ad SDKs directly into their iOS (Swift/Objective-C) or Android (Java/Kotlin) codebases. This integration allows for more granular control over how and when ads are displayed, catering to the specific behaviors of iOS and Android users.

Minimum Sound Volume Requirements

To ensure that audio ads are heard and effective, providers typically set minimum sound volume requirements:

Rewarded Ads: For rewarded audio ads, the volume must be at least 20% for Odeeo and 30% for AudioMob. If the volume is below these thresholds when the user opts to view an ad, a prompt appears, asking the user to increase the volume. This prompt is customizable in both its message and user interface design.

Non-Rewarded Ads: The minimum volume requirement for non-rewarded ads is generally lower, around 10%. If the volume is below this level, the ad simply won't play, avoiding unnecessary disruption to the user who may have intentionally set their device volume low.

SDK Integration and Compatibility

Integration with attribution tools such as Adjust or AppsFlyer is needed to properly attribute audio ad revenue across the user base. While Odeeo provides direct support for AppsFlyer, AudioMob requires a workaround for integration. AudioMob also supports integration with Tenjin, offering developers alternatives based on their preferred tools and analytics needs.

What Are Audio Ads (Infographic)

Audio Ad Market Trends, Demand and Revenue Insights

Understanding the demand, revenue flows, and market penetration of audio ads is crucial for publishers and advertisers aiming to maximize their investments in mobile gaming environments.

Programmatic Demand, Direct Deals, and Agency Involvement

Audio ads are supported by a robust ecosystem that includes programmatic advertising, direct deals with advertisers, and agency involvement. Programmatic advertising automates the buying and selling of ad inventory, making it a major source of demand for audio ads.

This system allows for efficient, real-time bidding on ad spaces, optimizing the process for both advertisers and publishers. Additionally, direct deals with brands and agencies provide more controlled and potentially lucrative advertising opportunities.

These arrangements often involve specific campaign goals and targeted audiences, offering higher premiums for ad placements.

Overview of key metrics: Revenue distribution, eCPM, and Fill rate

The revenue generated from audio ads may vary significantly, depending on the specific implementation for each game, including how many opportunities to play an ad appear in the game. In general, rewarded video ads may provide higher eCPM because between rewarded and non-rewarded formats:

Rewarded Audio Ads: Typically generate higher revenue per impression due to their opt-in nature, which tends to engage users more effectively. players are more likely to listen attentively if they choose to start an ad themselves and if they receive in-game rewards in return.

Non-Rewarded Audio Ads: While they may give more impressions overall due to their automatic play nature, the eCPM (effective cost per mile, or thousand impressions) is generally lower than that of rewarded ads. However, they are essential for continuous revenue streams and can be optimized for better performance by careful placement and timing within the game.

High Fill Rate Countries: In regions like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, and France, audio ads experience high fill rates, reflecting strong advertiser demand and user acceptance.

By analyzing these factors, game developers and advertisers can strategically implement audio ads to optimize both user engagement and revenue generation across diverse gaming markets.

Challenges and Best Practices for Implementing Audio Ads

Integrating audio ads into mobile games presents unique challenges and opportunities. Understanding these can help developers optimize their ad strategy while maintaining a positive user experience.

Challenges of Integrating Audio Ads

One of the primary challenges in using audio ads is ensuring the highest possible fill rate, especially outside of English-speaking countries. In this regard, choosing your audio ads provider wisely is of the highest importance. At this point, unlike traditional ad formats, such as rewarded video ads, interstitial ads, or banners, no mediation provider enables developers to work simultaneously with several audio ad providers, enabling an automatic mediation platform.

In case the publisher decides to work with multiple audio ad providers, they need to handle everything on their own. The complexity of the implementation arises because each provider may have different requirements, SDKs, and integration processes, which can lead to technical conflicts or increased load times. Additionally, managing multiple dashboards and performance metrics across different providers can be cumbersome for developers.

To handle this, developers need to:

• Ensure compatibility between different SDKs.

• Streamline data collection and analysis across platforms.

• Develop a robust backend that can handle requests from multiple providers without affecting game performance.

Another thing that developers should carefully consider is fitting audio ads into their games. A successful integration will require developers to find additional spots in the game for ads to be integrated, alongside formats that are already being used.

Best Practices for Maximizing Fill Rates and eCPM

Maximizing fill rates and effective cost per mile (eCPM) while preserving the quality of the player experience involves several strategic decisions:

Selective Ad Placement: Place ads in locations that are available and have high visibility but don’t disrupt user experience or interfere with the existing ad implementations.

User Choice and Control: Giving players the choice to engage with ads at a time that suits them can lead to higher engagement and satisfaction. This approach not only respects the player's autonomy but also increases the perceived value of the ad interaction.

Optimization and Testing: Continuously test different placements, frequency, caps, and rewards to see what works best with your audience. Use A/B testing to gather data on user behavior and preference, and adjust strategies accordingly.

Quality Ad Content: Ensure that the ads are of high quality and relevant to your user base by using the filters to ensure brand safety and block categories such as medicine, firearms, adult topics, etc. High-quality, engaging ads are more likely to capture user attention and generate better performance metrics.

Maintaining Transparency and Trust: Be transparent about how and why ads are shown. Ensuring users understand that ads support the free experience can help in maintaining trust and tolerance towards ad interruptions.

Looking to Implement Audio Ads in Your Monetization Strategy?

Throughout this exploration, we've delved into the mechanics, types, and strategic implementations of audio ads within the mobile gaming industry. From understanding the fundamental nature of audio ads, including their non-intrusive format and dual components of sound and visual, to discussing the leading providers, it's clear that this advertising format is carving a niche for itself.

We encourage you to reach out to GameBiz Consulting to explore how audio ads can be integrated into your current strategies. We can help determine if this innovative ad format aligns with your monetization goals and game design, ensuring a seamless blend of advertising and user engagement.

Get the latest insights on ad monetization and the state of the gaming industry.
You're on the list!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Join our newsletter, get your free Offerwall Currency Sale Calendar, and updates from our blog.
Your download should start in a couple of seconds. If nothing happens, contact us directly at jovanr@gamebizconsulting.com :)
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Suggested readings for you
What Is Ad Monetization?
Mobile ad monetization is a process of making money from showing ads in mobile games and apps. Learn more about this monetization method and what it entails.
Learn more
Everything You Need To Know About App Open Ads
Learn more about app open ads eCPM, how to properly integrate it into your game monetization strategy and more in our latest article.
Learn more