Back in 2016, Tejal Patel, director of consumer engagement at Microsoft, infamously predicted banner ads would be a thing of the past by 2019. Six years later, banner ads are still a staple of mobile advertising and one of the most effective tools in any game monetization strategy.
While they might lack the complexity of some innovative mobile game ad formats, there is a reason giants like Amazon and Waze still rely on banners for monetization.
Banners ads can be a great way to generate revenue from your mobile game, but it's important to decide if they're the right fit for your strategy. In this guide, we'll explore banner ads in more detail.
Mobile banner ads are a standard mobile gaming ad format. They are small, rectangular advertising images that occupy a portion of the screen. They are the oldest ad format originating from desktop devices.
Mobile banners were later created as a way to adapt the format for smaller devices, and they quickly became the most common ad type on mobile.
Mobile banners typically stick to the top or bottom of the screen and will refresh if users do not interact with them for a certain period of time.
Static banners are more limited than other ad formats but can still be effective tools for advertising your game if they're designed effectively. Additionally, you can use banners that feature animation or a video.
You can think of mobile game banners the same way you do about printed banners in real life. They stand outside of a store and try to convince you to enter the store, either with creative advertising or by promoting a discount.
Mobile banner ads are meant to increase traffic to the advertiser's website by having a player click on them in your game. Advertisers can have different goals set for the campaigns they are running:
Banner ads typically have a lower eCPM than rewarded video or interstitial ads. Based on the data from Appodeal, the highest eCPM for mobile banner ads on iOS is in the United States with $0.38, followed by Australia with $0.29 and the UK with $0.29.
The numbers are a bit higher on Android, with the eCPM in the US being $0.52, followed by Canada and Australia with $0.34 and $0.30, respectively.
Even though they have much lower eCPM than full-screen formats (such as rewarded or interstitial), one thing worth keeping in mind is that they are also less invasive than other popular ad formats, which is why they can be a valuable part of a monetization strategy.
The best performing banner ad sizes are medium rectangles at 300×50 and 300×250, as well as the leaderboard format at 728×90. The most common banner sizes include:
A banner ad of this size is generally the smallest and the most common. They tend to be found in non-gaming and casual gaming apps.
Rectangular banners are often placed in the middle of content as users scroll through a feed. They are larger in size, making it easier to communicate information effectively.
They are a bit larger than standard banner sizes. These slots are most frequently used to display animated or video banners.
As more and more people use mobile devices to access the internet, advertisers need to make sure their ads are displayed properly across all devices.
These banners are designed to adjust to fit the user's device, 320 x 50 for screens larger or equal to 720 and 728 x 90 if the screen height is larger than 720.
As a result, advertisers do not need to worry that their ads will not display correctly on the huge number of mobile devices on the market.
While they can be an effective way to reach players, they also have their drawbacks. Let's take a look at both the pros and cons of using mobile banner ads.
Their simplicity and ease of implementation are why banners are still a popular ad format. Here is a look at some of the biggest strengths of mobile banner ads.
Banner ads are a great way to promote a product or service in a casual mobile game. These games typically have a static frame with user stats, including remaining lives, level score, progression, etc. Banner ads can be easily integrated into this frame and reach many players this way.
Banner ads can be an effective way to monetize a game without disrupting the user experience. However, in order to be successful, they need to be designed in a way that is attention-grabbing without distracting or annoying the user. This can be done by using creative and eye-catching mobile banner ad designs that stand out from the rest of the content on the screen.
Banner ads are an old format, and their competition has evolved to feature more engaging and compelling ad formats such as rewarded videos and interstitials.
It can be difficult for a banner ad to stand out and capture the player's attention. It's essential to experiment with different mobile banner ad specs and various mobile banner ad sizes in order to play on each platform's strengths.
Here are some of the biggest challenges using banner ads poses:
The main reason for banner blindness is that users have become desensitized to banners due to their overuse. The introduction of ad blockers has exacerbated this trend.
Another reason is that they are not interactive or engaging. There are ways to combat banner blindness, such as using brighter colors or animated banners. However, these can actually deter users from clicking on the ad.
Banner Ads that cover the game's content can degrade the gameplay experience if they prevent players from easily accessing specific parts of the UI.
Having the banners obscure or intrude on a vital part of the UI may lead to large retention rate drops.
Unlike rewarded video ads that work in almost any mobile, free-to-play game. Interstitials work in almost any casual game. However, banners can fit into only specific kinds of games.
Banner ads can fit into casual games that have UI designed in such a way that banner ads can be implemented.
Also, game orientation (vertical or horizontal) is crucial. Very few horizontally oriented games can fit banner ads into their limited space.
Banner ads are a simple way to generate some revenue from advertising quickly. However, they lack effectiveness and have low CTRs.
Banner ads generate the least earnings among all different ad types. But, mobile banner ads can still be effective when users are most engaged with the apps.
Now that you've learned more about the pros and cons of using banner ads in your ad monetization strategy, we'll go over some of the best practices for maximizing this format's potential.
Mobile banner ads are typically displayed on the top or bottom of your screen, sticking to it for the duration of a user session. Developers can set how often that ad content refreshes so as to show new advertisements within a specified period.
The refresh time for ads in apps varies, with some apps using a refresh time of every 30 seconds, while other apps may have a longer refresh time. In general, the refresh rate range ranges from 25 seconds to 2 minutes. There is no universal approach, so it's important to test different refresh times to see what works best for your app.
However, publishers may get a boost in CPMs on 'MREC' or Medium Rectangle implementations. These 250x300 banners can fit some game screens and menus throughout the session.
There are multiple sizes to choose from, and it's also possible to create custom mobile banner ad sizes. As always, A/B testing is key to finding the right KPIs to optimize your banner ads effectively.
Using only one ad network may return the same ad when the device requests an ad. Not only is it not an optimized way of using advertising space, but it may also lead your players to develop "banner blindness" and ignore that ad space completely, making further optimization difficult.
Instead, try using at least two different ad networks to maximize potential. By mixing and matching different banners, you can work around any blind spots that one ad might fall into.
Multiple ad formats may also result in an increased fill rate and a better user experience while increasing your revenue per user by offering greater choice to the end-user.
Banner ads are available on most major ad networks, including AdMob by Google, Audience Network by Meta, UnityAds, ironSource, AdColony, Applovin, and many others.
Using banner ads in your monetization strategy can be effective with the correct implementation.
In the end, you have to show players a well-crafted banner for it to lead to a better gaming experience and increased revenue.
It's also important to test different banner formats, sizes, and locations to see what works best. If you take this approach, it shouldn't be long until you find the sweet spot for your game.
Banner ads are far from the only ad format to consider when it comes to monetizing your game. Check out our latest article on rewarded video ads to find how they can be used to improve your revenue.