Mobile game monetization is an ever-growing industry, and there are various ways for developers to make money from their creations. Ads are one of the most popular methods, as they provide several ways for developers to generate revenue without disrupting the gameplay experience. There are lots of different ad networks available, and mobile ad mediation is one way to make the most of them.
Game monetization through ads is a popular profit model for mobile game developers. According to our research, global mobile game ad revenue in 2019 was $13.8 billion, and it's expected to reach close to $35 billion by 2024 - an annual growth rate of approximately 20.5%.
Still, most developers are barely scratching the surface of mobile game advertising. For example, using advanced techniques can help developers see a significant increase in in-game ad revenue. One such technique is ad mediation.
This article will discuss mediation in detail and help you determine if and how it can benefit your game monetization strategy.
Ad mediation is a method that allows game developers to work with multiple ad networks simultaneously through a single SDK integration in order to maximize ad revenue.
As a developer, you naturally want to show ads with the highest eCPM. Having different ad networks showing ads in your game and working with several providers can lead to complications and make you miss out on the best opportunities.
Mobile ad mediation lets developers manage and optimize multiple advertising networks simultaneously through a single SDK. This allows for more effective and efficient use of advertising space and helps ensure that ads are properly displayed to the right people.
Mobile ad mediation platforms speed up the process of choosing an advertising network for app developers by acting as a mediator and passing requests onto multiple networks simultaneously. This makes the process more competitive as networks fight for a spot in the app.
Since the process is more or less automated, all the actions occur within milliseconds. As a result, developers are more likely to get higher eCPM values and, subsequently, more revenue.
In essence, mediation looks like this:
1. The user launches the game, which triggers an ad request.
2. The ad mediation platform receives user data through an integrated SDK.
3. The platform sends out several ad requests to different networks.
4. The platform’s yield optimization engine identifies the mediated ad source that offers the highest CPM for the request.
5. A relevant ad is displayed to the user based on the analysis made by the optimization engine.
The traditional process for monetizing a mobile game involved integrating multiple different ad SDKs. This would result in excessive overhead costs and inefficiencies. Understanding how the process worked before mobile ad mediation is key to understanding who can benefit from mediation and how.
In the past, searching for a provider that can provide you with good CPM visibility was not easy since there was no way of knowing what would be best until after they were integrated into your game and already performing well - which would mean integrating multiple demand SDKs.
Adding multiple SDKs to the application would also add weight (as opposed to a single mediation SDK), affecting the size of the game and its performance. Furthermore, every time you need to add or remove a partner from the game, you would have needed to update your app and launch the new build on the store.
By using mediation, developers can pick the demand from any major global partner. This can save time for the developer and allow them to focus on optimizing the gameplay rather than investing time in integrating multiple SDKs.
Developers who use ad mediation enjoy a variety of benefits. Real-time competition among networks allows publishers to see which networks yield the best results and to target specific Geo segments. This understanding allows publishers to increase the revenue and relevance of advertisements.
Mediation partners each have their own set of optimization strategies built into their ad serving mechanisms.
The platform consolidates all data into a convenient format on a single dashboard for developers and advertisers to use.
So what makes ad mediation vital for game developers? There are numerous benefits you’ve probably already deduced by now, but we’ll still break them down.
Developers who use several ad networks have probably experienced the nightmare of manually setting up, tracking, and optimizing each individual network.
The time it takes for developers can negatively impact the game monetization strategy, not just because you may be wasting precious hours on tedious work but also by potentially missing out on revenue opportunities from ad networks that are not being managed as well as they could be.
Ad mediation gives developers access to and control of all their ad networks from a single interface. This offers access to key metrics and detailed reports and allows for easier game monetization.
The process of buying and selling advertising space was highly disorganized and difficult to manage before the advent of ad mediation technology. This also affected the prices, which were highly inconsistent.
Now, ad mediation allows developers to sell the ad space to the highest bidder by using an automated mediation platform, which automates the process. However, developers still have control over the waterfall or the order in which ad networks are offered ads. This allows developers to prioritize ad networks they want most traffic to come from.
However, when choosing an ad mediation platform, it's important to be aware of potential biases. Some platforms may covertly prioritize the ad networks they also own, limiting your app's monetization potential. That's why it's vital to select a platform that is right for your developer needs.
When you use an ad mediation platform, you'll benefit from higher eCPM values. This is because an ad mediation platform links developers to several ad networks, allowing more than one advertiser to bid for your ad space. This drives the rates up.
Game developers can simultaneously work with multiple ad networks by using ad mediation, creating a competitive ecosystem. This allows you to get the best price for your ad space and ensures that ads are shown to the right audience.
Fill rate is a key metric in an ad monetization strategy, as it indicates the rate of answered requests. A high fill rate means that users are seeing and clicking on ads, which in turn generates revenue for the developer. Therefore, having high fill rates should be one of the developers' priorities.
However, it’s more challenging to achieve a high fill rate with access to a single ad network or if the publisher is juggling between a few of them manually. The demand for your ad inventory is likely too large for a single ad network to fill, and with that unused advertising space, you are missing out on higher revenues.
Mobile ad mediation platforms give you access to many more ad networks and advertising opportunities, improving the fill rate in the process. This means that even if an ad network can't fill an ad request, the platform will continue to a new network until the ad is filled.
The A/B testing feature is also very helpful in optimizing ad revenue. The A/B test function of ad mediation platforms lets developers easily test various networks, placements, and other ad solutions. This lets you compare the offers from various advertising platforms and create the best ad monetization strategy based on this data.
Advertising platforms only offer basic data such as total earnings, eCPM, and display volume, but not any insight into the player's in-game behavior.
Ad mediation provides developers access to a wide range of data that can help them understand their revenue sources. This data includes information on metrics sorted by date, ad unit, geo, ad format, and platform.
Ad mediation also gives developers important insights into their users’ behavior. You can see the eCPM and revenue of each ad and then use the results to optimize the game ad monetization strategy.
When looking for an ad mediation platform, there are several important things to keep in mind:
Good Data Quality. When it comes to finding a good platform for ad monetization, you must have access to useful data. Otherwise, you won't be able to make the most of your ads.
Good Customer Support. When choosing a mediation platform, it's important to remember their team should act as consultants, not just service providers. They should be able to help you with any technical issues, address a complaint, and respond promptly to any form of communication - email, Skype, or live chat. Ideally, the mediation platform should assign you an account manager who will help with any platform issues and give you tailored advice to improve your ad monetization strategy.
Platform Quality. When looking for an ad mediation partner, it's important to ensure that it supports all major platforms. Additionally, you'll want to ensure that the platform offers a variety of advertising formats, like rewarded videos, interstitials, and banners. As we already mentioned, some mediation platforms may favor their own ad network, so if you want to ensure an unbiased ad space auction, consider platforms such as Aequs and AdMost.
Innovative Solutions. When choosing an ad mediation platform, you want to partner with someone who is driving progress, introducing new features such as optimization through eCPM buckets, simplified A/B testing or ATT opt-in availability, and supporting less used ad formats and types of ads such as rewarded interstitial and native ads.
Choosing an ad mediation platform can be challenging for developers, as there are many factors to consider. If you are unsure about which ad mediation platform would fit your monetization strategy best or need help implementing it, GameBiz Consulting can help.
We have experience working with all the major platforms and can provide you with the support you need to make the most of your ad revenue. Ask any of our top-ranking clients, and they’ll confirm that the services we offer are unrivaled.