Are you looking for Sureshot tips for mobile game monetization? If you answer ‘yes,’ you are on the right page. 

Whether you want to boost your existing gaming app profit or to develop a gaming app and make money from it, we have got you covered. 

No matter how many mobile games you develop, poor monetization may affect their revenue. This post will discuss the best mobile app monetization strategies that may help obtain a high profit, steps to monetize apps with ads, top game app monetization models, and much more.

Mobile Gaming Market and Monetization

  • One of the chief contributors to the rapidly growing global video gaming market is mobile gaming. 
  • In 2022, 45% of video gaming revenue will likely come from smartphone games worldwide. 
  • On a global scale, by 2023, with the accelerating smartphone usage and mobile penetration rates, gaming app revenue is on the way to beating the $100 billion mark. 
  • This year, mobile games revenue will reach $41.7 billion in the US because of advancing technologies, nationwide lockdowns, and digital innovation. 
  • Today, US mobile game users have grown higher than ever. 

Factors to Consider Before Mobile Game Monetization

Before you monetize your mobile apps, you should ensure your app is all set for monetization, transparent working, market scenario, and user behavior. 

Mobile App Design – UX/UI

Experts say more than half of mobile apps are uninstalled because of poor user experience or UI. No matter how useful your app is, it will not perform as expected if users find it tough to navigate. 

So, you must ensure your app’s design is engaging, easy to use, and intuitive, keeping track of mobile devices. 

Remember to test your app design to ensure the best and most expected outcomes. 

The Onboarding Process – How to Get Started

After the users download your app, what if they find it difficult to use it? It may demand account creation and more. The learning curve shouldn’t exceed the app’s value. Be sure your app is intuitive; otherwise, you will witness people moving on to other options for your app. 

You should offer users fast, simple, engaging instructions and tutorials that may prove useful. Besides, avoid the inclusion of advertising banners in the training process or initial app guide. 

Mobile App Testing – Locate Bugs & Glitches 

Be sure you confirm 100% expected and accurate working of your app, as the bugs in your app may leave your app useless. 

An app full of bugs and glitches may drive away loyal customers, and if the new users catch up on issues in your app, they will most probably delete it immediately. 

So, it’s better to conduct mobile app testing before you launch your app or after you update it. You can use product analytics tools to locate and resolve the bugs swiftly. 

Include Unique & Stay Competitive

As the market is overwhelmed with various mobile apps, it would be hard to stay competitive. But by marketing an outstanding feature or two to your target audience, they are expected to stick with your app always. Apart from that, chatbots, offline mode, and more features assist in staying ahead of the curve. 

So, don’t forget to market your app’s USP during acquisition. 

Also read: How do you develop an Aviator Mobile Game?

Understanding Monetization Models

Mobile marketers are using various ways to develop profitable applications. Below, we have broken down various app monetization models to let you choose the most suitable for your gaming apps. 

In-App Purchases (IAP)

You can choose an in-app purchase model to develop a free-to-download app and make money from it. 

More and more game players would love to download free mobile games and enjoy playing them. But, once they go deep to access additional content, even for extra lives, gems, coins, and more game-relevant items, they would be required to pay. 

Initially, developers should clarify that the gaming app includes additional purchases. This way, the users will not sense you as a misleader. Also, with time, gradually, you should introduce in-app purchases to your game players. 

Depending on the player’s level, you can create offers that would appear as a more beneficial in-app purchases strategy. For example, to a level-1 player, you can provide a starter pack offer. 

In-app purchase revenue is divided into two:

In-Store Revenue

When in-app purchases are generated via the app store, on which the fees apply, it’s in-store revenue. Most of the revenue share comes from gaming and subscription apps. 

As per the records, in 2021, around $133 billion of in-store revenue was generated from consumer spending, which was about 20% more than what was generated in 2020. 

Out-of-Store Revenue

When revenue is generated directly in the app, be it travel, eCommerce, transportation, or any, it’s out-of-store revenue. This revenue is usually more than in-store ones. 

In-App Ads (IAA)

In-App Ads or in-app advertising is a widely-used game monetization strategy that uses an app’s real estate, chiefly in gaming, to display advertisements to the users. 

Simply put, ad buyers purchase advertising space to display ads. 

A study by Ipsos revealed that about 50% of users cherish watching mobile ads. 

In 2022, mobile developers will target offering better user experience. Users don’t enjoy watching irrelevant or intrusive ads. Also, if developers bombard users with ads, it may affect the user experience with overexposure. So, it’s essential to balance the quality and the number of ads. 

Most users don’t complete in-app purchases, so having ads in your gaming app can drive revenue from this segment of users, despite showing to some who prefer to monetize via in-app purchases. Therefore, this revenue stream is popular, especially in mobile games. 

In-game ads come in different formats; let’s check the top five:

Interstitial ads

Full-screen and interstitial ads are displayed midway through the app, like after level completion. They are typically rich media in the form of images, videos, and/or text. 

Rewarded ads

For watching a full video, such ads provide users with an in-app benefit, like a new character unlock, extra lives, or even in-app currency, that they can use in the app itself. Such ads are a profit-making ad format for mobile games. 

Playable ads

Playable mini-games, also known as playable ads, display another game’s key mechanics. Such ads are captivating and emerge with the highest cost-per-mile (CPM) rates for gaming apps. This ad type permits users to play a game demo before downloading it. Such an advertisement usually results in increased revenue, conversion rates, and user retention. 

Offerwall

Such ads offer rewards to the users in exchange for certain actions, like filling out surveys, playing games, app downloading, or completing specific levels in another game. 

Native banner ads

Appear as organic content; native ads are content recommendation engines or news feeds labeled as sponsored content. They are crafted to fit perfectly within the app without disturbing the user experience. 

Your game type and its monetization targets will help you choose the right mobile gaming ad format. Additionally, pick the best mobile ad network and display the ad in mediation to capture a good chunk of your ad revenue.

Mobile Game Subscription Model

Apps that are free to download and charge a recurring fee for use over time; a subscription model depends on them. Most often, subscription-based apps follow a ‘freemium approach’ that provides limited features for free and additional content and asks users to pay an extra amount. 

If executed as required, subscriptions can be a profitable advertising model. Developers can build expected cash flow through a monthly subscription, especially if they know retention and churn rates or the number of users joining or leaving their app. 

After a year, for subscription, the App Store reduces commission fees from about 30% to 15%. The Play Store charges only 15% on all subscriptions since the start. 

Subscriptions are commonly used as an extra monetization model, which takes us to one more monetization model, a mixed monetization strategy. 

Paid Mobile Games Model

Generally, in-app purchases perform better than paid games, but this app monetization model would be a profitable choice. 

If you are an esteemed game publisher holding a large fanbase, this monetization model would be helpful for you. 

Some players don’t like in-app purchases, so they prefer paying upfront and avoiding ads or purchasing gems, coins, and other paid content. 

Mixed Monetization Strategy

This may be the last model of this list, but let you know, it’s the biggest monetization trend ever for gaming apps. This hybrid monetization model facilitates app owners to go with various revenue streams. 

In 2022, most gaming apps mainly pick in-app purchases, in-app ads, or subscriptions, despite combining them. This leads to expected results as some users like to watch rewarded ads to earn a reward, while some prefer buying and the rest show interest in spending on a subscription. However, the model you choose depends on the genre of gaming apps. 

In-App Purchases- Monetization Tip

If you choose in-app purchases as your game’s main monetization model, you need to plan them in the starting only. As they are tied to the gameplay, developers keep track of them during game development. 

Strategically Integrate Them

Developers must pick the right time and places to introduce these ads. They can balance them while players are in the middle of the game or facing game difficulty. 

In the early stages only, you should let the players know about In-App purchases features. Also, let the players enjoy your game, don’t be aggressive; start pushing your ads and make the players purchase them. 

You can display them exactly when the players are in extreme need.

Set Optimal Prices

While the gaming app development is going on, you can determine the cost of your in-app purchase items. You can set an average revenue per user and track the price close to it. 

Developers should offer a wide range of choices to the players. Users will not buy the same items repeatedly. Offering choices will make them return to explore other options. 

Top gaming apps arrive with a price range from $0.99 to $99.99. It’s not like that one thing that performed well in one’s case would also go perfectly with your gaming app. 

You must emerge with various price points and offers that may engage more players to play and increase your app revenue.

Provide Special Discounts

Give them special discounts to make your players participate in your in-app purchases. You can present them as you want, such as limited-time offers, bundle deals, personalized offers, and more. 

Avoid making them generic to reap more profits from your offers and discounts. Try and modify them according to the players. You can divide players into groups and differentiate between players and non-payers or new and loyal players.

Use Notifications Carefully

You would like to notify your players when you have limited-time offers and other discounts. So, to make them know, you can do that via sending messages, pop-ups, or push notifications. 

Informing them doesn’t mean putting your note straight on their table. Despite this, you should be unobtrusive, which means you should notify them, making your notifications engaging, personalized, and relevant.

Also, remember not to poke them with your notifications repeatedly. Otherwise, they will find such messages pushy.

Understand Your Cohorts

Your users arrive in various groups; you must approach each cohort separately. You can use the below benchmarks to divide them into batches:

  • Their current level of the game,
  • Items they purchase the most,
  • The funds they generally spend, 
  • The time since when the game was installed on players’ devices, and
  • The number of sessions they accomplished.

In-App Ads – Monetization Tip

Users usually find in-app ads annoying and even negative. It’s because most developers make mistakes, including them in mobile games. Below are some tips developers may follow not to repeat the same mistakes:

Observe when and where ads appear

As we discussed earlier, ads should appear in transitional positions, like when the game pauses. The developers may follow the same tip for all types of ads. Some possible ad placement positions are:

  • General Gameplay Breaks
  • Before the Gameplay Starts
  • Just After the Gameplay

By making ads appear in such positions, you will make them more receptive to the players. Instead of catching them as interruptions, they will take them as breaks. 

Maintain the Right Frequency of Ads

Stuffing too many ads in a single game would not be a good job. You need to be careful while deciding this. Bombarding users with too many ads may hit the user experience. This may affect your CRMs as they are impacted by ad format frequency and overall ad frequency. 

However, there’s no standard ad frequency rule that you can apply to every game app. On an estimate, you can choose 2-3 ads displayed in one minute, which will vary with the game genre. 

Use Rewarded Video Ads

Millions of players and developers might know this ad format. A report by Techcrunch says around 68% of players like this ad format.

Such ads arrive with high completion rates, CTRs (Click-through Rates), and eCPM. This format can extend the play sessions of ads and, this way, boost user engagement and retention rate. 

An obvious reason behind this is the rewards that every user would love to get. You must make the game rewards valuable to keep users motivated to watch such video ads. 

Also, to reap more benefits from this ad format, you should only initially let users know about it. Developers usually include them in the start menu also to make users repeatedly come to claim rewards.

Show Fitting Ads

Besides paying attention to ad positions and frequency, you should check that your ads are interesting, related, and useful. 

I prefer to choose ads from similar or the same genres to ensure high quality. Players would cherish witnessing ads from their locale. So, understand your audience and target your ads to them.

Combine Ad Formats

Users usually like a combination of ad formats that are mostly used. It includes two top ad formats: interstitials and rewarded video ads. Developers place them between the same game levels or other game stages. 

Here, what’s important is you should decide on the right position for your ad. You can use interstitials if you think your users would use a break. You can include rewarded video ads between game levels when players struggle and lose too much. 

During gameplay breaks, developers prefer displaying playable and banner ads all over the app. 

Still confused? You should prefer testing various ad formats and their frequency to find the best combination. 

Game Subscription Model – Monetization Tip

Developers use various types of subscriptions to monetize their gaming apps. Let’s uncover some monetization tips that you can integrate into your app.

Provide Different Subscription Models

Whenever users approach to upgrade their app subscription, be all set to offer them a plethora of options. 

You can roll out your subscription plans by duration, like yearly, monthly, weekly, or even by the available features, such as plus, pro, basic, etc. 

It’s always a best practice to provide your gamers an opportunity to choose from varied options; this way, they are more likely to buy at least one subscription. 

A purchase-based list always appears to be engaging for them as it appears to users like they are purchasing the best subscription plans at a low price.

Offer the Right Benefits

While devising the benefits to offer within a plan, switch to long-term mode. Think about what would be valuable for your players to keep them paying an amount. 

When subscriptions are in your mind, the best offer you can put forth is any access, depending on your game type. You can unlock their game levels, advance tournaments, maps, characters, and more. 

Some examples of subscription benefits are battle pass reward, ad removal option, VIP status, access to secret hunts, boosters, etc. 

Something that’s good about subscription benefits is their dynamic nature; they can’t be static. With every subscription renewal, they evolve and catch up with new values.

Separate Player Groups

By separating the player groups, you can customize your subscription offers. Ultimately, varied groups find diverse valuable things.

Because of this, you should offer the new gamers a free trial option, introductory prices, and special rewards. 

Loyal players would surely be inspired to renew their subscription plans by various factors, such as VIP features and premium experiences. Special, point-based loyalty programs for such gamers would be pretty profitable.

Engage Your Subscribers

To keep your subscribers engaged regularly, try including recurring and predictable features, like:

  • Allowance
  • Rewards
  • Tasks/missions

One more widely-adopted way to make subscribers log in daily is to facilitate them earning the subscription benefits by crafting an engagement loop. 

After the players purchase a subscription plan, they can conquer the battles and earn more rewards. This way, they will stay entertained excessively. 

Such tactics are integrated mostly in multi-player games, as in such games, the gamers catch up with a chance to exhibit their cosmetic collections and brag about them. 

Make Them Feel Like VIPs

After the players subscribe to a plan, they expect to be treated uniquely. Usually, subscriptions are VIP-based that provide gamers with varied exclusive benefits, like:

  • VIP-only customer support
  • Lifetime rewards
  • Early access to features, events, content, and more

After all, your main objective is to make the gamers never leave your paid model and switch again to a free-to-play model after witnessing your gaming app from a subscriber’s perspective. 

A Mixed Monetization Strategy (Hybrid Monetization)

After getting exceptional knowledge about almost all the game app monetization models, you should implement at least two. Choosing two monetization models to reap extra benefits is known as hybrid monetization. 

Depending just on one revenue stream usually leads to missing other models. Many developers include multiple monetization models, so one is usually primary while the others accompany it. 

The chief reason for choosing this model is to grow the gamer base you can monetize later. Depending on a small group of gamers for revenue generation would result in the most costly option. 

Most gamers belong to the non-playing category, while the rest prefer picking a premium gameplay experience. 

So, moving on with multiple monetization models would work as expected without annoying your players.

Focus On Results Instead Of Myths

Various mobile game monetization myths are passed down but are false facts. So, you should let them be myths and target the best results. Some common gaming app monetization myths are: 

Myth 1: Players Hate Ads

This is a wide-known monetization misconception that needs to be clear, now and for the last time. Let you know that according to the surveys, around 79% of active mobile app players are comfortable with ad monetization.  Of course, bad in-app advertising would hit the user experience. But the good thing is most developers know the basics now. 

This false fact left millions of developers thinking they should choose between the user experience and the integrated ads. But the developers have changed their mindset; they know now how significant the ads play their role in their favorite games.

Myth 2: The Ads Will Cannibalize In-App Purchases

Well, this is not the case at all. 

Following the footprints of the Facebook Audience Network, we learned that around 86% of the developers who integrate ads in their in-app purchases model witnessed nothing new, no boost or even a downfall in purchases.

Myth 3: Analytics Are More Important For Acquiring Users Than For Monetizing Them

For developers, analytics is equally important as it’s for advertisers. Hence, the top mobile ad networks provide the latest analytics features. 

This permits developers to emerge with the best-performing ad formats and positions that may pay back as expected. Despite that, it also tracks the region variations, eCPMs, audience types, and every other revenue-driving factor.

Myth 4: I need A Multimillion-Player Base To Make A Lot Of Money

Well, this is not the scenario to some extent. Yes, chances are that the number of players may boost earnings. 

But this is not the only deciding factor. Various factors affect game monetization, like ad placements, ad formats, the game genre, ad relevance, and many more. Effective app monetization holds the caliber to keep the game’s revenue ahead of the curve. 

After reading this post, we hope you have caught up with better app monetization strategies, following which you can successfully monetize your app in 2022. 

We are always left with room for innovation, but it’s also essential to emerging with the best ways to monetize even that invention. 

You may consider the aforementioned app monetization strategies we listed and choose carefully that may suit your game type and prove beneficial for you. You can test varied app monetization strategies and then pick the best ones that may lead your app to collect positive reviews and catch up with the pace. 

You can hire the top app monetization companies to complete your job seamlessly and effectively. We want to wrap up now with the hope of hearing something from you. Tell us, “What do you think is the best mobile game monetization trend in 2022 one should follow?”. Are we left with something that we should have included in this write-up? 

Let us know in the comments below!

FAQs

What is mobile game monetization?

The strategy that game developers use to generate revenue from their gaming apps is mobile game monetization. 

What are the primary mobile game monetization models?

Four chief monetization models that developers usually adopt to increase revenue from their gaming apps are:
In-app purchases
In-app advertising
Paid
Subscription

When to consider monetization?

You should consider monetization during the development stage of your app, which will increase the chance of your app’s success and allow you to develop the game from scratch and generate the expected revenue.
The monetization model you choose will influence your game layout, levels, strategy, and features. So, pick the best suitable one only.

THE AUTHOR
Digital Marketing Manager
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Mann's curiosity and passion for knowledge drive him to explore the latest tech trends and innovations. His talent for breaking down complex ideas into engaging, easy-to-understand content makes him a reliable source of information for his readers.

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