How to Monetize Word Games Effectively
Consistently ranked one of the top mobile game categories in English-speaking countries, word games have increasingly attracted the attention of developers. With their simple gameplay, word games are easy to start with and easy to level-up. They offer an outlet for light creativity and are uniquely enjoyable. It’s no wonder that word games have such a large share of the casual game market.
The best way to monetize casual games is by displaying ads to users. So, let’s discuss how to monetize word games effectively through ads.
Part 1: facts about word games
1. The game for English-speakers
Word games are both enjoyable and educational. Most players are from English-speaking countries — US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
2. Easy to play: stage cleared within 90s
According to statistics, the average time spent on completing one stage is 90-seconds, with players clearing on average 11 stages per day. For native English speakers, the time consumed in each stage is much shorter than average: in early stages, time-consumption is usually no more than 20-seconds. And users clear most stages on the day they install the game. Developers should take this into consideration when designing proper ad placement strategies.
3. Ads revenue accounts for 90% of the total
In-app purchase (IAP) doesn’t really fit with word games. Most revenue comes from ad monetization, while in-app purchase only accounts for less than 10% of the total revenue. Are IAPs a dead-end for word games? No, but they are less than optimal.
Part 2: How to earn more by displaying ads
1. Choose the right ad format
Not all word games are easy. As difficulty varies in gameplay, so too should the ad formats. Here are some of the conclusions we’ve drawn:
· For difficult word games, players need game currencies to help them clear stages; and here, rewarded video is the most frequently used ad format. Rewarded video ads revenue accounts for 70% of total ads revenue. These videos sometimes are fun to watch, and players can choose whether they watch or not. Because of this choice, the user-experience is minimally compromised. Videos are thus welcomed (and not loathed) by players.
· For the easy ones, players have no trouble clearing stages. Where this is the case, interstitial is the most frequently used ad format. Interstitial ads revenue accounts for 60% of total ads revenue. However, comparing to rewarded videos, interstitial ads are less well accepted by players. Improper placement may compromise user experience — sometimes, to a great extent. When going with interstitial ads, allowing players to purchase a “remove ads” package is recommended.
In a word, developers can choose the most appropriate ad format based on the game features.
2. Set-up reasonable rewards
In word games, game currencies are rarely needed. Where are game currencies useful? For example, if players want a “hint” to a solution, they may have an incentive to pay for it — which they will when they click a “hint” button. Features like “hints” can work, but developers need to decide how much should be spent to reward players who watch the ads.
We’ve found that some developers are reluctant to give players too much by way of rewards, because they want to spend as little as possible (and earn more revenue). For players, however, opportunities to earn or win more rewards are strongly appealing. Establishing how much to reward players can be established (at least in part) by A/B testing, which is the recommended approach for determining these sorts of things.
3. Conduct A/B test
Let’s say a “hint” costs 120 coins. How much should be rewarded to users after watching the ads? Through our A/B test, we found that 40 is the most appropriate amount. The reason is that 40 coins are not enough to break the game currency system, while the amount has sufficient appeal to the majority of users. In this way, LTV and revenue have both improved.
4. Place ads on right spots
User experience is a critical factor for achieving the sustainability of ad monetization. Here are some tips for recommended ad-placement.
· The ad-trigger mechanism must be combined with gameplay to allow ads pop up appropriately
· Keep ad frequency tolerable and reasonable
· Proper ad placements are positive for gameplay
· Flexible ads placements help improve impressions
· Higher penetration rates also helps improve eCPM.
Part 3: Word game monetization performance in different regions
To wrap up, let’s take a look at word game monetization performance (i.e. the eCPM) in different regions. The data is from September and is based on a dozen of the most popular word games which integrate with UPLTV mediation SDK:
So, are you ready to up LTV?
About the author
Ad Monetization Strategist at UPLTV
Kiki has worked in game and mobile ads industry for eight years, accumulating rich experience in ad monetization. She previously worked at a renowned game studio and was in charge of global publishing for several titles.
UPLTV is a global internet company founded in 2017 with its headquarters located in Shanghai and additional offices in Singapore, Seoul, Hanoi and Dusseldorf. UPLTV’s SDK aggregates top advertising platforms globally. Using advanced algorithms to optimize advertising logic and utilizing smart and customized solutions, UPLTV is able to deliver at least 20% more in ad revenue compared to similar players globally. Leveraging Google’s TensorFlow framework, UPLTV uses LSTM to analyze in-game behavior, interactions, in-app purchases, and tolerance to advertisements. By using the data that tests players’ feedback and forecasting 7-day and 14-day retention rates UPLTV optimizes ad display duration and frequency maximizing player LTV. The intelligent ad mediation platform is enabled in order to achieve higher retention rates and achieve balance between revenue and user experience. Currently, UPLTV works with over 300 game developers and publishers to display over millions of ads daily helping partners earn higher revenues.