Rise of Indie Developer with better Ads
In the summer of 2018 the mobile app ecosystem, one of the biggest industries on this planet, will turn 10. It provides a livelihood for millions of app developers targeting billions of smartphone owners. These billions of users are spending an average of 3 hours daily browsing through multiple apps to meet their daily needs. A recent report on eMarketer established that most mobile users spend a majority of their time on mobile listening to digital audio, social networking, gaming, watching videos and messaging. Each of these activities is time-consuming which users repeat in very high frequency.
Among the top consumption categories, Gaming is a very dynamic and interesting category on the app store. Android, iOS and Amazon app stores, all have more than 20% of all downloads as well as app volume contributed by games.
This growth can be attributed to multiple factors
- Back when the mobile world was not as large as it is today, the game community was limited to select groups with specialized interests; but with 1/3rd of the world owning a smartphone, casual gamers panning all ages and gender came flocking to the category.
- The influx of tools such as Unity, Cocos Studio and Unreal Engine for mobile game development has also redefined how game creators complete tasks. By taking a multitude of technical tasks off the hands of the developer, it is then easier to focus on the creative part of the process.
- Mobile hardware technologies have evolved drastically over the past few years. Innovations in this space have covered many limitations which previously loomed in the mobile app market. Problems like heating issues, limited storage, processing limits and battery issues.
Gaming has, thus, always attracted a large set of indie developers i.e. self funded group of developers. The real appeal for indie developers is with F2P (free-to-play) gaming market, that is build a game which can provide an ongoing revenue stream over a longer period of time, so you get the chance to keep working on it and putting out content regularly.
Most Indie developer communities, blogs as well as developers using GreedyGame in-game Native SDK reveal that the two biggest problems they face are monetization and marketing.
Marketing helps bring in users. SSPs bring revenue through monetization. Unfortunately, monetization leads to user-loss. Pop-up ads add a level of intrusion which leads to negative comments on the playstore. If the user finds his experience being hindered significantly by ads, then he or she would usually delete or stop using such an application. A player gives only 2–5 minutes for a new game to decide if it will be insta-deleted or not. This means the developers should not only ensure that they capture the users attention with great gameplay and a gripping storyline but also ensure an error-free and seamless experience.
Thus, indie developers find it very hard to make significant revenues. They either introduce ads altogether too late — they wait for the user count to reach a significant number first before adding any ad SDKs OR by adding intrusive ads which leads to their app rating declining early on making it hard to attract new users and retain the existing ones.
Now let’s take a look at 2017, the year of rewarded video and native ads. Each has generated a share of 36% and 10%, respectively for the top developers of the world; adcolony, one of the biggest players in video advertising revealed in its report.
The global games market reached close to $108 Billion in 2017 and mobile contributed 42%. It is further expected to grow to hold half the revenues of the gaming industry by 2020.
Both numbers put together sing praise for Native and Rewarded ads. They are being lauded by the entire developer community for helping grow strong revenues for an industry majorly dependent on advertising.
According to studies conducted by Supersonic, developers experience higher games per sessions among users who engaged with rewarded ads vs no ads. Rewarded video ads actually increase overall user engagement levels across the board. The format’s performance is evident through this paradoxical effect and the resulting impact on user retention.
As for native ads, a joint study conducted by Nielson and Sharethrough pointed out superior focus and engagement on Native ads over Banners.
Indie developers have taken this cue. A lot of indie developers have realized the value these formats hold to the user base. These formats have the ability to grow revenues without causing user loss. These ads have further proved to generate much premium eCPMs.
Higher eCPM + Higher Retention = Higher Revenues.
The year of 2018 will thus be the rise of indie developers with stronger revenues supporting innovation across the industry, and who better lead it than the indie community.