Mobile Game Monetization Trends: Best Strategies to Monetize Your Game in 2020

Andrea Knezovic
Jan 29 · 7 min read
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Creating an outstanding mobile game is one thing but making money off it is a different beast entirely.

There are many monetization strategies you can choose from. However, not all of them work in 2020.

That’s why we have compiled a list of top mobile game monetization trends for 2020. If used right, these strategies will maximize your mobile game revenue.

Top 5 Mobile Game Monetization Trends for 2020

Let’s get straight to the point. Here are the best strategies to monetize your mobile game in 2020.

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1. In-Game Ads

Hands down, one of the biggest mobile game monetization trends in 2020 will be in-app ads. This model has proven to be very effective for developers.

Players can enjoy a mobile game for free, while the developer earns revenue from mobile ads that show up in the game. Advertisers are also happy to show their ads and acquire new users.

In fact, users remember in-app ads 47% of the time. That attests to their effectiveness. Moreover, a study done by Ipsos showed that 50% of users find mobile ads visually pleasing.

In 2020, the emphasis will be on user experience. Users don’t want to see intrusive ads or ads that are irrelevant. Moreover, if a user is bombarded with too many ads, the user experience will suffer.

Therefore, in 2020, developers need to strike a balance between the number of ads and the quality of the ads.

It’s also important to choose the right ad networks and use ad mediation to maximize your ad revenue. (I’m going to talk about ad mediation later in the article, so keep on reading).

Developers also need to think carefully about what type of ad formats they’re using. Which brings me to my next point.

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Reward Ads Are Very Effective for Mobile Games

Reward ads like rewarded video are one of the most effective ad formats in 2020. They work particularly well for mobile games.

Here’s the concept behind rewarded videos. The user chooses to watch the video ad in exchange for an in-app reward. That’s makes this ad format popular among gamers. In fact, rewarded videos have the highest eCPM of any other ad format.

Not only that, but in-app videos in general produce great results. A study has shown that in-app video ads get 56% better CTRs than banner ads.

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2. Mobile Ad Mediation

Mobile ad mediation is a very effective monetization technique based on in-app ads. It helps mobile game publishers earn more ad revenue.

Ad mediation technology has evolved and improved over the years. More and more publishers and advertisers use it. There’s no doubt it will be one of the biggest mobile game monetization trends in 2020.

Here’s how it works.

In order to maximize ad revenue, a mobile game publisher needs to work with multiple ad networks. However, as the number of networks starts growing, it becomes increasingly hard to track and manage them. This is where ad mediation comes in.

Ad mediation platforms allow you to add several ad networks and work with them all in one place. They are basically an intermediary between you, the publisher, and ad networks.

Another plus is that you need to integrate just one SDK instead of multiple SDKs for every ad network.

To read the full list of ad mediation benefits, click here.

I have also compiled a list of top ad mediation tips for developers, so that might be helpful as well.

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3. Data Monetization

Data monetization is a good alternative to in-app ads, and it deserves its place among mobile game monetization trends. It works well for mobile games with a large number of daily active users.

Data monetization refers to the collection and transfer of data from a mobile game to a data collector. Most commonly, data collectors are advertisers, marketers, and different companies like telecoms.

It’s important to note that data monetization is not about collecting personal user data. Only non-personal data like device type, country, and screen size is collected.

In fact, data monetization works similarly to ad mediation. The more data collectors you work with, the more revenue you’ll earn. Just like there are ad mediation platforms, there are intermediaries that allow data collection through a single SDK.

And of course, the more daily active users you have, the more money you’ll earn from data monetization. Just keep in mind that you need more than 50,000 DAU for this monetization technique to make sense.

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4. In-Game Purchases

If you already have a big fanbase and are established in the industry, it might make sense to make users pay for your game.

However, if you’re an indie developer and this is your first project, a paid game will probably not work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t monetize your game.

If you want to make your mobile game free to download, but still make money from it, in-app purchases are the way to go. According to AppAnnie, by 2022, users will spend 156.5 billion in the app stores.

This way, the players can play the game for free. Once they get into it, they have the option to pay for additional content, extra lives in the game, coins, gems, etc.

What’s important to get this model right is to be strategic about pricing. Usually, what works best is if you offer both cheaper and more expensive items.

As a developer, you also need to make it clear from the very beginning that there are additional purchases in the game. That way you avoid being perceived as deceiving the users.

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Here’s what Jovan Milenkovic, founder of KommandoTech has to say about in-app purchases.

“I think we will see the continued rise of virtual goods and in-app purchases as one of the best ways to monetize apps in 2020.

People have been spending their real hard-earned cash on virtual currency for a long time now before smartphones even existed. Now that credit cards are directly linked to accounts, and power-ups can be bought at the click of a button, it makes monetization that much easier.

You can always count on competitive gamers spending whatever is necessary to compete at the highest level. Whether in the form of extra lives, special items or extra content, a couple of bucks doesn’t seem to matter to most gamers.

Even if it’s to simply buy a cool looking piece of armor for style and status points within the gaming community, that has no real benefit in or outside the online game.

In other words, in-game purchases and virtual goods are here to stay and continue to be one of the best ways to monetize any mobile game.”

5. Paid Games

While in-app purchases generally work better than paid games, this is still a mobile game monetization trend that’s worth mentioning. If you’re an established mobile game publisher with a large fanbase, paid games make sense.

For example, Minecraft is a paid mobile game, but it still made it to the list of top-grossing games in the app stores.

Also, some gamers don’t like in-app purchases. Those users are often willing to pay upfront and avoid ads or having to pay for coins, gems, and other content.

So weight out whether that makes sense for your game or not.

Final Thoughts on Mobile Game Monetization Trends

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to successfully monetize your mobile game in 2020.

Now we want to hear from you.

What do you think will be the biggest mobile game monetization trend in 2020? Did we miss something?

Let us know in the comments below!

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About Udonis:

In 2018 & 2019, Udonis Inc. served over 14.1 billion ads & acquired over 50 million users for mobile apps & games. We’re recognized as a leading mobile marketing agency by 5 major marketing review firms. We helped over 20 mobile apps & games reach the top charts. Want to know how we make it look so effortless? Meet us to find out.

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