A way to monetize through your game is to display ads. They might be in the form of banners and/or rewarding videos.

The latter are a rising trend in the game industry, especially the casual one. A rewarding video is a sponsored video ad the player chooses to watch in exchange for rewards such as an extra life, more moves, extra coins and whatever exchange there might be.

Why are this kind of ads so popular? Why do they perform well?

Because they give the player something in return and the ad is not forced upon her. It becomes a choice.
The player voluntarily opts in. It is a transaction without any money involved, therefore the audience target is broadened including the ones that do not have access to credit cards. Last but not least, it increases retention because gives you that extra spin to stay in the game some longer.

I implemented rewarding videos for some games; I also play casual games that include them, and I have a few rules of thumb to share that come from my own experience. I will discuss the following:

  • – Give value to your ads.
  • – When creating videos, keep them as short as possible (15 secs ideal, 30 secs maximum)
  • – Choose good distributors and keep them in topic
  • – Ad placement, frequency, reward type

(Note: the above screenshots are from Fancy Cats game)

Give value to your ads

Set a maximum number of ads to display within a time-frame. The game is a fragile environment that has to be balanced by the game designer in order for it to be challenging but still funny. When the player gets endless opportunities to obtain in-game rewards by watching ads, it means that actually she is not playing the game.  She is unlocking stuff just by watching ads. Not the point of the game.

However, on the other hand, give the player more than one chance. Set hourly or daily slots. Do not just give one opportunity; a wise number of ads to be displayed will increase your revenue and player’s satisfaction. Too many will make the game itself “useless”, but too few will make the game frustrating.

Rewarding ads increase retention. Use them wisely.


Keep them as short as possible (when creating videos yourself)

We all know; when you are creating a video for your game to be advertised, it is difficult to squeeze everything into a small video. So many features to display, so many pretty visuals to show!

However, we also know that players are easily bored and they just want the reward, so your video has to be interesting enough to keep them interested.

As a rule of thumb, to keep the focus high enough, here is a trick: create captivating videos that are 15 seconds or less. Avoid creating videos out of image loops (such as a battery recharging for 5 times and then a slogan, something I have seen) and do prefer quality over quantity. Instead, do create many different smaller videos and equally distribute key features over them + special seasonal and other features for each different video. Even if the game is the same, the user won’t be very bored and stop looking halfway.

Another screenshot from Fancy Cats game. The shop allows you to buy items or to get “free diamonds” in exchange of video views (limited).


Choose good distributors and keep them in topic

This will be short and sweet: try to keep your videos as much related as possible. Games sell good other games videos. Generic ads might work way less; mind the target of your game, the category your game fits in, and if possible do not just throw in random ads.


Ad placement, frequency, reward type

This might be better discussed next related blog post! There is too much to say to squeeze it into a small paragraph :)

However, just couple of hints: place it strategically. Keep in mind your target user and your game mechanics and use it as a help to let her proceed in case she gets stuck, or as a welcome back after some time not logging in!

Always balance your game and try to improve it. Look at the statistics. Play it yourself.