by Pete Erickson on June 23, 2016

Gaming Monetization Tips: How to Get it Done


As a developer, you know that monetizing a video game isn’t easy, but with proven methods, revenue growth is certainly possible. You can use a variety of strategies to successfully monetize your existing or new apps, and it’s always good to keep a short list handy. To help you with the process, we’ve collected a short list of tactics you should consider.

If you’re interested in taking your gaming monetization to the next level, join us at Amazon Developer Day on July 20th. Come and hear from industry leaders who will discuss all aspects of monetization:

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#1 – Valuable In-Game Purchases

An offer page is a great way to show your users exactly what they can buy, but you should be careful not to push too hard. Rather, the idea is to pull players to the offer page in order to avoid being too intrusive. You can also show players special in-game purchases not only in the shop, but outside of it as well. This way, a player is much more likely to purchase those extra lives, coins, or boosters right when they’re needed the most.  

#2 – Proper Ad Timing

Be careful with the timing of your advertisements. In many apps, ads pop up at seemingly random times, regardless of what the player is doing. This is frustrating for the player, particularly when ads appear in the middle of a highly competitive level, or during one that is timed. A smarter, monetization-focused approach means programming your ads to pop up at just the right time, such as when the user is between levels.

#3 – Customized Ads

Another approach you can take to improve monetization is to optimize your ads to match the aesthetic and design of your game. Rather than an intrusive ad that doesn’t match and pulls players out of the experience, your ads will feel like an organic part of the experience. The goal here is to offer the best possible experience to your players. Smart design with customized ads will do just that.

#4 – Proper Targeting

Ad technology has advanced substantially to the point that you can target your users based on a number of criteria. Rather than showing the same blanket ads to every player, you can customize your monetization efforts based on the age, interest, behavioral patterns, and other characteristics of those users. More specifically, you can measure and track specific behavior in the app and then incentivize users to continue or change that behavior.

Say, for example, a user frequently stops playing after only 5 minutes. It’s possible this user is frustrated with the game’s difficulty and isn’t playing long enough to view the ads and the opportunities to purchase in-app power-ups. For users with shorter attention spans, ad frequency can be increased to ensure visibility. The same is true for players who spend much longer in the app, reducing frequency to eliminate potential stopping points. By providing the best possible ad experience, you greatly increase the likelihood that your players not only see, but interact with those ads.


#5 – Providing Players with Choices

Monetizing your games is about giving players a choice. When a user sees the same ad every few minutes asking him to buy 10 more lives for $5.99, there are no alternatives. Maybe they are interested in more lives, but not in spending quite that much money. To combat this, game creators are offering choices (e.g. 5 lives for $3.99, 10 lives for $5.99, and 20 lives for $9.99). This way, players can choose the option that works best for them, increasing conversion rates.

We’ve learned a lot about gaming monetization in the last few years, with several new strategies for driving revenue from a game app – even when the game itself is free to download and play. Learning how and when to serve ads, what kind of ads to serve, and to whom you serve them are some of the ways you can grow your revenues and beat your own expectations.

If you are developing a new app or looking for ways to get more out of your current game apps, join us for free at Amazon Developer Day at Casual Connect on July 20th. We will be joined by top industry experts in game monetization to discuss how you can generate increased revenue in your products.

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Pete Erickson

Pete is the founder of Modev.com and creator of events and communities including Voicehacks.com, Security by Design, Code Writers Workshop, Machinery.io, DevOpsNirvana and DevelopingIoT. Pete lives in Arlington, VA with his wife and two children.