Do in game Advertisements make $$$?

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by Brawnydt, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Brawnydt

    Brawnydt Member

    Aug 17, 2010
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    Marketing consultant and Game designer
    California
    We are developing an iPhone/iPad game that is going to be something similar to Gunbound for PC and will introduce some all new game mechanics that have never before been seen in the App store. It's super exciting, and we're stoked on it! (We are aiming for a v. 1.0 release this December so stay tuned!!)

    We are investigating how to make this game profitable, and looking at having in game advertising.

    The idea is attractive since potentially over time a single download of an app could make far more than the .99 it would have cost to purchase, and you reach a far broader audience since the app would be free.

    Have you guys had any experience with in game ads? Do they work? Do they make money? What kind do you use?

    Any feedback would be great from anybody with experience in this field!
     
  2. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2009
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    New Jersey
    I assume they will move this to the developer's forum.

    The folks at Backflip Studios would be good to answer this one, as their Graffiti Ball is a recent example that has done really well, been in the top 25 free for a while now (though it may have fallen to 26-50 recently dont recall). Conversely, Zombie Hero, though liked on the forum, doesnt seem to have broken into the charts that I have seen, and they probably arent making real money yet. Backflip has advantages that the Zombie Hero team doesnt -- other successful games, a reputation, and the ability to cross-promote their games.

    Its probably pretty much the same as paid games, luck + good game + marketing (including your reputation as a developer) + getting featured by apple, some combination of those, and you do or dont break through the noise and climb the charts, which becomes self propogating.

    In general, I am not seeing a ton of freemium games breaking into the top 25 free -- the ones that are there seem to stick around longer. I dont think its a shortcut to success.
     
  3. Brawnydt

    Brawnydt Member

    Aug 17, 2010
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    Marketing consultant and Game designer
    California
    Ah, sorry I had a hard time figuring out which forum to post this in. I suppose the best way to know is just to test it out myself, releasing the game as free first with ads, and if the revenue generated isn't very promising, I can always remove the ads and price it higher.

    Thanks for the leads, I'll kick over some rocks in that direction to see what turns up.

    What are the major advertisement companies for the iOS devices?
     
  4. lukeca

    lukeca Well-Known Member

    Jul 22, 2009
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    Apple's iAd, Admob, or something like mobclix which pulls ads from all the services.
     
  5. f e a r l e s s

    f e a r l e s s Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2009
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    Here's my opinion as a gamer: Ads suck!
     
  6. mehware

    mehware Well-Known Member

    Nov 22, 2008
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    Look into AdWhirl, they support iAd now. iAd can get you 1.40USD per click and 2c per impression IIRC.

    Adwhirl serves an iAd ad and if it can't serve one it will use an AdMob ad. You can also make house ads to advertise other apps of yours.

    I tried Mobclix but it was a memory hog so I am going with AdWhirl this time.

    http://adwhirl.com/

    Good luck on your game.

    - Matt
     
  7. Stroffolino

    Stroffolino Well-Known Member
    Patreon Silver

    Apr 28, 2009
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    Pennsylvania
    my two cents:

    The free charts are just as competetive as the pay charts, if not more.

    Things lodged near the top of the free charts can be very sticky, even if they aren't very good. People will download free stuff with bad user reviews out of curiousity, since they don't have to worry about burning a dollar.

    I suspect you'd have a much better chance at cracking a top free list if you started out pay, then went free.
     
  8. Brawnydt

    Brawnydt Member

    Aug 17, 2010
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    Marketing consultant and Game designer
    California
    @fearless- I agree, ads do suck, however, without ads how does one get paid to make games fun and interesting for the gamers? RoboArena will offer an in store purchase to upgrade to an advertisement free mode most likely so you won't have to deal with them!

    @mehware- Thanks for that, I'll certainly give adwhirl a... whirl... it certainly sounds good! I was very curious what the rates were and how they were calculated. Thanks a ton!

    @Stroffolino- I wish my 2c were as valuable as your 2c. :) You've got a great point about how sticky things could be in the free charts, I hadn't even considered that little fact. I certainly see your point about starting pay and having a free sale to crack the top free list... however, if I changed the app to a free app and started serving advertisements to all the ones who had paid... that would piss some people off for sure. I wonder how I'd work around that...
     
  9. Foursaken_Media

    Foursaken_Media Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    #9 Foursaken_Media, Sep 9, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
    I personally would advise going paid first, and then if that doesn't work out go free with ads. If you aren't successful while paid, you won't have to worry about pissing off too many people for going free. Of course if you are successful, well, then you shouldn't go free ;) Not to mention it is a fact of life in the app store -- games go on sale and go free all the time. If you track the success of some games, you'll see they don't even become successful at all until a sale or a free promotion. However this is only true because by lowering the price (or going free) you get on 100s of tracker charts and twitter feeds, so going paid --> free gives you tons of exposure and actually gives you a very good chance to blow up.

    On the flip side, lets assume you release free and that you aren't moving up the charts at all... okay so raise the price, right? The difference is no one looks at games who raise their price, and you will not see any of the massive price drop exposure -- you won't show up on those app trackers or twitter feeds for raising your price.

    The only way you can successfully move from free to paid (from what I've seen with other games, and even in our own experience), is if you have 500,000-1,000,000 free downloads in the span of a few days.

    Also as someone else mentioned, the free and paid charts are 2 totally different beasts, and are not necessarily composed of the same market groups...

    Maybe you could try a paid "premium" version with maybe a tad bit extra content and also a free, ad version all at the same time?
     
  10. Brawnydt

    Brawnydt Member

    Aug 17, 2010
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    Marketing consultant and Game designer
    California
    @foursaken_media- I really really appreciate your taking the time to write that. You are absolutely right and I think that's the route I'm going to be taking. I hadn't realized how many feeds there were that watched for price drops.

    I think we can swing two different versions of the game by having some of the data stored server side, I'll have to start looking into that. Or perhaps just not allow online play with the free version and avoid that issue all together.

    From a marketing perspective it just makes sense.

    Thanks guys for your help! Within a month I should have some game art and maybe even some in-game footage to show to you all. It's gonna be awesome!
     
  11. f e a r l e s s

    f e a r l e s s Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2009
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    Sounds good. I like that. :cool:
     
  12. Moonjump

    Moonjump Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2010
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    Game designer
    Lincoln, UK
    I am also considering ad-supported options.

    My question is for a successful game, which is likely to make more money?

    The free route is likely to have more users, but the paid route seems likely to get more revenue per user. Which typically generate more total revenue?

    Is it close and the tipping point dependant on typical play length? Games played for longer serve more ads, meaning free is the way to go, but quick games generate more revenue from paid sales?
     
  13. Brawnydt

    Brawnydt Member

    Aug 17, 2010
    9
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    Marketing consultant and Game designer
    California
    Yes this is exactly why I was looking at ads since this gunbound style game will have lots of replay value. Potentially the game could generate far more per user than the 1.99 price point I'm going to price it at.

    The paid to free option after a short while is good since people feel they are getting a deal.
     
  14. Moonjump

    Moonjump Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2010
    356
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    16
    Game designer
    Lincoln, UK
    The only problem there is the people who paid might feel they got a raw deal.

    If the game went from paid to free, but offered ad-free through an in-app purchase, is there any way to make sure the people who paid got the ad-free version for free?
     
  15. Brawnydt

    Brawnydt Member

    Aug 17, 2010
    9
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    Marketing consultant and Game designer
    California
    #15 Brawnydt, Sep 10, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
    Exactly, that's the biggest issue with that plan. The best solution I could come up with would be to release an update while the app is still paid with an in app purchase for $0 to 'upgrade' to the ad free version. I'd put a big banner or notification on the front for all the paid users to get it as fast as possible.

    After a couple weeks to allow time for all the users to hopefully download the update, I'd release a new update, this time changing the game to free and increasing the in app purchase to $1.99.

    A couple might not get the update in time, but the majority would, and hopefully that would solve 99% of the problem.

    At the same time, I'd be running a free lite version of the game the entire time that has ads since I really can't see a downside to having a free demo version out there while the game is still $1.99. Is there a down side to having a demo version that is stunted just enough to still be fun but make users want more?
     

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