This article gives you an overview of the key findings of Mobile Insights 2022: Growth and Monetization report, specifically around the monetization insights and benchmarks to help you get the most out of your monetization efforts.
Creating a game with a compelling experience is one of the main goals of any mobile developer, but you may also need to support your studio with a reliable source of revenue so you can keep delivering the experiences your players love and expanding to new audiences.
There’s a lot to consider when monetizing your game, from ad implementation to understanding the key benchmarks. That is why you should be thinking about your monetization options early and examining the data on the tactics and strategies that will work best for your game.
We recently published our Mobile Insights 2022: Growth and Monetization report where we analyzed Unity’s data from 28B+ ads served each month, 168M average users reached each day, and 235M+ average monthly installs. It also looks at 46M+ average monthly in-app purchases (IAPs) enabled by Unity to provide publishers with the information they need to thrive.
In this article, we focus on findings related to monetization that will help you set your game up for success.
Getting the right monetization mix of IAPs and IAAs
The Unity Gaming Report 2022 found that more people are watching ads than ever before and in-app purchases are seeing steady growth across all genres with more transactions being made.
The percent of daily active users who watched at least one ad increased from 21.6% in 2020 to 25.9% in 2021, while IAPs are seeing 31% YoY growth.
However, gameplay varies between genres which is why it’s important to choose the ad types that provide more value to your specific game and players. For example, arcade and word games typically rely on IAA (in-app ads) while role-playing tends to use IAP.
Who is making the most transactions?
First, let’s start with the players that are making the most in-app transactions. We found that a maximum of 1% of DAU make in-app purchases and over 70% of total IAP revenue for games comes from just the top 5% of players who pay.
Even among that small percentage of players, 50–65% of transactions a year are made by a select few.
We recommend taking a more granular approach when it comes to segmenting your ad audiences. Consider which segments you should be monetizing through IAP offers and which to monetize through ads rather than targeting everyone with ads.
Which monetization strategies work best in each genre?
You’ll also need to consider which approach works best for your game’s genre. Shares of IAP and ad revenue show balanced distribution among different genres for the most part with IAP revenue taking a larger percentage of total game revenues.
Consider the revenue balance generated by these two types of monetization strategies early so you can increase your chances of success.
Create high performing ad placements
There are many decisions to make when it comes to implementing ads within your game, from ad length, formatting, timing, and where you place your ad along with many more elements.
However, it's important to note that players across game genres behave differently, which will determine the success of your monetization strategy.
What should your ad mix look like?
There are two main ad formats to consider. The first is the single ad format, which is simply just implementing one type, such as interstitial, into your game. The second option to consider is using multiple ad formats in which you have more than one format, such as interstitial and rewarded video ads.
Here are the findings on which game genres see more success with single vs. multiple ad formats.
Single ad format
Genres like adventure, card, casino, casual, and simulation generate higher revenue from using a single ad format of either rewarded video or interstitial ads. Using a single ad format could generate revenue of $2,500 to $4,500 USD a week on average for games in these genres.
Multiple ad formats used
Genres like word, trivia, board, and action generate significantly more revenue on average from using two ad formats: Rewarded video and interstitial. Using multiple ad formats could generate revenue of $4,000 to $6,200 USD a week on average for games in these genres.
When should you use rewarded video ads?
Ads, especially those that give in-game rewards, actually raise user retention – a trend that has consistently been documented in Unity research. When ad watching is incentivized with free rewards, most users tend to see the ad in its entirety with 90% of all users completely watching a rewarded ad.
Choosing rewarded video ads can be great for the player experience as they can be engaging when implemented effectively. However, when we dove into the data, we found that rewarded ads are best suited for certain genres but not all. Role-playing and strategy games tend to generate more revenue from rewarded video ads.
Genres like word, board, card, and puzzle games earn more revenue from interstitial ads. Here’s a more detailed breakdown by genre of percentage of users that watch a rewarded ad so you can determine if this ad format is best suited for your game:
Casual genres most likely to watch the full ad:
Hardcore genres most likely to watch the full ad:
Role-playing games are heavily skewed towards rewarded ads, but make less from ads in general as they focus more on IAPs.
There’s significant revenue opportunities for studios that surface rewarded video ads at the right time and offer rewards that will encourage players to complete the ad. Our research shows that not only can you gain ad revenue, but there can be positive effects on IAP and user retention as well which will help support the future of your game.
When should you surface an ad to players?
We also looked at how long it was before the first ads were triggered in games. On average, the first interstitial and banner ads are seen at around five minutes after the user opens the app and the first rewarded video ad shows at around six minutes.
Benchmark your growth
Tracking key performance indicators of your monetization efforts from IAAs or IAPs is essential to measure progress and know if your strategy is working. Studios, no matter the size, shouldn’t be going in blind when it comes to monetization.
The following two charts show how the industry is performing when it comes to monetization for each genre.
Which genres have the most ARPDAU growth?
Casual games have generated the most revenue in the last two years. Board, card, and trivia games had high performance in 2021 as they nearly doubled their ARPDAU compared to other genres that saw roughly 15% improvement in the same time period.
Supporting the future of your creation
Achieving scale with your monetization is an important milestone for game developers. Succeeding at this means you’re on your way to creating a sustainable future for their game.
Once you’ve found the right strategy and are feeling confident with your monetization growth, you should consider reinvesting into user acquisition or development activities to keep supporting your game and studio.
With careful planning, decision making, and execution that follows the steps in this report, developers can be confident they’ve built a strong foundation that will pay off in the years to come.
Read more on these monetization findings and learn about growing your player base in the Mobile Insights 2022: Growth and Monetization. These insights will help you understand:
- Genre and subgenre user distribution
- Soft launch campaign trends
- Ad campaign creative best practices
- In-app purchases trends
- Ad implementation tactics
- Monetization performance
We’ve also created monetization resources to help you learn more about game monetization while delivering the experiences your players love.