Chinese game developer Avid.ly wanted to boost revenue across its portfolio of 50+ games. To supplement revenue from in-app purchases, it tested AdMob rewarded video ads in Tasty Treats and two other casual games. The net result: not only did ad revenue surge, but session duration grew, too. Building on this success, Avid.ly implemented rewarded ads in all of its games.
Using ads to monetize users who don't spend on in-app purchases (IAP)
In most apps, only a small percentage of players buy digital goods, and the same was true for Avid.ly's casual games. The team knew that to grow revenue, they had to find new ways to monetize their apps—so they turned to ads. Avid.ly first began working with AdMob to integrate banner ads and static interstitials into their apps and then use mediation to maximize revenue.
Blocking controls helped Avid.ly automate the quality control of ad creatives, saving them time on ad operations. One important tool unique to AdMob is the ability to set different country-level CPMs for each ad network in mediation, which allows ad networks to compete at different price points and ultimately increase revenue.
“AdMob has been our top revenue partner for 4+ years because it consistently delivers the highest eCPMs and provides the most advanced set of monetization tools,” said Alix Liu, Avid.ly’s director of product management. “For example, setting different ad unit floors at the country-level is very important to our bottom line—that’s not available on other platforms.”
After years of experience monetizing with static ads, Avid.ly was ready to take its revenue and user experience to the next level.
Powering up with rewarded ads
When AdMob released rewarded ads, Avid.ly was among the first publishers to try it. As the name suggests, these ads reward users for watching an ad. Here’s why they work: first, players choose to watch or engage with the ad, putting them in control of their experience. Once the ad concludes, players receive digital goods that make the game more fun to play and allow them to continue playing. Rewarded ads largely feature video creatives, which are more engaging and deliver higher CPMs than traditional static ads. Together, these aspects can deliver a better app experience and help developers earn more.
Despite these benefits, Avid.ly was worried that rewarded ads might cannibalize IAP revenue. So, it started small, testing rewarded ads in only three of its games. In the test, Avid.ly prompted players with the choice to watch a rewarded ad when they ran out of lives. When players watched the entire video ad, they earned new lives or game currency and were able to resume gameplay. It didn’t take long to see the impact of this change on Avid.ly’s business.
Growing ARPU and user happiness
After implementing rewarded ads, Avid.ly saw ARPU skyrocket by 40 percent. Users were spending up to 20 percent more time playing and buying in-app goods 18 percent more often. Longer playing time meant players had more opportunities to watch ads and make in-app purchases, growing both ads and IAP revenue in a virtuous cycle.
“After seeing such clearly positive test results, we decided to implement rewarded video ads in all 50+ games to grow revenue and retention,” said Liu. “It’s been impactful in growing our business.”