Monetisation and the data game

July 08, 2016

opinion

Marketers and mobile game developers are increasingly using data to better monetise their apps, via in-app purchases and advertising. If you are a game developer there’s strong scope for adding as much user data to your inventory as possible, to maximise your yield.

Whilst obtaining demographic info from a user remains difficult, you can still gather some useful behavioral patterns. Gathering granular information is relatively easy. This can be about the context where the ads are going to be seen; which games are being played, which sections within games and what´s the user ID alongside their location, for example.

This offers enhanced monetisation opportunities because it allows programmatic advertisers to automatically optimise their output in each section of the game. Advertisers can then pay more for the users and contexts that work best for them, especially if they use the right tools to maximise campaign engagement.

Beyond the data element, the second lever available to maximise yield is the ever important factor of ad formats – and usually, the more sophisticated formats are, the higher price advertisers are willing to pay for them.

This sophistication must be balanced by proper standards however, or effective reach is lost. Rewarded video and native ads are the clear recommendation today, as they have both become standards in the programmatic world.

Rewarded video is the most effective way to monetise in games, but it’s worth noting that native ads are also effective monetisers. In the gaming industry the opportunity has not been fully realised however, with many still focusing on the more widely adopted video formats.

When it comes to data, a challenge exists between publisher and advertiser objectives. Publishers are already trying to get up to speed with these formats and most of them are also clear on the fact that use of data is critical to maximize yield, but they remain very protective around their data, and this is often in conflict with the interests of the advertisers.

Publishers want advertisers to take advantage of data, but they also want the data to stay within their own perimeters, through contracts and private deal creation. For example, they will assure an advertiser that a given user is a woman, but they will not allow the advertiser to keep that information so that they can target that woman with another publisher. In some cases they will simply not provide the user ID.

Advertisers would argue that when they pay to serve an impression to a user they’re entitled to the data and information held by the publisher. So publishers that protect their data this way will simply be less attractive to them.

On the other hand, handling data through mechanisms such as deal IDs also presents a challenge. They require a direct interaction between the advertiser and the publisher, which slows down processes and offers less revenue for the game developer. Ultimately, this issue is causing a great deal of manual work in a world where programmatic offers automation.

The reluctance by some publishers is based on their thinking that if they give the data away then advertisers wouldn’t need to buy from them anymore. In practice however, advertisers may actually buy more from a publisher that consistently shares data in an effort to precisely increase their access to valuable data.

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