Why you want ads
We live in a Free to Play World where most users have grown accustomed to mobile games being free. There are a select few who are willing to pay that up front fee, but your game will already need be popular, have player support, or a good amount of attention to sell it. And of course, console games are an entirely different story.
So how do you get revenue from users who don’t want to spend any money? Ads. Advertisements allow you to have a steady revenue stream as your users play your game.
Now I know what you’re thinking: Ads are horrible, they distract from game play, they take up screen real estate, and they take away from the experience…And yes, they can – if the developer doesn’t design the game to incorporate them in an immersive, consumable way.
In this post, I’ll go over some of the main points of integrating ads into your game and how to do it in Unity’s new services. If you want to read more about it, Unity has a few articles and blog posts about best practices and tips from other indies that successfully incorporate ads in their games:
Implementing Ads Well
Don’t disrupt game play
Have you ever played a game with an annoying banner across the top for a random ad? The answer is most likely yes. one way to avoid advertisements from disrupting game play is to make the decision at the beginning of the design process that you are going to make a freemium game. Knowing that you plan on including ads during the design phase allows you to then tailor your game to strategically use ads instead of slapping them on at the last minute.
Make ads part of the experience of your game. Currently, Unity ads will play full screen and are video based. You can have simple ads or you can have advanced ads that can tell developers if users actually watched the ad or not.
To incorporate Ads into the experience of your game you can use ads with an incentive system. For example:
A user is playing your infinite runner and they die. Instead of simply showing their score and a play again button, they see a screen that shows them their score and a choice. 1) Restart and try again, or 2)Watch an ad and start from where they died.
That way, game play has not been disrupted and the ad is showing at a natural pause in the game. Also, by rewarding the player, the user doesn’t associate dying with watching ads, giving them a bad experience with your game when they die.
Don’t break the game
Be wary of adding too much power to incentives.
The incentives and rewards that players receive for watching your ad should not give them an unfair advantage for the game. If your game involves some sort of currency, the reward shouldn’t be great enough to disrupt play. Balance the frequency of showing ads. Show them too often and you’ll irritate players, which might cause them to stop playing your game all together.
How to Implement
Unity 5.2 and higher has Ads support integrated into the editor. It’s a great tool for testing your ad experience. In my next post, I’ll show you how to integrate ads the way I did with Unity Analytics here: Unity Gaming: Anayltics