As a game developer, why should I care about native advertising?

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Kevin Ford

August 26th, 2013

As mobile game developers become weary of slapping ugly banner ads into their games, hype around immersive native advertising is on the rise. Not only are developers seeing increased monetization, user retention is up in games that have made the switch to native ads. Still, some developers have questions, fearing the ad units look too similar to the user experience of the games they’re in.

In this edition of Ask the Task Force, we asked Nate, Ben, Chris, and Trevor to discuss the questions they hear from game developers, as well as how native advertising stacks up against other types of mobile advertising.

The NativeX Games Task Force provides highly specialized one-on-one consultation to NativeX partners, helping them increase the engagement, retention, and monetization of their F2P games.

As a game developer, should I be concerned about native advertising?

Nate Dykstra

Game and Monetization Consultant, NativeX Games Task Force
Native advertising is already providing a ton of value for developers and advertisers when it comes to mobile games and apps. The more engrained into the user experience an ad is, the more likely the user is to engage with the ad. This of course will lead to more revenue for the game or app developer.

I think we all agree we can do better than banner ads on mobile, which take up precious, already scarce screen real estate. We need to be more innovative with how and when we use advertising to keep the UX as pure as possible. This opens a wide door for native advertising.

I truly believe what we are seeing today is just the tip of the iceberg for what we will see with innovative ideas on how to bring advertising directly into the game and app experience on mobile.



Ben Sipe

Game and Monetization Consultant, NativeX Games Task Force
Mobile game advertisements are following a path similar to mobile web advertisements. We’ve seen banners, interstitials, and video… so what’s next? More immersive ads, AKA native advertising. I know developers or players might be thinking “oh great, more ads” but this isn’t a bad thing. When done correctly this isn’t a forced engagement.

Players who want to interact with the ad will get a better experience, and in theory this should increase clicks and revenues for developers. Players who don’t like the ads shouldn’t be bothered any more than they are now, if at all (depending on integration from the developer of course). Put down your pitchforks in your battle against ads, go with it and see what happens.



Chris Harris

Game and Monetization Consultant, NativeX Games Task Force
With the emergence of F2P there is an innate need for advertising of some form. Especially when IAPs are considered by most to be unethical in certain apps, like children’s games. I do not see the harm in reducing the player friction in games using native advertisements that feel like they belong in the game.

As a player I have a negative view of ads that take me out of the experience. My marketing side shutters at ads that look slapped together, sloppy, or ill timed. All of those scenarios mean the game has a short lifespan on my phone or tablet. When an ad feels like it belongs in the game, I am more accepting to the fact that it’s there because it isn’t disruptive.



Trevor McCalmont

Games Analyst, NativeX Games Task Force
I think developers should welcome native advertising with open arms. Obviously any kind of ad can be shown too frequently or with shady practices, but that’s a separate issue. Ads that are implemented correctly have proven to be a valuable source of revenue for games, especially when only 2-3% of users will ever convert on IAPs.

As more of our partners integrate our native advertising solutions, I have yet to see any adverse impact on user engagement or user retention, but there’s almost always a big increase in revenue and other monetization metrics.


Have a question for the Games Task Force?

Let us know in the comments below, or send us a Tweet on Twitter.

Kevin Ford

Marketing Manager


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