Written by: Ayet Bayrami
Today, we at iQU are happy to share with you the third part of our 4-post series in which we cover the key factors to a successful game performance marketing campaign.
In case you’ve missed it, PART 1 went over the most widely-used campaign deal metrics, along with their benefits and downsides. Next, PART 2 focused on which user registration flows should be preferred by advertisers, as well as what makes for effective landing page content when it comes to conversion rates.
In PART 3, we will discuss how game platforms, as well as different game types and genres also play a role in influencing advertiser payout rates.
We will begin by explaining the characteristics of the three main game genres:
A game’s genre plays a role in determining the payout required from advertisers. This depends mainly on two rules:
- The more money your potential target group has, the more you, as an advertiser, can invest into attaining users.
- The harder it is to attain users, the more you will have to pay for their acquisition.
Besides specifically relating to the genre, these two principles have a wider application, as will be discussed in later parts of this e-book. Regardless, in this section we would like to explain this particular relationship.
At iQU, we divide games into three distinct genre categories:
- Casual games
- Core games
- Niche games
Thus, when we consider the two aforementioned rules together with the three categories, the following conclusions, applying for both desktop and mobile gamers, can be made:
- On one end of the spectrum are casual games. Their very nature implies that they are aimed at people who are not as dedicated to gaming as others. Instead, they are looking for a pleasant, short experience that does not require much effort. So, naturally, the casual gamer audience is quite vast. Therefore, it is easy to attain most of them. Simultaneously, while their average income may be of a significant size, their lack of serious involvement with the games indicates that they are unlikely to invest much money into them. Thus, both their user acquisition costs and the associated advertiser payouts are typically the lowest.
- On the other end of the spectrum sit niche games. Here the case is completely the opposite: Due to their specific nature, they tend to attract a much smaller, but nevertheless, dedicated audience. For this reason, it is more difficult to convert as many of these gamers as their casual counterparts, but those who are successfully convinced usually invest a decent amount of funds into the niche games. Therefore, their acquisition costs and payout rates tend to be the highest.
- Meanwhile, positioned between both previously mentioned categories are core games. These gamers are more willing to purchase in-game items than casual users, while also being represented by a much wider group of people than niche players. Thus, it is logical that their acquisition costs and payout rates to the publishers would land somewhere in the middle.
These characteristics are summarized below:
Game Types (Online)
Next, a payout rate’s level is also dependent on the game types being promoted. In terms of desktop games, the two most widespread types are:
- Web-based games
- Downloadable / Client-based games
Web-based games offer a great user experience, but are rather limited in their graphical abilities. Nevertheless, they are easily-accessible by the players, which means that the conversion rates tend to be higher and the payouts – lower. For this reason, web-based games are preferred by game advertisers.
Downloadable games, on the other hand, involve actual physical memory and sometimes even high system requirements that not all players can meet, as well as other additional efforts, such as acquiring the game file and installing it. This ultimately results in a lower conversion rate, similarly to the DOI point, made earlier. Another issue with downloadable games is the players believing that their computers might get a virus. Regardless of the possibility of such a risk, certain people are immediately deterred from even trying such games. Therefore, when taking the above reasons into account, downloadable desktop games have higher costs per acquisition and thus – higher advertiser payouts.
Generally, the fewer steps there are between the player and the game, the more desirable the deals based on such game types are for all of the involved parties.
Game Types (Mobile)
When it comes to mobile campaigns, the game types distinction mentioned above does not apply. This is simply due to the fact that mobile games are downloaded to the user’s device in any case almost immediately and with almost no hassle. Nevertheless, mobile is generally much more competitive and it is easier to launch your ads on it in most developed countries. Therefore, it is significantly more expensive than for web-based desktop games because the publishers are only willing to accept offers from the advertisers who would pay the highest rates. On the other hand, in terms of less developed or developing countries, there are certain technological and economic reasons, among others, which make the players on mobile even more difficult to acquire and therefore more expensive than web-based desktop users in those same countries, as will be shown subsequently.
Regardless, mobile games can be distinguished among themselves through yet another criteria – their operating system:
iOS campaigns tend to be more expensive than Android. While there are several reasons behind this trend, the simplest, yet the most relevant is the fact that Android has a much larger market share than iOS. Therefore, the smaller the presence of iOS becomes in some of its key markets, the harder it will be to acquire its users and thus – the higher its payout rates will be, as suggested by the second rule, covered earlier.
On the other hand, while several years ago it may have been true that iOS users had higher disposable incomes for in-game spending, therefore requiring higher targeting investments (first rule), recently we have seen a rise in premium smartphones, for example. Such trends could possibly contribute to reducing the gap between iOS and Android ad campaign payouts at some point in the future. Nonetheless, iOS’ market share is still the main constraint to doing so at the moment.
If you would like to receive additional insights as to what pricing structures we would recommend you to succeed with your next game launch, please contact us for a free consultancy appointment here!
Moreover, if you are interested in accessing our complete overview, as well as several exclusive payout guides to balancing the needs of both game advertisers and publishers, then be sure to download iQU’s e-book for free!
Finally, if you would like to view our concluding e-book extract, be sure to check out PART 4 here!