Key Points

  • Games built for the web, desktop apps, or mobile devices all pose unique monetization challenges and opportunities.
  • Mastering the use of space, overcoming programmatic limitations, and taking advantage of demand partnerships are essential for successfully monetizing your game.
  • On all gaming platforms, Playwire excels at delivering all the tools necessary to successfully monetize your game and boost your overall revenue.

Monetizing a mobile, web-based, or desktop app game is pretty simple. Monetizing your game in a way that earns meaningful revenue without driving away all your players? Now that’s a challenge.

Every game publisher wants to earn income from their game without turning it into an unplayable mess of banner ads and flashing CTAs. But the best way to do that varies depending on your platform — and some platforms are tougher to monetize effectively than others.

The team at Playwire boasts years of monetizing games across web, mobile, and desktop application platforms, and in that time we’ve learned how to monetize games of all types — from the classic mobile experience to the trickier desktop game.

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Game Monetization Guide

Game Monetization Guide: Monetizing with In-Game Advertising

Game Monetization Basics

There are a number of ways that game developers can monetize their games. The most common method is through in-game purchases, where players can buy virtual goods or content within the game itself. Other methods include advertising, paid subscriptions, and pay-to-play models.

In-game purchases are typically the most popular option for game publishers today. They allow players to directly support the content they're enjoying. However, it's important to strike a balance between offering too much for free and charging too much for extras. Players should feel like they're getting value for their money, and that they have the option to purchase extras if they choose to do so.

Advertising can also be a viable option for monetizing games, especially if the game is offered for free. However, ineffective ads can be intrusive and disruptive of the gameplay experience, so it's important to use them the right way. 

Paid subscriptions are another option, though this is typically only feasible for games that offer continuous content updates or additional features. 

Finally, pay-to-play models charge players a one-time fee to unlock the full game. This can be a good option for games with large amounts of content or complex gameplay that would take significant time to complete. 

Challenges of Game Monetization by Platform

Mobile app, desktop app, and web-based — oh my! 

Despite all the monetization options available, the platform where your game appears can put some limitations on those options. There are some challenges every game platform faces when monetizing, while others are reserved for specific platforms. 

Here are three of the top challenges to consider when monetizing your platform of choice.

Visual Space

The simplest roadblock facing many game developers? Space available in their game. Mobile device screens, despite having grown significantly in recent years, are still relatively small. You want to use as much of that real estate for your actual gameplay as possible. Integrating ads in a way that’s unobtrusive but visible enough to please advertisers can be a real challenge.

Programmatic Limitations

Programmatic limitations can pose a major challenge for game monetization. For example, many games are designed to be played offline, which means that they can’t be monetized through traditional means such as advertising. 

One way around these programmatic limitations is to offer premium content or features that can only be accessed by paying customers. This could include things like exclusive levels, items, or characters. 

Developers can also offer “freemium” versions of their games that are supported by ads or other forms of advertising.

Demand Partner Preference

Despite the fact that desktop app games continue to grow in popularity, there are a number of reasons why demand partners avoid them. One key reason is the perceived risk of fraud. With desktop games, it can be difficult to track how users are interacting with ad units, potentially leading to click fraud. 

In addition, programmatic limitations can make it difficult to target and reach potential users. As a result, many demand partners are cautious about investing in desktop app games.

Game Monetization by Platform

We’ve talked challenges. Let’s talk solutions.

At Playwire, we’ve become the leading game monetization platform by helping publishers monetize in even the most challenging circumstances. Our experience, proprietary solutions, and deep demand partner relationships make this possible.

Let’s explore the ways we’ve mastered how to monetize games of all major types.

Web-Based Game Monetization

Complex, low-margin, and built to put advertisers on top. That’s the ecosystem for web-based advertising as we know it. That is, everywhere except at Playwire. 

We’ve been fighting for web-based publishers for 15 years. Our platform is built for publishers, from algorithms built to maximize CPMs to a bidding process that guarantees competition between demand sources. Through it all, we never sacrifice user experience. 

Additionally, any game we monetize has been played by a Playwire team member, and we ensure that your monetization never gets in the way of growing your game’s popularity for the future. 

There’s a reason why web-based game publishers from small startups to massive platforms call us their most trusted partner.

Mobile App Game Monetization

Playwire’s RAMP Platform for mobile app monetization is simple, transparent, and provides a full suite of monetization sources in one SDK (Software Development Kit). 

RAMP offers transparent revenue share agreements, full-service management of mediation partners, and the chance to earn revenue on a CPM basis. By unifying the ad auction process, RAMP drives increased competition and ensures that you never miss out on the highest possible bids for your mobile app’s advertising space.

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Game Monetization Resource Center

The Complete Game Monetization Resource Center

Desktop App Game Monetization

Ad tech is an industry that’s long favored advertisers, and no platform bears the brunt of that favoritism like desktop apps. The programmatic advertising ecosystem is just not built for desktop apps. Demand sources avoid them, and most solutions rely on cookies and domain names — two ingredients not found on desktop.

Playwire beats these challenges with deep demand partner relationships, ad formats designed to excel on desktop apps, and RAMP: our custom-built solution for monetizing all platforms, including desktop apps.

Best Practices for Game Monetization

Regardless of which platform your game lives on, there are some best practices to follow for optimal game monetization. Details may vary from mobile app to web to desktop app, but the principles are the same. These best practices can make or break your game monetization strategy.

Quality Beats Quantity

In-game advertising is distinctly different from other publications when it comes to time commitment. On average, a standard web page might hold a person’s attention for a few seconds. But a web-based game, for example, might see a player staying on one window for forty minutes or more.

That means fewer ads may be shown, but for much longer periods. You better believe those ads need to be high quality — carefully targeted, relevant, well-designed, and appropriate. 

Test Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Guesswork has no place in game monetization. Whether you’re trying out a new ad format or determining whether to show a 30-second ad or two 15-second ads, always conduct A/B testing on multiple options.

At Playwire, our Revenue Intelligence {RI} algorithm is built entirely around ongoing refinement through testing and AI-powered analysis. That means your ads, and other monetization strategies, are constantly improving by the minute.

Optimize Your Core Vitals

For web-based games, Core Web Vitals are metrics that measure how quickly and smoothly a page loads and how easy it is to interact with. By optimizing for these metrics, website and app owners can make their pages more user-friendly, which leads to higher engagement and maximized ad revenue. 

Additionally, optimizing for Core Web Vitals can help website and app owners improve their search engine rankings, which also leads to more traffic and ad revenue. Thus, optimizing for core web vitals is a key way to monetize games and other online content.

Respect the Player, Respect the Game

Players gonna play. That is, unless you give them a poor gameplay experience. 

Our Playwire team spends time actually playing the games we monetize. Why? Because that’s the only way to truly understand the gameplay experience — and how to develop a custom-built monetization strategy for your game that does not disrupt the gaming experience. 

Beat the Ad Blockers

Smart gamers know how to activate ad blockers that keep advertising out of their playing experience.

Too many monetization platforms focus on trying to get around these ad blockers. But what if you could get players to simply turn them off? How, you ask? Just offer them an enticing enough reward.

We see plenty of success stories involving publishers who level with their players: “Turn off your ad blocker, and we’ll give you X reward as a thank you.” 

If the reward is strong enough, players will respond.

Monetize the Right Way with Playwire

We consider ourselves more than an ad tech platform. We’re advocates for both publishers and gamers. We’ve been in this industry for 15 years, and we’ve seen the way that publishers are often squeezed at the bottom of the stack when it comes to their needs. Not anymore. 

Everything from our RAMP platform to our Revenue Intelligence {RI} algorithm is built with a publisher centric mentality, helping you turn your amazing game into a stable source of revenue.

Ready to get started? Contact us online today.

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