Your app is only as valuable as the users who come to it - improving KPIs like ARPU and retention is impossible without a user experience that keeps people happy, engaged, and coming back. That’s why we see so many studios prioritize user experience over everything else, as they should.
Usually, the first place we see AAA developers go to tackle this is in the game design - which is a great place to start but only part of the puzzle. The ad experience plays a major role as well - which includes both the ad content users see and the placements that hold them.
Done right, you can build an ad experience so positive that it enhances the overall user experience. Here’s how:
1. Place rewarded ads at moments when users really need them
Let's start with ad placements. The best ad experiences leverage rewarded video, because gives users exactly what they want and need to achieve their goals.
Let’s say a player is stuck on a difficult level and is beginning to lose motivation to continue playing. This is an opportunity to improve their in-game experience and offer a rewarded video - which will give them the exact resource they need to advance to the next level.
By placing rewarded video ads at strategic moments in the game, you enable users to keep playing, which improves retention, while creating a positive association between them and the ad experience. To understand what those key moments should be, go back to the core loop of the game and and place rewarded video ads within it. Get more tips for creating a placement strategy users enjoy for offerwalls and rewarded video.
2. Segment different ad experiences for different users
There’s no one size fits all strategy for ad experience - user bases are inherently diverse and people respond best to different situations. This is where segmentation comes in, you determine the parameters in which different groups of users interact with different ad placements and rewards.
The key to a good segmentation strategy is incorporating your players’ motivations and goals. Let’s take midcore gamers, for example, who are generally motivated by achievement and want to get the maximum they can from the game. Because of that, paying players in midcore games don’t just purchase items - they also tend to watch rewarded videos. Segmenting these players to give them even more rewarded videos than usual will satisfy their motivation, creating a better user experience, and boost revenue in the process.
Beyond motivations, you can look at other audience breakdowns, such as country. Users in different countries with different economic standings, for example, might have varying spending habits, so you can segment them accordingly. In countries with more disposable income, where users are more likely to spend money on in-app purchases, offer more opportunities to double rewards they receive from rewarded videos or offerwalls.
To keep your segments up-to-date during a user session, also try dynamic segmentation. For example, if a game player is originally segmented as non-paying but begins purchasing within a game, you can automatically move them to the paying segment. This way, they’ll always see the ad experience they were meant to.
3. Use SDK ad networks that have high standards for creatives
Finally, let's focus on the ad content. It’s up to the ad network to make sure that the creatives advertisers pass through it meet certain quality standards. That way, developers like you know you’re always delivering an excellent ad experience to your users.
SDK ad networks - which include ironSource, Unity, Google AdMob, Meta Audience Network and others - tend to have the most diligent creative review processes, so place these networks high in your monetization stack. Specifically, you want to know that the ad networks you’re monetizing with do the following:
- Has a team dedicated to improving the network’s ad experience - ideally even manually approving each creative one by one
- Tags each creative according to its respective audience and ranks the creative’s maturity
- Tests for technical issues, like creative size, ratio, and will how quickly it renders. This way, users never have to wait for the ad to load and stare at a blank screen
- Ensures the creatives are the perfect video length - neither too short, which doesn’t let the user fully experience the app, or too long
- Watches out for creatives with generally poor UX, like automatically leaving the sound on
- Willing to work closely with its developer partners to make sure their creatives meet your app’s specific standards. For example, if you have an RPG, the ad network can flag any unrelated ads for different genres like gambling and suppress it for you
The content quality analysis doesn’t have to stop at the ad network’s process and guidelines. You can also take steps to make sure the creatives that pass through are what YOUR users want to see - which might differ according to genre and userbase. To do that, use a mediation platform that gives you full visibility into the ad content on your app. That way you can monitor creatives across all the ad networks in one place.
Power in numbers
If just one of these methods can help create a better ad experience, and therefore user experience, imagine the impact of applying all three at once. Learn more about our Ad Quality and segmentation tools and about Unity LevelPlay mediation platform, or simply reach out.