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July 15, 2015Jesse Freeman
We are excited to announce that our new Amazon Cross-Platform Mobile Ads API Plugin is now available for Unity, Cordova, Adobe AIR and Xamarin. The Amazon Mobile Ads API is an in-app display advertising solution for monetizing mobile apps and games across many devices, including phones and tablets on Android, iOS, and Fire OS. In this post, we’ll walk through how to integrate Amazon Mobile Ads into your game to maximize revenue while maintaining a user-friendly experience. The same best practices can also be used in a mobile app as well.
If you’re familiar with existing ad services or have seen ads appear in games created by other developers, you’ll find that the Amazon Mobile Ads API is easy to wrap your head around. The basic ad formats supported are banner ads, which come in the sizes 320x50, 300x250, 600x90, 728x90, and 1024x50, and full screen interstitials; note that banner ads loaded through the new cross platform plug-ins will have their sizes chosen automatically. Our ads target users in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Japan, and our service is geared towards delivering great eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions) and high quality ads. Integrating the Mobile Ads API is straightforward and we provide individual documentation for each newly supported platform: Unity, Cordova, Adobe AIR, and Xamarin. We also offer a single portal for integration and tracking, allowing you to measure your success rate with actionable and easy-to-use reporting. For more information about the entire Amazon Ads platform, check out the Developer Portal.
While your first instinct may be to simply stick an ad at the bottom of your game, when and where you place ads has a huge impact on your return. It also has an impact on how your players feel about the game, their experience and whether or not they interact with the ads too. While every game is different, there are some common guidelines to follow:
Let’s talk about several scenarios and walk through how I put ads into my game.
If you choose to use ads in the game portion itself, make sure that the ads fit properly in the space you provide for them. In my own game, I made sure that the UI was flexible to scale around a given ad space. Here you can see I’ve set aside space for ads at the bottom of the screen so that they are clearly visible and do not detract from the main gameplay experience:
Start screen before and after ad placement
In game before and after ad placement
I also make sure that the UI can accommodate different ad sizes based on the device’s resolution to take better advantage of the screen real estate.
Here I can use the Unity plugin xARM to test out the ad placement on different resolutions and devices.
Full screen interstitials and takeovers are great ways to get the attention of your player and earn higher eCPM. These work best in scene transitions. I like to save these for non-blocking moments in the game. For example you can use a full screen interstitial every 10 screen changes if your game is turn based like mine. In this case, every turn in the game shows a transition animation so on the 10th one I substitute that for an interstitial ad.
When moving from scene to scene there is a transition animation. Every 5th one shows a full screen interstitial.
Since each game is divided into at least 30 turns, this guarantees my app will request at least 3 ads in a game. Note that my app will load the ad content beforehand to ensure that the ad materializes on the screen quickly once it’s time for the transition. I also use full screen interstitials when a game is over before restarting the game or returning to the start screen.
While statistically speaking, showing an ad at the start of the game is going to be the best time because you’ll always get more views starting a new game over completing one. In the end, it all depends on your preference. Since my game has a build up animation when it starts I wanted to make the transition from the start screen to the first screen seamless. That being said, you can simply start your counter on the next transition then show the interstitial every 10 transitions to make sure you get the views up front before the player drops off of the game.
The last thing to mention is that you need to use good judgment on when to show ads and make sure that they don’t impede your gameplay. Of course, while having more ads in your game means having a better potential to increase your earnings, if you frustrate the players and they don’t play anymore then you don’t earn anything. Like everything in life the key is to find that balance. I’ve designed my game specifically around the idea that I will be showing off ads to help monetize on users who play the game for free. I also try to respect the relationship I’m building with my player and don’t constantly show them ads, especially when they are in the flow of the game. There is no perfect formula for this since and there’s a lot of trial and error involved, so make sure that you test for feedback on ads just like you would with gameplay and bugs.
The Amazon Mobile Ad network is offering a limited time opportunity to earn a guaranteed $6 CPM for interstitial ads on qualifying apps*. All qualifying iOS and Android apps that integrate the Amazon Mobile Ads API and send the ad request for the first time on or after July 14, 2015 will receive a guaranteed $6 CPM on interstitial ads in September, October and November (up to 1 million impressions per app per month). Interstitial impressions served across all supported devices (iOS, Android, and Fire OS tablets and phones), supported countries (US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan), and supported stores (Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore) qualify. Click here to learn more.
While the Amazon Ads API has been designed to be easy to implement there is still some planning you need to do in order to see the best results. The number one lesson is that, by planning out when and where to show ads in a way that minimizes the impact on gameplay, you’ll see much better results. If you want to learn more about Amazon Ads, check out the following links:
- Jesse Freeman (@jessefreeman)
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