Recently we integrated PlayHaven’s ad service into GameSalad Creator as a way for our Pro developers to generate more revenue from their games. Now that we have a few months of performance data under our belt, I’d like to share some of the results we’ve seen so far.
As a quick primer for those unfamiliar with PlayHaven, we’ve started to implement portions of their service, beginning with full screen interstitial ads that allow game companies to advertise games on a cost-per-install basis. This means that advertisers only pay for actual downloads of their games, which they typically value much higher than clicks or impressions.
Since most of the apps on the GameSalad network are games, we see high conversion rates to game downloads, which lead to high eCPMs (effective cost per thousand impressions) relative to other ad networks. Initial results have proven quite successful, as many developers are seeing gross eCPMs above $10 and nearly 100% fill rates. After PlayHaven takes its 50% cut, developers are seeing net eCPMs in the $5 range and some developers are earning thousands of dollars per month per game.
To put these numbers in perspective, many of our developers have reported that iAds produce eCPMs in the $2 range, and other popular ad networks such as AdMob produce eCPMs in the $0.65-$0.85 range. I realize there are a lot of acronyms and jargon being thrown around here, but the key takeaway is this: PlayHaven is producing results that are anywhere from 2 to 8 times more effective than competing mobile ad solutions. Now, that’s pretty awesome.
It should come as no surprise that most of our developers attract more players when they make their games available for free versus charging upfront to download. In an industry that is increasingly moving toward the free-to-play model, it’s becoming even more important to find ways to monetize free-to-play games and we think PlayHaven provides a simple and effective solution to do just that.
With the launch of GameSalad 0.9.94 we’ve also made some modifications to the way PlayHaven operates for developers. For Pro developers, you now have more control in determining the placement of the interstitial ads. For Basic users, we’ve elected to remove the interstitial ads from games published under Basic accounts in order to provide a smoother player experience. Instead, those games will receive a “More Games” button, overlaying a section of their splash screen before gameplay starts. We’re going to test this approach out and optimize it in future releases with the goal of finding a solution that is mutually beneficial to GameSalad and Basic users.
Over the coming months, we’ll continue to integrate more features from the PlayHaven platform with the goal of making revenue maximization easier, faster, and more seamlessly integrated into the player experience. At the end of the day, we want to free our developers up to focus on making great games that can be enjoyed by lots of people while earning meaningful revenue for all their hard work.