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The Future of Mobile Game Monetization

Think of yourself monetizing your mobile game and app hassle-free with the help of in-app advertising. Sounds like a convenient plan where your in-app revenue seems sorted. But what if we tell you that the future of mobile game monetization with in-app advertising is a bit shaky?

Where Ad Networks and Ad Mediation Platforms have leveraged mobile game monetization, updates from Apple and Android have made it difficult. Apple and Android have lately dropped in new updates. These updates will empower users but will make in-app advertising difficult.

According to Statista, in-app advertising is the most rewarding monetization model after paid downloads. In-app advertising has helped game developers and publishers earn millions conveniently. But with Apple and Android updates fully rolling out soon, this method of monetization will become less efficient to execute. Here is why…

What is the iOS 14.5 Update?

The iOS 14.5 Update is developed to use all means to protect users from data tracking. With this update, Apple will block mobile games and apps from tracking user data and sharing it with third-party advertisers. The Apple devices will no longer share the IDFA – an identifier for advertisers – unless permission is granted.

By doing so, Apple will be implementing its ATT – App Tracking Transparency policy. This will include a permission pop-up each time a user installs an app. Apple users will have all the power to either allow data tracking or to block it right away.

What is the Android 12 Update?

Google with a similar agenda as Apple is soon to roll out the Android 12 update. This update will also maintain data tracking transparency but with a different mechanism. Android 12 is all about keeping the users informed about their privacy choices.

Google will make sure that users get notified about how, when and why is their data being tracked, by rolling out Android 12. A simple notification with toggles will appear each time microphone, camera or data tracking gets active. At any point while using an application, users will be given the power to opt out of data sharing

Besides these, users will also be able to halt location tracking simultaneously. Whenever a user will opt out, an advertiser will only get a string of zeros instead of the user’s device ID.

What is the future of Mobile Game Monetization?

As mentioned above, the future of mobile game monetization seems a bit shaky. Here is how…

With mobile game advertisers having no access to the device IDs or other essential data, targeted advertising will become difficult. Whether an Apple or Android device with the latest updates, advertising will soon become dumb. This means that once a user opts out of data sharing, an advertiser will be unable to target an audience based on interest or demographics.

This big change will highly impact the publisher’s revenue. The publisher’s revenue will significantly drop when ads will not work as they are meant to be. This negative impact on the publisher’s revenue is an expected result of the lower eCPMs. When advertisers will not be able to display targeted ads, eCPM levels will drop leaving lower revenue.

Not just this, having no device tracking data means poor or no frequency capping by the publishers. A game publisher will not be able to control the number of times an ad is shown to a user which can impact user experience. Furthermore, advertisers and publishers will both have to face delayed campaign results. This will consequently make optimization tough for advertisers and publishers.  

This motivates us to conclude that the future of mobile game monetization with in-app advertising isn’t as bright as it was presumed to be. It is no wrong to say that Android 12 and Apple’s iOS 14.5 is a threat to in-app advertising and mobile game monetization.  

In-app advertising falling into the pit of difficulty and lower revenue generation will motivate publishers to switch to other models of monetization. This might give a boost to in-app purchasing models. However, the void left by in-app advertising will be hard to cope with.

It is expected that mobile game publishers will start merging monetization models to make the most out of it. The common hybrid monetization model is assumed to be in-app purchases and in-app advertising. With these together, a publisher will run in-app purchase pop-ups and ads, hence eliminating and third-party data tracking or sharing. 

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