In-game advertisements. Those who play free mobile titles have come to expect them, but publishers seem to adopt the practice reluctantly. According to a recent survey by analytics firm deltaDNA, 51 percent of game publishers consider in-game advertisements to be a “necessary evil,” but only 17 percent see them as “worth it.” In fact, comparing results from last year’s identical survey, deltaDNA found that respondents were on average less confident in their mobile advertising efforts than last year.

Meanwhile, 38 percent of publishers surveyed view in-game advertisements to be an important monetizing opportunity, 29 percent see them as a way to monetize non-payers and 25 percent consider them as vital to the game economy. When asked to describe their approach to integrating these ads, however, only three percent were confident with their efforts.

The survey revealed a slight increase in targeting the mid-core market—31 percent compared to 30 percent in 2015. While casual players are still the most sought-after at 58 percent, both casual and hardcore players saw a one percent decrease in ad targeting compared to last year at 59 and 11 percent, respectively.

in-game advertisements survey
“What audience does your highest monetizing F2P mobile game mainly reach out to?” (Source: deltaDNA)

Action games were named as the highest monetizing free-to-play (F2P) mobile games among respondents at 37 percent, a one percent decrease over last year. Strategy games made a major leap to 29 percent, compared to just sixteen percent in 2015. Casino titles, meanwhile have become less targeted for in-game ads at just one percent compared to nine percent in 2015.

While interstitial ads were the most popular type last year among publishers, 50 percent now prefer banners, followed by Rewarded Video ads at 44 percent. Like all advertising, there is no hard and fast rule on what works—but when choosing the frequency of displaying such ads, the biggest concern among publishers was “less player engagement” at 39 percent, followed by “lower levels of player enjoyment” at 29 percent.  Is it really possible to make ads enjoyable to the player? One game developer, Hyper Hippo, was pleasantly surprised by its efforts.

Mobile game, Adventure Capitalist integrates rewarded advertising by allowing players to watch up to five rewarded ads a day, providing a double-income boost for four hours. During a 2015 GDC presentation, the game’s producer Anthony Pecorella said that when Hyper Hippo launched this new feature, players were even reporting bugs with the rewarded ads because they wanted to take advantage of the offer. “There’s no better to way to know that we did the ads well than to have people say, ‘Hey! We can’t watch your ads. Fix it,’” he said.

Featured image source: Hyper Hippo