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How Game Publishers Can Increase Brand Spend

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By Lashanne Phang, Senior Director, Mobile
March 20, 2023

Among the breadth of monetization strategies – from ads to subscriptions – mobile gaming and utility app publishers typically focus on in-app purchases and in-app advertising. While performance-driven ads can deliver clicks and installs, along with revenue for publishers, there is a huge opportunity for publishers to grow incremental revenue and retain spend via brand advertising.

As brand buyers seek broader reach outside of traditional TV and web media, they have identified gaming app users as affluent consumers they want to reach. There is a clear opportunity for game and utility publishers to diversify their monetization through incremental brand spend – attracting brand dollars, while keeping performance budgets.

Performance vs. Brand

Publishers want brand dollars, but the way the environment is currently set up is skewed toward performance—i.e., installs and clicks—so, ultimately, brand buyers aren’t able to win bids effectively.

Brand advertisers’ goals are to show an ad for branding and awareness (on a CPM basis).

In contrast, performance advertisers want to drive installs (CPI) or clicks (CPC). This often encourages users to click on an ad, and either prompt them to a download or redirect the user to a landing page.

In both these scenarios, buyers bid differently. A brand buyer’s bid is often less aggressive compared to a performance buyer’s bid because of the outcome of their goals. Because of the different bid levels and historically the environment is skewed toward driving installs or clicks, brand advertisers often miss the opportunity to win auctions.

In other words: Brand budgets cannot compete fairly with performance budgets.

There is, however, a way game and utility publishers can appeal to brands without putting a dent in their performance revenue. The key is diversifying inventory to capture incremental brand spend via a supplementary business strategy.

If It Ain’t Broke

Publishers don’t need to change their performance monetization strategies. Instead, they should add a new strategy to help capture brand spend within an exclusive environment – allowing only brand buyers to bid for placements. One example is a splash ad, shown at the launch of or exit from an app. These placements minimally disrupt the user experience but have high attention and viewability.

Most publisher revenue will still be driven by performance monetization, but adding brand budgets can be a smart strategy for game and utility publishers. The incremental revenue can not only help publishers diversify risks associated with a changing economic and privacy landscape, but these new formats can also help create a better experience for their users.

Download the guide and start getting brand spend today.