South Korea-based CookApps creates social and mobile games that reach 80M players in North America and Europe alone. CookApps has launched hit titles such as Buggle, Pengle, Pudding Pop, and Bubble CoCo, a game where players pop their way to victory by shooting bubbles. CookApps wanted to increase the ad revenue generated from their mobile gaming apps without impacting user experience. They adopted Google AdMob’s rewarded video ads and mediation, which led to an 86% growth in ad revenue and a 4%+ increase in average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU).
IAP revenue alone may not be enough
Traditionally CookApps monetized their games through in-app purchases (IAP); however, they discovered that, like most gaming apps, only 1.5% of their active players were making purchases. When coupled with the rising costs of acquiring new users, they found that IAP revenue alone wasn’t cutting it. CookApps needed a way to earn revenue from the majority of non-paying users without diminishing the app experience or paying players’ willingness to spend, so they turned to ads.
Creating a player-first advertising experience with rewarded ads
To build up an ad-supported revenue stream, CookApps needed to create advertiser competition for their ad inventory. They knew mediation would let them serve ads from multiple ad networks with the least number of software development kits (SDK) added into their app code.
CookApps first started with only one ads network, but soon realized that one was not enough to achieve the high fill rate as their user base grew. That was when they began paying attention to mediation. "We went with AdMob without hesitation as it was the most reliable and transparent platform out there. Moreover, it provides powerful features such as ANO which makes our daily job so much easier while enabling us to maximize ad revenue from multiple sources." said Boram Ku, director of Marketing and Monetization for CookApps.
With mediation in place, CookApps moved on to create a delightful ad experience to engage non-spending players while protecting IAP revenue. They implemented rewarded video ads in the Bubble CoCo app because it created a value exchange by offering users a free life in exchange for watching a video ad.
Next, CookApps A/B tested several ad placements across the entire Bubble CoCo user base, to determine the best implementation for keeping users happy and engaged. By monitoring IAP revenue and session duration over two weeks, CookApps found that the pop-up ads worked much better for revenue and engagement.
Delightful ad experiences lead to more revenue and engagement
After showing pop-up rewarded ads in Bubble CoCo, CookApps saw an explosive 86% growth in the app’s ad revenue. Moreover, they had a 4% increase in ARPDAU. This spike proved that, when shown to the right segments of players, rewarded ads create a new revenue stream on top of in-app purchases.
Mediation helped maximize revenue by introducing more demand sources for the ads and managing them effortlessly. By enabling ad network optimization (ANO), CookApps allowed AdMob to automatically manage their mediation chain based off app traffic, historical data, and information retrieved from each ad network. With ANO and Live eCPM enabled, CookApps found that AdMob’s mediation provided stronger CPMs than other platforms they’ve tried in the past.
“We loved that AdMob provided outstanding technical support for mediation in Korean whenever we needed,” said Boram. “This was very important for us since many of our developers don’t speak English.”
After seeing the success of rewarded ads and mediation in Bubble CoCo, CookApps decided to implement them in all of their apps, with plans to expand to even more placements and new ad formats in the futur.
We discovered the AdMob network provided, by far, the best UX for rewarded video ads.
Director of Marketing and Monetization, CookApps,
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