Game Insight was founded in 2009 in Vilnus, Lithuania, and set out to build exceptional mobile and social games. The team has grown to over 600 developers and is known for producing a suite of innovative and successful titles, such as Survival Arena, Airport City, and Guns of Boom. Despite their global success, Game Insight needed new ways to boost revenue in their hardcore strategy game Survival Arena. After implementing smart segmentation with interstitials in the game, they saw a 30% increase in ad revenue, without cannibalizing existing in-app purchase (IAP) revenue.
Monetizing without alienating gamers
Game Insight relies on a mix of IAP and primarily rewarded ads for revenue, given their good performance and smooth ad experience. In order to boost revenue further, the team looked to serve other ad formats to non-paying users; however, they were concerned that these ads would be shown to players who made frequent IAPs — ultimately hurting their IAP conversion rate and causing paying users to churn.
“We were working with many Google products already, and we’ve come to really trust them, so AdMob felt like an obvious choice for us to try. We were especially excited when we heard about smart segmentation because it ensures none of the interstitial ads are delivered to users who are likely to spend, which might cause them to leave our game.” said Maria Tyutina, head of monetization for Game Insight.
Showing the right ads to the right users
Smart segmentation uses machine learning to predict users' purchasing behavior and segments them into two groups:
- Predicted non-purchasers: Users who are not likely to make in-app purchases
- Predicted purchasers: Users who are likely to make in-app purchases
With smart segmentation, only ad requests for predicted non-purchasers will be filled, while ad requests for predicted purchasers will not. Limiting the amount of ads shown to potential purchasers ensures that ads will not get in the way of an IAP conversion.
The team found implementation to be straight forward. They chose to add one extra in-game interstitial ad slot with smart segmentation enabled. They also set up ad display limits so ads wouldn’t be shown to new players too early, which allowed them more time to play the game and potentially make IAPs without prompts. “Thanks to smart segmentation, we were able to set this limit much lower than usual: two hours after a player first starts the game, compared to 24 hours on other interstitials” explained Maria.
After enabling smart segmentation into the game, the model immediately began identifying which users were likely to be purchasers vs non-purchasers. “We started rolling out the new in-game ad gradually, while monitoring its effect on the player experience and metrics. We saw there was no decrease in main KPIs such as IAP, user retention, or engagement so we continued to roll it out to 100% of our players.”
Rolling out to the masses
Game Insight enabled smart segmentation in Survival Arena within a week, and saw ad revenue increase.
We rolled out smart segmentation in about a week, and the revenue ramped up within a month - a 30% increase in ad revenue to the first title we tried.
Head of Monetization, Game Insight,
The team noticed that the new interstitials had no negative impact on IAP revenue or the game play. “It was a quick solution that we could implement to enhance revenue, and smoothly integrate with the gameplay — just what we were looking for. We’ve started rolling out interstitials to more games, and those are showing very good results too.” Beyond trying smart segmentation, Game Insight also partnered with AdMob to use interstitial mediation. “We tested AdMob mediation in Survival Arena, and it showed amazing results. We’ve started using AdMob mediation for our rewarded video on some of our other games,” finished Maria.
Looking towards the future, Maria and her team plan to test more AdMob features. Game Insight currently has 10 live titles and they plan to roll out smart segmentation and AdMob mediation to most of their games.
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