In 2017, Sean and Anna Hammond founded Refuel Games. Refuel is an independent games company that brings console-quality racing games to mobile and tablet devices. Sean is the sole developer, Anna manages social media and communications, and both tackle monetization. Refuel launched its first racing game, Rally Fury, in August 2017 using open source technologies to create the game, and iterative prototyping to design and test game components.
After launching Rally Fury, Sean and Anna noticed that users who were not making in-app purchases (IAPs) were missing out on in-game features. To give all their users a complete app experience, they tried AdMob rewarded ads and started offering in-game currencies and boosters. As a result, Rally Fury’s ad revenue grew by 17%, rewarded ads cost-per-thousand impressions (CPMs) doubled, and click-through-rates (CTR) grew 1.5x compared to the game’s interstitials.
Creating a complete app experience for all users
Sean and Anna, who are based in Queensland, Australia, have had years of experience working in game development. “One of the most important aspects we focus on when creating games is the user experience. Happy users are critical to a successful game.” says Anna, who closely monitors user feedback on Refuel’s social media channels. Sean and Anna saw a lot of success in emerging markets, but noticed that IAPs were low in those markets and users were missing out on in-game features.
Sean and Anna started evaluating other ad formats that could offer non-paying users features that they’d otherwise miss out on. “The game had interstitial ads already, so we were looking for a format that would complement the interstitials without impacting the user experience or the interstitial ad revenue.” says Sean. The team of two also wanted a solution that would require minimal integration work while serving high quality ads.
Straightforward SDK integration
Refuel chose AdMob’s rewarded ads because they had partnered with AdMob since the game’s release. “Using rewarded ads was a natural next step for us,” said Sean, “because it’s the only format that lets us monetize and give our players game-enhancing rewards.”
Sean implemented rewarded ads and launched the format to Rally Fury’s beta testing community. To measure performance, the team compared their rewarded ad revenue to that of their interstitial ads, and their IAP revenue. Anna monitored player feedback to determine whether the rewarded ads were delivering a positive impact. Seeing increased revenue and no negative feedback, the team then decided to release rewarded ads to all players.
Overall, it took Sean just a few hours to implement the entire code into his game, which, as a sole developer, he found very relieving.
The best part was how easy and straightforward it was to integrate the SDK. We wanted a quick solution that would give us high fill rates and competitive CPMs, while still serving quality ads — and we got all of that with AdMob.
co-founder, Refuel Games,
Increased revenue and happy users
With AdMob rewarded ads, Rally Fury grew its ad revenue by 17%, and this increase was consistent for over a year. In comparison to interstitial ads, rewarded ads provided a 2X boost in CPMs and a 1.5X boost in CTR, with a 95% fill rate. “We currently use AdMob exclusively because it’s a reliable service that delivers consistent results. Plus, features like the Ad Review Center give us better control over our ad creatives and give our players a superior experience,” said Sean.
Most important to Sean and Anna was user happiness. “We actually did not observe any negative feedback about our rewarded ads.” said Anna. The team credits their success to the logic behind rewarded ads, saying “players control their game experience by choosing to watch rewarded video ads, which not only increases our game revenue, but also leads to a better experience for players.”
Refuel Games will continue their mission of creating games that focus on quality and player enjoyment. For now, they plan to add more features to their 4.5 star racing game, and aim to commence a new project this year.