TutoTOONS is a kids game publisher and developer focused on creating apps that celebrate childhood. They were founded in 2014 and have since developed over 100 mobile games for children ages three to 12. The Lithuania-based company has more than 430 million global downloads, with hits that include Smolsies games, where players can collect virtual pets, and My Baby Unicorn, where they care for their own virtual unicorn.
Because TutoTOONS creates games for kids, it has special requirements when it comes to ad safety. All of its ads need to adhere to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — so the team needed a network that would comply with these laws and fill ad inventory on a global scale.
Leveraging AdMob’s reach and using publisher controls, TutoTOONS implemented interstitial and rewarded ads into their games, resulting in a 20% revenue increase and a 30% increase in overall fill rate — and control over all ads served.
Testing for growth
TutoTOONS had tried different ad networks, but found three key flaws. First, they needed to fill ad requests in more markets, and needed a company with a global reach that could increase their fill rate. Second, they wanted to implement a solution that would comply with COPPA and GDPR easily. Finally, TutoTOONS needed a solution that could let them set ad safety preferences and trust the system to do the rest. On top of this, TutoTOONS wanted to move away from relying on in-app purchases (IAP) and focus on monetizing with ads.
“We wanted to shift to a hybrid monetization strategy, so we needed to scale our ad impressions in each of our target markets,” says Damien Bruneau, co-founder of TutoTOONS. “On top of that, we had to find a network that complied fully with COPPA and GDPR — allowing us to control our ads through category filtering.”
Shifting to hybrid monetization
One of the first steps that TutoTOONS took to shift to hybrid monetization and increase revenue was to integrate rewarded video and interstitial ads into their games.
TutoTOONS decided to test increasing the number of rewarded ads, and adjusting the interstitial ads to optimize when the ad appeared. Each time TutoTOONS added a new rewarded ad or changed the timing of an interstitial, the team integrated it into one app only. Next, they rolled out the app to a small percentage of users week over week until they reached 50% of their base. During the deployment, they tracked user retention, engagement, total ad impressions, and overall revenue to gauge monetization performance. If they were satisfied with these metrics, they’d slowly roll out the ad to 100% of players. “We tried to find the ad placements that would work best in our games and keep user retention high — that’s difficult to do in kid games,” explains Damien.
To drive ad engagement, TutoTOONS decided to use rewarded ads for premium content — such as game upgrades or in-game rewards. They integrated interstitials for areas where rewarded ads performed differently, such as after finishing a game activity or challenge, per Google Play’s best practices. “We chose these two formats as they’re less intrusive and most natural for game play, optimizing player happiness,” says Damien.
Managing ad safety with ease
With ads now implemented, TutoTOONS needs to manage the ad creatives that appear in their games. For entire ad categories, TutoTOONS uses publisher blocking controls. With blocking controls, the team has the option to block ad categories on an account-level or app-level. With account-level blocking, they can block ad categories that aren’t suitable for any of their apps; app-level blocking allows them to show ad categories that are suitable for some apps and not others.
When the team needs to block a specific ad creative, they use the Ad Review Center (ARC). With ARC they can review all ads, and block any unwanted creatives before they appear in a TutoTOONS game. “Searching for exact ads was as simple as entering the ad’s text or URL into the search box, and ARC finds the ad in question — making it quite easy to catch specific ads,” says Damien. To block an ad, the team just needs to transfer the ad from the “unreviewed” tab to the “blocked” tab on their ARC dashboard.
We finally know with accuracy what ads are being served. With AdMob controls, we can block accounts and categories serving inappropriate ads at scale and across different languages. In case something inappropriate is served, the Ad Review Center makes it easy to find the ad in question and quickly block it and anything related to it.
More revenue, new markets
With AdMob, TutoTOONS now has the ability to deliver relevant ads at scale and easily manage the content appearing in their games. After nine months with AdMob rewarded and interstitial ads, the company’s ad revenue grew 20%. The team also saw overall fill rate increase by 30%. With better performing ads and a revenue increase, the team was able to diversify their revenue and move away from IAPs — with ad impressions more than doubling.
“We’re very happy with the ability AdMob gives us to scale to all our user markets. Being able to manage the ads that appear in our games has also been a crucial addition,” says Damien. “In our space, it is very important — for kids and for parents — to show child-friendly ads. AdMob has allowed us to do this easily.”
Building on the success they’ve had with AdMob, the TutoTOONS team has started to do user acquisition to grow their audience through Google UAC. “AdMob has been a great partner that has let us reach global markets with sustained, or improved, performance levels.” says Damien. “Solutions like these make it easier for us to focus on our main aim — to be the best kids games studio.”
Interested in taking your monetization strategy to the next level? Request a consultation with one of our AdMob specialists today.