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An Introduction to Mobile Gaming Ads

When we talk with our game developers we find that they are often very passionate about two things.

  1. Creating new and exciting games
  2. that are played by as many people as possible, potentially generating a significant source of income for them.

Yet for many developers, they really want to focus on the former more than the latter. They prefer to spend time tweaking their game to perfect the design and create seamless addictive game play. Naturally, they are not as interested in marketing, analytics and advertising.

At Coda, we have worked to automate as many of those processes as possible. By allowing developers to spend the majority of their time on what they do best, the industry can expect a higher caliber and broader umbrella of games.

The Coda SDK includes key integrations in a compact & lightweight package

We have developed an SDK that includes everything developers need to bring their game to market. We intend to make creating a successful game as simple as possible for developers. Part of our package is a monetisation solution which has MoPub as the mediation layer and includes access to 15 ad networks including AdMob, Ironsource, Facebook Audience Network, Vungle and Unity plugged in. 

We are convinced that there are significant revenue-generating opportunities for developers. In a survey undertaken before the Covid19 crisis the global mobile gaming market was projected to be worth $174 billion by 2021 (for context global movie box office in 2018 was $41.7 billion). The growth in game play during the crisis, Adjust reported a whopping 75% increase in mobile game downloads globally in Q1 2020, as well as a 47% increase in user session times, could make that figure even higher.

We believe that games should be monetised in a way that not only generates the most income for the developer, but also crucially doesn't detract too much from the gaming experience.

This wasn't always the case. Until about five years ago mobile gaming ad formats tended to be static display formats. This has changed in recent years as new formats, invariably video-based, have been introduced. In some ways the pace of innovation has now slowed. But what we are seeing is a consolidation of the key formats. So which are the key mobile ad formats in mobile gaming? 

Rewarded Ads

Rewarded ads are a clever way of encouraging game players to watch videos. Essentially the game players are incentivised to watch a video and if they do so are gifted extra lives, additional items, increased functionality and so on.

From a developer’s perspective Rewarded ads are often perceived to be an ideal format as while they do interrupt game play, they don't actually take the gamer away from the game. In fact they can work positively for the game developer in increasing loyalty and engagement. They can also highlight the most loyal gamers. A study carried out recently by indie publisher Kongregate found that people who watched an ad in their very first session are 2.5 to 5 times more likely to make subsequent in-app purchases. 

From a gamer’s perspective Rewarded video allows users to control when and how they receive ads. It is arguably a transparent and respectful way to deliver ads which at the same time has clear benefits for the gamer.

Interstitial full screen ads

Interstitial ads have been a feature of gaming for a while. This is when full screen ads are shown. There are some ads that are static, but today many are video-based. Video is the most popular format for online advertising so not surprisingly it features in mobile gaming.The key thing about video ads is their placement. They need to be inserted into a game at the correct and appropriate time. This is especially true as interstitial full screen ads are very popular and are limited to being deployed at the start of the game or at another point such as the end of a level or the end of a game.


Traditional banner ads are a long term staple of games advertising. They remain on the screen within the app’s layout while the user is interacting with an app. They often include a combination of static/animated images and/or text.  

Playable Ads

Playable ads essentially offer gamers a taste of another game invariably with a "try the gameplay,” featured button. Once they have clicked on a button the user has the chance to play a demo version of the game, or specifically a single game play mechanic. Examples include a single basic challenge from a larger puzzle game or a single scene from an interactive storytelling game. Playable ads are often introduced by a brief lead-in video which presents a game demo which typically lasts for a number of seconds and then moves on to a ‘Call to Action’ link. If they like the sample of the game users then they visit the app store (it obviously is well suited to both Apple and iOS platforms) and download the game. 

The jury is still out on Playable ads, and they are not popular with everyone. One tactic, for example, that some ad companies use is to automatically direct the user to the app stores if they don’t click on anything. 

There are however ad networks committed to using them in an ethical way and it will be interesting to see how they develop in the coming years. We use them at Coda to encourage people to play games from our studios.

Ultimately we want game creators to worry about the things that they are good at resolving and leave the rest to us. In saying this, we also encourage developers to gain a base understanding of the in-game advertisements likely to appear in your game. While you may not have to worry about managing monetization, knowing where and how these ads will appear can help you to create a more seamless user experience for the player and in turn have them spend longer time in your game. If you’ve got a quality game concept and would like to see it published with monetization and marketing covered by an expert team at Coda, submit your game today with us on the Coda Platform.

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