Ads for web games

Ads for web games
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Recently, I found the following question in one Facebook group and surprised me 2 main things:

  1. No success in searching of web-based ads for games
  2. Low knowledge about web-based ads for games

Hey I have searched all over before and gave up.. But now I want to try again! :P I want to use ad monetization in a webGL game. All the information I find for it is regarding mobile development and from what I found there is no package ready for webGL ads.
Random question in a facebook group

So, let’s me summary all you need to know about web (browser) ads for games

Monetization of web (WebGL / HTML) games with ads

Classic ad solutions well known from mobile games such as Admob, Unity ads, Applovein, Inmobi and others are focused purely on mobile and do not work on the web. For web games, there is a need to use different ad provider, fortunately, there is a bunch of them. What just developers need to realize, that their implementation, ad formats, policies for displaying ads or overall performance and revenues of these ads may vary from what they are used from mobile.

Implementation of web ads

Implementation of web ads for games is very simple. Usually, every provider of ads offer some kind of SDK which a developer just need to add or at least connect with his game. To demonstrate the simplicity, check example implementation of in-game ads just in 4 minutes in the following video

Revenue from in-game web ads

Creations of ads displayed in a web game and mobile games are substantially different, as well as their performance and revenue. By the nature of things and performance, mobile ads usually display creatives for other apps, only such ads are relevant and do not bother the player, especially if he has moreover a reward for their watching. Advertisers usually do not buy such ad space for other products due to low performance. On the other hand, there exist recommendations to except games also from target of marketing campaign on the web.

In mobile games, we are used to use fullscreen, banner and rewarded ad formats. On the web, it is a bit complicated, because by using standard ad networks there is an option to display only fullscreen (interstitial) ads known as “ads for games” (AFG). These ads are available e.g. via Adsense for accounts with high ad impressions and beginning developers have nearly no chance to achieve them. However, good message for all these developers - even many these accounts with access to this format do not use it - they use more complicated solutions such as ad-exchange and header bidding to reach better results - but achieve this is yet more difficult than getting access to Adsense for games.

Anyway, the point is, that developer does not need neither of that. He can use ads for games as a service from some company focused at this type of ads - and there are many of them. To be honest, they are also used by GameArter ad service, which connect multiple of them to use all the benefits and maximum efficiency. If you are interested for a real CPMs you can achieve by displaying classic full screen 15 seconds long skippable ads in individual countries, you can check CPM generated by gamearter. They are public in CPMs section available after free sign up.

Ad formats available for web games

Ad formats highly vary on a provider of an ad. If an ad provider sells ad space directly, there is possible to use any ad formats which an advertiser enables, however, most ads worldwide go over Google which is the easiest way of buying and selling ad spaces. Such ads and their placements need to fill general policies for displaying ads and policies for AFG.

Shortly, ad formats, ad units, minimum space from other content, where an ad can be displayed, where not, in what frequency and how - all is defined and must be respected, although most games violate it.

Every service offering ads for games on the web usually offer one standard format of ads which are classic pre-roll and mid-roll video ads.If a developer wish to sue a different format, there is a need to ask the one who provides him the ad service, whether such ad type is available and such its implementation is in accordance with the network conditions.

Bring you to the topic, I will give here an example of usage rewarded ads on web

  • There is a policy issue using AFG as rewarded ads.
  • Rewarded ads are delivered only by Admob and only to mobile devices
  • There is no type of rewarded ad for desktop users
  • When the advertiser picks "rewarded ad" from the system when he pays for ads, he expects his ad is delivered through mobile apps Furthermore, is forbidden by Adsense policy to give the user an option to trigger ad display with a button / link etc

However, there is still possible to use rewarded ads on the web, by following way:

  • These ads are intended for mobile devices ( smartphones and tablets ) - Not PC
  • During our latest tests their CPMs was very very low
  • It is a special type of ads for which you need to have access - it is not classic ads

So, if some provider offer you option to use rewarded ads on PC web, verify that he has directly purchased ads or some side type of ads which allow that. Because if it would not be true, then you participate on a fraud at advertisers.

How to recognize what ads are used in a game?

There is possible to recognize only ad type, but usually not an ad provider (ad network), if it is not signatured e.g. in the console. However, what is recognizable quite easily, it's provider of ad solution for running ads (ad player). In many cases, provider of ads is also provider of a solution for displaying them. This provider is usually marked somewhere (console, code, label after right mouse click).

If you are looking for the right ad provider, do not forget to be interested in a behaviour of this solution in a case of blocked ads (adblocked solution in the browser, missing ads.txt, sandbox paramater etc.) Some providers have alternative monetization for this case (for example GameArter uses affiliate ads), some not.

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