Monetization of the game web

Running a game web may seem to be an easy deal - just consider yourself - free game content including its hosting from game distribution services such as GameArter, cheap web and low operation costs thanks to Wordpress and its plugins intended for gaming websites, monetization available via classic ads - all you need is to get a traffic - e.g. via paid campaigns, SEO or referral. Getting users require direct (performance campaigns) or indirect (brand campaigns, SEO...) costs, so to make it work, there is a need to find a way to reach higher revenue per user than his acquisition cost. If you are interested in a mix of monetization channels you can use to achieve it, then read this article.

Ads

Ads are the most common way of web monetization. There are 3 basic ad revenue sources available for gaming websites.

1. On page ads

On-page ads are ads displayed directly on the web. The simplest implementation is in direct placing Google AdSense for Web (Display), AdSense for Games (Video) and Adsense for Search (Searching) into the webpage. Adsense for Web (Ads) and Adsense for Search is available for all websites meeting program policies for displaying ads after Google’s verification. Google Ads for games (video) are available since a certain number of monthly ad impressions, smaller websites can get this type of ads via 3rd party ad services.

Google Adsense is good starting point offering multiple powerful ad formats such as matched content, In-feed, In-article or Link ads or even auto ads. Classic Display ads may be replaced for ads from an ad exchange by using header bidding to maximize their revenue. Using of ad exchange for ads is more demanding compared to classic AdSense, fortunately there is an option to outsource it at specialized ad companies. Adsense ads then may be still used for unsold inventory.

In-game ads should be optimized in 3 layers - type, format and provider of ads to maximize fill-rate and revenue per 1 view, their position to achieve the highest possible rate of visible views and frequency to do not bother the user excessively. Looking for the right mix is the real alchemy, anyway there is usually findable result with the use of A/B testing and common sense.

Working around ads on the web never ends. New ad formats, new ad providers with an interest to advertise on your web, direct campaigns - it all require a certain amount of time to consider and alternatively add on web for test. Once a webmaster starts work with ads on a bit more complex way, manage all ad web spaces over Google Ad Manager becomes nearly must have thing.

2. In-game and In-video ads

In-game ads and in-video ads, usually in the form of video (interstitial) ads, are common part of nearly every game and video walkthrough provided by specialized services. Webmasters publishing games via game markets such as GameArter may get revenue share from all in-game ads displayed on their website as a reward of referred users into the game. The same applies also for video walkthroughs. These ads are fully managed by game / video publishers and webmasters have limited ways of their customization - they usually see read-only data of game / video performance on their website. More information including registration of a game promotion partner is available on page GameArter for Partners.

3. Off page ads

Off page ads are type of ads displayed in a tab or window out of the web itself. Sooner it was especially an ad loaded in a form of advertiser’s web in newly opened tab, today some services offer also ads displayed in push notifications. Advantage of push-up notifications is that once a user agrees with notification from the website, he can be targeted and monetized with ads even when do not visiting the page anymore. Personally we do not use any off-page ads on our websites for the reason of their annoying (new tabs) or misleading (push) format, but they may be interested for certain websites.

Affiliate

Affiliate is a performance campaign when a partner receives a reward for a referred user meeting certain key performance indicator (KPI) - such as registration or a purchase. While there is zero reward for bringing the user on advertiser’s website, reward for the user’s required action is usually far higher than reard for a click at PPC campaign. Affiliate ads may also be a good way for monetization of users blocking common ads with ad-blocker solutions.

1. Affiliate for games

Free to play as well as paid massively multiplayer online games either installable or playable right in the browser are very relevant content for players of small browser games - many players may have the desire to play a bigger game once in a while and this is a way to offer them it. Reward for registration / installation / purchase of a user in a such game vary on a country, starting with a few tens of cents and ending calmly above $10.

2. Affiliate for websites

Affiliate for websites is GameArter’s product via which webmasters can get a reward for every user referred at certain website and meeting certain criteria related to user behaviour there - e.g. spend certain time on the page. The advantage of this affiliate product is in high conversion rate due to no need to make hard actions (registration, purchase…), however, rewards for referred users are lower compared to affiliate programs for games.

3. Affiliate for services

Affiliate for services is GameArter’s affiliate service similar to Affiliate for games, only targeted for services. This affiliate service is designed for monetization of very specific audience, in a case of game web it may be a game developer. Hard KPI may be set for a registration / release of a first game / certain generated revenue and the reward for such referred user reflects the difficulty of getting such user and achieving of the target. Gaming websites have a great position for implementation of this service when with very low investment of adding a button “For developers” / “Submit a game” on their game web leading developers to GameArter may achieve very high rewards.

If you are interested in GameArter’s powered affiliate programs, check GameArter’s Affiliate.

Sale

Increasing web traffic and web value bring direct less traditional monetization options either of the web space or the web fans.

1. Sale of a web space for games

Is there some premium space on the web with high visibility? Instead of placing an ad or some top game there, you can consider to sell the space for displaying games which developers are willing to pay for such exclusive space. The benefit of this is self regulation - only very quality games are able to earn more than the cost of the space - thus there is very low risk of promotion bad games in this exclusive web space.

2. Sale of products and services

Or basically additional monetization of web fans. It does not matter whether you will add a post on the web, on a social site, send it via email or push notifications, even whether it is your or 3rd party product or service, the point is that the post generates you earnings.

3. Sale of articles

Backlinks are still an important part of SEO and there are many link builders willing to pay for getting a backlink from big quality websites.

4. Sale of web itself

It speaks for itself. When there is nothing more to monetize, you can use last monetization way - sell of the whole web.

4. Other sources

Games are a mass product with huge audience on many community streaming, video and other sites which you may use for your benefit. Services such as YouTube and Twitch offer great synergy of 2 things you need - brand awareness and extra monetization. Every video you will publish there may be recommended by the platform algorithms while every viewer get awareness about your website and bring you revenue from viewed ads on the platform at the same time.

Subscription

Until now, all monetization was generated by some kind of advertisers and partners, however, there is also a way to get money from your users directly - via a paid monthly subscription.

What next after the monetization?

The mix of monetization channels provides you a total revenue generated by your website. This number is nice for general overview, however, for effective work with it there are need 2 more steps - parsing it into multiple personas you work with in marketing and in connection with google analytics to get average revenue per 1 user of the persona. By this way you got a price you can pay for acquisition of 1 user of certain persona in your marketing.

Users acquisition prices are also main indicator of monetization management - once acquisition costs per 1 user grow above its generated revenue, there is need either increase revenue per 1 user of the persona, decrease acquisition cost or work with the user in the larger period of time, if it still makes sense.

Would you like to start maximize earnings of your website and work with them, but you need help? Then check our service for monetization management.

Did we miss some way? Let us know!

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