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Today, everyone is a gamer. With smartphones as a constant companion, consumers have easy access to all kinds of mobile apps – and they love to play games. From puzzles, casino, arcade and adventure games, they play whenever they have a free moment. According to AppFigures, in 2014, games was the fastest-growing category in the Google Play Store.

As a developer, understanding why people choose to interact with certain games is the key to success. Understanding this behavior can be the difference between a hit game or a download dud. Let’s take a look at some of the latest industry trends we’re seeing.

How users discover new apps
According to a recent survey with Google/Ipsos, Consumer Mobile Apps Study in 2014, 27% of smartphone app users rely on search engines to find a new app. Search advertising is a key way for you to get your apps discovered and grow your audience.

Why users download games
There are various reasons why someone might download a new game. But according to the same survey, 60% of gaming app users downloaded a gaming app simply because it sounded interesting and fun. Engaging app listings and positive reviews will help you capture their attention.

Why users try games
Consumers love getting things for free. We found that 67% of gaming app users prefer free games supported by ads, rather than paying to download the app. They also love their snack-sized entertainment, with 78% playing games simply to kill time.

Why users stop playing
On the flip side, 61% of game app users say that the reason they quit an app is because they’ve lost interest in it, with 58% of game app users going so far as to uninstall the app after it fails to hold their attention.

Use analytics to help you understand the consumer’s experience in your app – are they experiencing crashes, getting stuck at a certain level, or is something interrupting the flow of the game – so you can give them a better experience and keep them coming back.

We’ve compiled these stats and insights in this easy-to-share infographic below. Also, you can visit www.google.com/admob to learn more about our integration with Google Analytics in AdMob to monetize intelligently.
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Posted by Desiree Motamedi
Product Marketing, AdMob

Research Methodology - Google/Ipsos, Consumer Mobile Apps Study, 2014
Google partnered with Ipsos MediaCT on the Mobile Apps Consumer Research to uncover consumer smartphone app acquisition and usage behaviors. Online survey was conducted Sep. 12-22, 2014 among 8,470 smartphone users aged 18-64 who have used any smartphone apps in the past 7 days and have used Entertainment, Finance, Gaming, Local, Retail, Social, Tech, or Travel apps in the past 30 days.

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Today, at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), we’re announcing three important updates to AdMob that will help developers build a smart monetization experience, and to help marketers reach the right users. We believe the best kind of in-app monetization experiences are the ones customized to individual app users, not a one-size-fits-all approach. Our vision for AdMob is to build a smart platform that makes such a tailored approach possible, or as we like to say, one that’s ‘audience aware’.
  • AdMob In-App Purchase House Ads are a free, new format that can completely change how you think about your in-app purchase monetization strategy. You can use this format to create a customized ad to promote items to sell to your users, then AdMob’s audience-aware platform will predict those users who are likely to buy, and show them the ad. For all your other users - the ones unlikely to spend - AdMob can show them a regular ad. This approach means you can keep your high-value users engaged in your app, and for everyone else you’re making each impression count towards monetization. Currently in beta, this feature will be coming to all AdMob accounts in the next few weeks.
  • Audience Builder is a powerful tool in AdMob that enables you to create lists of audiences based on how people use your app and then create customized experiences for users, ultimately growing your app revenue. For example, you could create an Audience List that defines those users who have not used your app in 14 days. Import that list into Google AdWords, and you can show ads to this list to re-engage users while they’re in other apps, or across the web. Audience Builder is available in all AdMob accounts now, and you can find out how to get started here.
  • AdMob Native Ads are now in limited beta on the AdMob platform. Participating developers will be able to show native ads in their app from Google advertisers, and customize them to match both the form and function of their app. We pay close attention to user experience, so our native ads are designed to be clearly identifiable as ads to users. We’re thrilled to be working closely with Atari to bring native ads to RollerCoaster Tycoon® 4 Mobile; check out the screenshot below with an app install ad for Zagat:
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  • The user-friendly focus of native ads was an important consideration for Atari’s Chief Operating Officer, Todd Shallbetter: ‘Atari creates great game experiences for our broad audience. We're happy to be partnering with Google and be the first games company to take part in the native ads beta and help monetize games in a way that enhances our users' experience.'
  • We’re testing native ads on non-gaming apps, too, partnering with developers globally, including CocoPPa in Japan.
These new features in AdMob can provide you with many new ways to supercharge your monetization. You can find out more about them on the AdMob website.

If you’re going to be at GDC, don’t miss my talk on Thursday, ‘Smart Strategies to Acquire, Retain and Monetize Gamers,’ where I’ll be discussing these new features. And if you can’t attend, check out our live sharing on Google+ and Twitter to stay in the loop with what’s happening with #MeetAdMob.










Posted by Jonathan Alferness
Director of Product Management and Global Lead 
for Mobile Display Ads and AdMob

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Are you prepared for the huge mobile development conferences happening around the world next week? The Google AdMob team is excited to attend both the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. If you’re attending either event, be sure to visit our booth. We’d love to hear about your app and share ways that you could supercharge monetization with AdMob.

At Mobile World Congress, we’ll be at the Google booth with our colleagues from the Cloud Platform and Adwords teams, other great services that can help you build and grow your app. There’ll also be several exciting Google talks including a keynote from Senior Vice President, for Android, Chrome & Apps, Sundar Pichai, and a panel discussion with Senior Director for YouTube, Stephen Nuttall.

At the Game Developers Conference, we’ll be at the Google booth with Project Tango, Niantic Project, Cardboard, Analytics, AdWords and Cloud Platform. There will be tons of interactive demos and on-site consultations that you won’t want to miss.

We’ll also be hosting a session at GDC called Smart Strategies to Acquire, Monetize and Retain Gamers. This talk will be by Director of Product Management for Mobile Ads, Jonathan Alferness, and Google’s Lead Product Manager for Google Analytics and Mobile Apps, Russell Ketchum. See all the details about our Google Developer Day here and check out all the other Google talks on the GDC scheduler.

If you can’t attend either event this year, we’ll be live tweeting and sharing on Google+ and Twitter, so stay in the loop with what’s happening with #MeetAdMob. Also, you can still check out our morning talks from GDC on our livestream at g.co/dev/gdc-livestream.

Posted by the Google AdMob Team

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The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is less than one week away in San Francisco. This year Google will host our annual Developer Day at West Hall and be on the Expo floor in booth #502. We’re excited to give you a glimpse into how we are helping mobile game developers build successful businesses and improve user experiences.

Our Developer Day will take place in Room 2006 of the West Hall of Moscone Center on Monday, March 2. We're keeping the content action-oriented with a few presentations and lightning talks, followed by a full afternoon of hands on hacking with Google engineers. Here’s a look at the schedule:

Opening Keynote || 10AM: We’ll kick off the day by sharing to make your games more successful with Google. You’ll hear about new platforms, new tools to make development easier, and ways to measure your mobile games and monetize them.

Running A Successful Games Business with Google || 10:30AM: Next we’ll hear from Bob Meese, the Global Head of Games Business Development from Google Play, who’ll offer some key pointers on how to make sure you're best taking advantage of unique tools on Google Play to grow your business effectively.

Lightning Talks || 11:15AM: Ready to absorb all the opportunities Google has to offer your game business? These quick, 5-minute talks will cover everything from FlatBuffers to Google Cast to data interpolation. To keep us on track, a gong may be involved.

Code Labs || 1:30PM: After lunch, we’ll turn the room into a classroom setting where you can participate in a number of self-guided code labs focused on leveraging Analytics, Google Play game services, Firebase and VR with Cardboard. These Code Labs are completely self-paced and will be available throughout the afternoon. If you want admission to the code labs earlier, sign up for Priority Access here!

Also, be sure to check out the Google booth on the Expo floor to get hands on experiences with Project Tango, Niantic Labs and Cardboard starting on Wednesday, March 4. Teams from AdWords, Analytics, Cloud Platform, Firebase and AdMob will also be available to answer any of your product questions.

For more information on our presence at GDC, including a full list of our talks and speaker details, please visit g.co/dev/gdc2015. Please note that these events are part of the official Game Developer's Conference, so you will need a pass to attend. If you can't attend GDC in person, you can still check out our morning talks on our livestream at g.co/dev/gdc-livestream. We’ll also be live tweeting and sharing on Google+, so stay in the loop with what’s happening with #MeetAdMob.

Posted by the Google AdMob Team. 

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Lowdown is a weekly series that brings you tips and tricks on how to best use AdMob to grow your app business, directly from members of the Google AdMob team.

Optimizing your mediation setup will help you get the highest CPMs from the ad placements in your app. Last week, I covered how to use dynamic, real time competition (the Live CPM feature) to increase your chances of higher CPMs. If you haven’t done so, make sure to read through that article for a clear explanation of what mediation is and how to enable Live CPM. This week I’ll go over two more strategies that will further enhance your competitive setup.

Regularly Update Your CPM Assignments

Make sure to update the CPM you assign for each of the ad networks in your mediation stack once every 10-14 days. Advertising network CPMs fluctuate over time. You want to be certain that the CPM you assigned for each network isn’t inaccurately high, causing you to settle for lower CPMs. Also, plan for your 10-14 day cycles to land on the first of every month, when advertiser’s usually reset their budgets.

Segment Your Assigned CPM Values

To further intensify competition, segment your assigned CPM values based on geography. Impressions from different geographic locations can differ in value. Many developers will calculate a unique value for their most profitable regions and do a separate calculation for their Rest of World (ROW) inventory.

To better understand how to segment by geography and increase the accuracy of your competitive setup, let’s use a real world app example. Imagine you’ve developed an app that’s very popular in Japan and in the US. When analyzing your mediation stack, it might be interesting to segment Japan and the US from the rest of the world and calculate the average CPM for each bucket. After doing so, you realized that one of your 3rd party advertising networks delivers $2 CPMs on average, but US and Japanese CPMs average $2.50 while the Rest of World CPM is $1.50. Instead of using the world average of $2.00, where AdMob would only need to beat $2.00 to serve a US and Japan impression, AdMob must now beat $2.50 to serve. Segmentation by geography brought precision to your competition, yielding potentially higher earnings.

For more detailed instruction on mediation in AdMob, be sure to visit our Help Center. In the next edition of Lowdown, we’ll be looking at how you can begin to calculate the value of each user using Google Analytics. Until next time, be sure to stay connected on all things AdMob by following our Google+ page.







Posted by Adam Wolf
AdMob Account Strategist

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Want to make smarter choices to improve your app’s user experience and grow your business? Learn from successful app developers by taking a look at the decisions they’ve made in their apps in our new App Spotlight Video Series. This series offers in-depth walkthroughs of great apps, highlighting practical tips and tricks. Our first video features PicsArt, a photo sharing app that’s recently reported over 200M downloads. Stay tuned for more App Spotlight videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel and following us on Google+.
Posted by the Google AdMob Team

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Lowdown is a weekly series that brings you tips and tricks on how to best use AdMob to grow your app business, directly from members of the Google AdMob team.

A key goal for many app developers is to maximize revenue. If you monetize with multiple ad networks, you'll know that some have fluctuating CPMs and fill rates. AdMob mediation can help you determine the most valuable ad to serve in your app, and AdMob can help you determine which ads to serve.

Today, we’re going to dive deeper into how our mediation platform works and introduce an optimization strategy that may increase your app’s revenue–enabling a feature called Live CPM. The best way to understand this feature is to first understand how basic mediation works.

Mediation

AdMob is a robust mobile ads platform that includes mediation–allowing you to serve ad impressions from multiple 3rd party networks, your own house ads, and Google’s advertising inventory. With basic mediation, you’re required to rank all of the ad networks you use, assigning a predicted CPM for each one. When it’s time to serve an ad, the mediation platform will first make a request to the network you’ve ranked as number 1. If that network doesn’t serve an ad, it will make a request to your second-ranked network. It will continue down your list until an ad is served. Although helpful, this setup is unsophisticated. It doesn’t matter if network 2 or 3 is able to pay you a higher CPM, you’ve already committed yourself to the fixed ranking, and there’s a better way to increase revenue.
Mediation with Live CPM

In contrast, when the Live CPM feature is enabled, you increase your chances of higher CPMs with real time, dynamic competition. When it’s time to serve an ad in your app, Google’s advertising demand will provide its most valuable CPM, and compare this to the CPM you’ve assigned for your first-ranked network. Whichever network has a higher CPM will get the impression.
If your first-ranked network wins, but is unable to fill the impression, the process will repeat with the next-ranked network in your chain. This all happens in real time.

When enabling Live CPM, the initial results can be startling. Without it, you’re much more likely to miss your next network’s top tier demand. With it, your set-up is dynamic and top tier impressions from both AdMob and your other networks can be served. If you’d like to learn more, check out our case study on how Thapster, a smartphone music game app, succeeded with Live CPM and visit our Help Center to get more in-depth instructions on how to implement it.

In the next edition of Lowdown we’ll be looking at how you can further optimize Live CPM. Be sure to stay connected on all things AdMob by following our Google+ page.







Posted by Adam Wolf
AdMob Account Strategist