The Anzu team recently sat down with Orhun Mert Simsek, Co-Founder of APPS, the mobile game development company responsible for some of the most popular mobile games, including Carpet Roller, Fashion Battle, and Trivia Race 3D to speak about the success they’ve seen from implementing in-game ads. You can find the related interview down below.
Q: What does APPS do?
We develop mobile games, primarily hypercasual games nowadays. The whole company has an engineering mindset, and we ensure everyone in the team has a chance to contribute to new games, inner tools, and new product ideas.
We’ve always aimed to create a great work environment to enable fast learning and open, communicative, and self-leading co-workers. We’re also highly adaptive and agile and are always looking for ideas and technology that can help us improve the experiences we create for our players.
Q: Why did you decide to implement in-game ads?
We always aim to put our players first, above everything we do, and to improve our games based on their feedback, we needed a way to fund our work. However, we didn’t want to compromise on the gameplay, nor did we want to charge players for playing our games.
We first met the Anzu team at the virtual PG Connects Helsinki event last year, and I thought their technology sounded incredibly exciting. In addition, I loved their focus on putting gamers first, which perfectly aligns with our company’s values.
After hearing about Anzu’s in-game advertising formats, bringing them on board was a no-brainer as they don’t interrupt the flow of our experiences, are not clickable, so they don’t take players away, and they add a sense of realism to our games by appearing on posters and banners which sit alongside our tracks, much like they would in the real world.
A bonus is that we can also use them to cross-promote different games from our offering, especially when we launch a new title or we implement a big update – this is a really cool way to communicate with our audience that feels natural and non-intrusive.
We initially tested Anzu’s in-game ads out in one of our games called Trivia Race. After seeing the fantastic results and hearing positive feedback from our players, we implemented them in another game called Carpet Roller and are now working on bringing them to our most popular game Fashion Battle.
Q: Were the ads easy to integrate?
When a new SDK is added, it often causes collisions with others. However, the Anzu team was on hand at every stage of the implementation process. Their fast response times and overall support were extremely helpful in getting us up and running as quickly as possible.
Anzu also gave us some great advice on what placements to add and, over time, helped us optimize them to ensure they were in the best possible positions to be viewed by our players, resulting in even more revenue.
Q: What success have you seen?
Anzu has helped increase our in-game ads revenue by 131%, with them now making up between 5-10% of our total monthly revenue.
Part of this growth comes from some countries where we did not initially see much movement. However, after implementing Anzu’s technology, revenues began soaring, and in-game ads now make up more than 50% of our monthly income in several different locations.
We’ve also had really positive feedback from our players on them, with many either liking the sense of realism that they add or not even noticing them at all as they naturally feel part of the experience.
Anzu also helped us implement video ads for the first time, which have performed really well and had a big impact on our overall in-game ad revenue.
It was also really easy to start making additional revenue as soon as everything was implemented as Anzu manage all the deals and optimization of the ads from their end.
Q: TCF 2.0 gives publishers greater control and flexibility for how they integrate and collaborate with their technology partners with the ability to restrict the purposes for which personal data is processed on a per-vendor basis. What impact has implementing the TCF 2.0 framework had on your games?
This was something that the Anzu team recommended doing, and I’m glad we did, as it has allowed us to open our games up to even more brands and agencies across Europe.
Our EU revenue before adding TCF 2.0 at the beginning of 2021 was between 1-5%. After implementing it now makes up 20-23%!
With Anzu’s help, we have also welcomed ads from advertisers across the globe, offering them global reach, with our top geos including the US, UK, France, Canada, and Australia.
Q: Did you hear any feedback or witness any gameplay behavior changes from players?
We are regularly in touch with our community of gamers and haven’t had any negative feedback from them since we added the in-game ads, making me believe that they are a natural fit within our games.
To take this a step further we ran several A/B tests to see how well in-game ads worked in comparison to interstitials. The exposed group of gamers played our games with in-game ads and the control group with interstitials. The experiment revealed that the control group saw lower retention rates while the exposed group was not affected reinforcing the fact that Anzu’s in-game formats perfectly suit our games.
Q: What would you say to another studio thinking about using in-game ads to monetize their games?
I would recommend in-game ads as, like I previously mentioned, they do not interrupt the experience or send users away. Also, if you are unsure where the ads will work best in your games, Anzu is excellent in providing recommendations and advice because the team has learned from years of experience.
We took their advice to begin with and have then been A/B testing different areas, times, and placements to see what works best. This optimization process is worth it as it has helped us figure out precisely what locations work best to ensure we optimize the placements for optimum revenue.