In recent months I’ve been working on integrating banner ads into the games in my HTML5 portfolio. Since late December 2012, I’ve been launching these ad-supported games with major publishers around the world. The monetization setup is simple: my banner ads are shown a percentage of the time, and the publisher’s ads are shown when mine aren’t. Normally the publisher gets the majority of the inventory because they are responsible for distributing the game, which can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
By sharing 60-70% of the ad impressions in this manner I can reach a massive global audience and make a profit at the same time.
During January 2013, my portfolio saw it’s first significant month of exposure in revenue share deals. A total of 259,865 mobile game sessions were initiated, and approximately 137,000 of my own ad impressions were served. This resulted in 11,786 clicks and generated USD $421.69 in revenue through my ad server, Leadbolt. However, while total revenue is the value most people will get caught up on, what really stood out to me was the total number of clicks.
Since the HTML5 games in my portfolio are designed for mobile devices, the vast majority of the advertisements shown were for native mobile applications, the likes of which you’d find on the App Store or Google Play. Imagine harnessing the power of HTML5 for native app promotion: showing a banner for your own game instead of an advertiser’s.
Sending 11,786 engaged users to any single native app’s store page within a month would be incredibly valuable. Remember, these users have clicked an ad which they found particularly appealing, so whether the game is free or paid it would definitely get a lot of new installations.
If your app was paid and cost $2.99, you’d make $2.09 per sale on the App Store after Apple’s 30% take. If only 5% of engaged users bought the game (a low estimate, in my opinion), you’d make around $1,231 in sales revenue from 11,786 visitors. Of course, this assumes all users would be using an iDevice, which they wouldn’t. But you could easily send Android users to your Google Play store page instead, and you could even filter other devices for other stores.
If your app was free, it’s likely you’d see exceptionally impressive install-rates. Since the users are coming from free HTML5 web applications in the first place they would favor free apps over paid apps.
The main consideration here is whether you’d make more money from promoting your own native apps, or from banner advertisements themselves. The $421.69 in revenue which my ads generated is not entirely accurate due to some technical issues I had to work through; this value should have been significantly higher, perhaps in the range of $600-$800. So currently, it’s difficult for me to estimate the true value of displaying ads in my HTML5 games portfolio as opposed to promoting a native app.
Later this year I will be creating some app store games, and having this type of promotional power behind me is quite an appealing prospect. The good news is, HTML5 games are quick and easy to make, and if used as a marketing tool in this manner they could be extremely effective for developers with minimal marketing budgets. If you’re having trouble on the app stores, try making a few quality HTML5 games and use them to promote your native applications.
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