Casual mobile games are some of the most popular apps on the app stores. They are easy for users to learn, and most are free. However, the category is becoming saturated, making it harder to compete and monetize. Some exciting new data sheds light on casual game monetization, and we’re breaking it down for you with insights.
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What Are Casual Mobile Games?
Casual games are as advertised—casual. They work on simple mechanics, aren’t time restrained, and have a flat learning curve. These attributes make them highly accessible, playable by anyone at any time. Because of this, they are popular across demographics and locations. They don’t require sophisticated coding by developers, so new releases hit the app stores all the time.
Casual Games See High Demand During Pandemic
Another reason the casual game category has seen surges is that people had more time at home. Sheltering at home was a boost for casual games, which saw a 45% increase year over year in 2020.
The State of Casual Games
Facebook Gaming recently published Genre and Great Games to break down casual mobile games. The report found that 49% of app downloads in the U.S. are for casual games, but revenue share is only .4%. The crux of the problem is engagement. The survey found that users play these games to destress but will abandon them if they are too repetitive, boring, or ads were too frequent.
The report also spoke about monetization. The two models for monetization are in-app ads and purchases. The survey of gamers found they prefer one 30-second ad in the course of 10 minutes versus more ads at shorter intervals. Even though ads can be annoying, most casual gamers are okay with them (79% of U.S. players said they’re open to them).
With these insights, how can you reconsider your monetization efforts?
In-App Ads: What Makes Them Successful?
You already know the frequency and length that users prefer. With 30 seconds to work with, ads can be much longer and more creative. Gamers don’t like constant interruptions, so go with this model. You’ll be using fewer ads, but because they are longer, you have more options.
It’s also a good idea to reward players for completing the action by leveraging a leading Reward Monetization Marketplace. It should deliver an exceptional native ad experience and high-performing ad units.
In-App Purchases: Getting Players to Spend
Casual gamers are the least likely to make an in-app purchase (IAP), at only 3.7% in the U.S. It’s not impossible. There are still opportunities you can leverage with specific features, such as:
- Generate excitement with “loot boxes,” which are virtual items that can help players in the game and require a purchase.
- Offer special bundle promotions, which combine several types of game needs like currency and other items. Players see the value in the deal.
- Promote boost items, which allow players to get through challenging levels. Developers, however, should be very cautious this doesn’t turn into a play to win situation.
Monetization Alternatives: Offerwalls
In many cases, monetization efforts require an alternative to in-app ads and purchases. Casual game developers rely on offerwalls. Offerwalls are non-intrusive and player-initiated, so it doesn’t feel like an ad to players. Basically, you offer players in-game currency as a reward for completing an action on the offerwall. Players will engage with these, especially if they are getting low on coins.
You can reward with more than in-game currency that players may deem more valuable. Things like more lives, health or experience points, and special currencies only available via offerwalls. Players can actually accelerate their game play by interacting with offerwalls, versus waiting for them during game play. Consider this strategy and ways to promote these offerings.
What offerwalls can deliver:
- Monetization of non-IAP players: Offerwalls provide a tangible way to monetize players that don’t make IAPs or engage with traditional ads like interstitials. Remember offerwalls aren’t really ads because users initiate them, which means they are likely to continue interacting with them.
- Customizable offerwalls to enhance the user experience.
- Reduce churn with loyal players who now have an easy way to gain more virtual currency or other rewards.
- Make it fun with gamification, allowing users to spin wheels, unlock surprises, or other interactive activities.
- Show users ads with rewards for trying new games.
Getting in the Game
Monetizing casual mobile games isn’t easy. It requires a strategic approach and expert guidance to make the most of your campaigns.