The current mobile game developers are under incredible pressure from all sides. Shops are tightening product regulations, and users are spending less money on in-app purchases because they’re frustrated by the sheer number of ads in games. More than ever, mobile game developers need a more reliable way to make money. And audio ads, a new format for in-app advertising, could be the key. What exactly makes it so attractive to developers, Gamesforum tells.
Monetising during the game with audio ads
The hyper-casual mobile game genre has always been the hottest category in the mobile app market. They are relatively easy to develop, their gameplay is quickly engaging, and monetisation through advertising generates huge revenues for developers. The principle of advertising in this genre is incredibly simple: after completing each level, a full-screen advertisement awaited the player. This was the case until hyper-casual games became as competitive as possible, which caused the ads to take up more time than the gameplay itself.
As a result, certain changes have taken place that has led to the emergence of hybrid casual games. This format combines the simplicity of hyper-casual games’ gameplay with more complex playthrough mechanics, resulting in higher retention rates among players and a balance in monetisation, as developers want to generate revenue from their games as long as possible.
This is where audio ads serve as an alternative source of advertising: they play simply during gameplay, replacing the audio in the game itself, often accompanied by a small banner or icon on the screen. In essence, it does not distract players from the gameplay but instead helps developers monetise the immediate playing time. When implemented correctly, it evokes neutral feelings in users, and sometimes even increases retention.
A side note: The future of the hyper-casual games market
Audio advertising attracts brand ambassadors
The emergence of the hyper-casual segment was enabled by performance advertising – mainly from rival publications, which could “pull” the player out of the current session. It was essentially a war to hold the user’s attention.
Audio advertising, on the other hand, allows the developer to tap into another revenue source at the expense of brand advertising. Just as advertisers have had success from advertising on podcasts and music streaming services, in-game audio advertising is great real estate for brand campaigns. Mobile games give advertisers access to a mass audience that includes people of all ages, races and lifestyles.
Another reason why audio advertising could be the future of the mobile gaming industry is the increase in user attention to sound identity. It is essentially the sound that users associate with a particular brand. For example, just mention Nokia or McDonald’s, and you immediately have that same tune playing in your mind.
Audio advertising can develop this category even further. With the right positive emotions, brands can develop the right associations with players. For example, when opening a chest or receiving a bonus, a branded sound can be played, which is great to remember and helps raise awareness.
It’s also worth mentioning that audio advertising is the fastest-growing format at the moment. In 2022, revenue in this area reached $4.9 billion, and due to advertisers realising the potential of the gaming industry, that number will be many times higher next year.
The growth of audio advertising with musicians will be even more rapid
The list of advertisers is not limited to brands alone. Musicians also have a great opportunity to take advantage of this type of advertising in games, because gamers are a great, receptive audience, among whom there may be new fans of this or that music. Previously, music was tested in various projects (remember the radio stations in GTA), but it was a one-time action. Now the story is completely different.
This all adds up to an ideal environment for the development of audio advertising in games between 2023 and 2024. Developer studios are looking for ways to monetise their games without compromising user retention. Branded advertising is replacing old advertising. Audio continues to gain momentum and remains one of the fastest-growing areas.
All of this together means that both advertisers and mobile game developers should be paying a lot more attention to audio advertising.