A major challenge plaguing advertisers is to always ensure that they get the best value out of the ad space that they are buying. Advertisers want to ensure that users are always seeing their ads so that an ad impression has not gone waste, because a user missed it. In this regard, the Media Rating Council (MRC) last year said that a ‘viewable’ display ad is defined as one that is at least 50% percent visible on-screen for a minimum of one second.
This in theory means that even if an ad is served on your app, you stand to make money from it only if users actually see a part or whole of it on their screen for a second or more. Though for now, these guidelines are prescribed only for desktop-based ads, it won’t be too long before this trend comes to mobile and app publishers find themselves in a challenging situation.
However, we believe that if and when this does happen, game publishers are least likely to be impacted by viewability owing to the nature of mobile advertising when it comes mobile games.
Advertising in mobile games typically takes the interstitial, rewarded video, or the native route. With interstitial ads, the ad occupies almost the whole screen real estate, thus effectively killing the viewability argument at its base.
The very nature of rewarded video ads is such that it encourages engagement. In most cases, these ads also take up a significant space on the screen, which means there is no way the user will not view these ads. However, users still have the option to choose whether to engage with the ad or not, by virtue of which, the video ad impression stands served and viewed, again eliminating a viewability issue here.
Native ads in mobile games inherently blend in with the in-game experience making them highly immersive and engaging. Users are less likely to miss these ads as they appear to be a part of the game, and therefore viewability for these ads is almost instant.
The same holds true for banner ads used in games. If banner ads appear as a sticky ad on the screen, viewability won’t be an issue. As long as both these ads types are placed in such a way that they are always in the user’s viewport, viewability won’t be an issue.
Only in cases, where these appear as a part of the game experience in such a way that the ad unit appears in such a way that it moves along with the moving gameplay, there might be a chance that the user may miss it, especially if the ad moves past the frame too fast for the user to notice.
In such cases, game developers can ensure the placement of the ad unit is such that it appears at a point where the gameplay slows down enough for the user to not miss the ad. Furthermore, another good practice would be to have these ads appear at static parts of the game such as gameplay statistics, wherein the ad displays just above say for example, the level completion statistics. This way, it not increases the chance of users seeing the ad, but also engaging with it if they find it relevant.
Whatever the case may be, the viewability issue is waiting to crop its ugly head up for mobile app and game publishers. While it may not affect game publishers, it is always good to have an ad experience optimized in a way that it leads to greater user engagement.