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Rethinking Banner Ads Myths vs Reality

Rethinking Banner Ads: Myths vs Reality

With 2022 almost here, it is the perfect time for game developers to analyze what worked, what didn’t and make plans so their games become better and better. Monetization is a major part of this. No matter if you are a small or big developer, there are always ways your strategy can be improved to increase your revenue.

Of the three major ad types most mobile game developers depend on—banners, interstitials, and rewarded videos— the latter two typically generate the bulk of a game’s revenue. They may get all the love, but banner ads are an important tool, too, and shouldn’t be ignored.  There are some long standing biases towards banners from many in the development community: let’s take an objective look to sort facts from bad press.


Bias #1: Banners Ads Are Disruptive 

One of the most common misconceptions is that banners are highly disruptive to the user experience. However, it’s not fair to banners to say they cause bad UX; the ugly truth is it’s developers who create bad UX for their users with banners. 

Some classic examples include banners covering UI elements, banners popping up in the middle of game play, or adding too many to the screen, completely taking players out of an immersive game play experience. However, while all the above can be issues with banners when used poorly, interstitials are actually the more disruptive ad type, since when they show the whole game is interrupted.

By contrast, when used well, banners can actually feel almost pleasant in the game play experience. For example, medium rectangle banners on pause screens, victory screens, and game over screens give players something else to consider in case they are bored. Similarly, smart banners can add considerably to landscape games, reminding players to check out something they may want to consider later without compromising gameplay.  


Bias #2:  Banners Don’t Generate Meaningful Revenue

Another persistent belief about banners is that they don’t generate enough revenue to be worth using, but they can contribute an average eCPM of $0.50, which can translate to $500 or more if a developer gets over a million banner impressions in a month. In addition, some banner types can even deliver a higher eCPM, and more revenue. As an example, adaptive banners have a 20% higher eCPM, putting them up there with interstitials in terms of revenue.

Finally, it’s worth noting that there’s often at least a positive causal relationship between the presence of banners and the purchase of IAP to get rid of advertising in a game. While it’s always important to test what’s true for your game,  you’re potentially leaving IAP money on the table if you completely ignore them.


Bias #3: Banners Fill Rate Is Low

That being said, this last bias has a kernel of truth in it for one particular scenario: non-standard banner sizes. For those not familiar, non-standard banner sizes are any banner sizes other than 320×50.

Why do these other banner sizes have a somewhat lower fill rate? The reason differs by size.

320 x 100, for example, is only served by Admob , and this means a slightly lower overall fill rate. 

Finally, medium rectangle banners are only supported by Admob and FAN, again lowering fill rate slightly.

Overall though, the fill rate for these other sizes is only nominally lower, and a savvy ad monetization solution can still help developers get the maximum fill rate from these banner sizes.


A Balanced Ad Strategy

Like most things in life, the key to great ad monetization is balance, and banners definitely have a place in a balanced ad strategy. 

The key is to use a great ad monetization partner that makes sure you are getting the most out of the banner ad type. Yodo1’s top-performing mobile game monetization SDK, Managed Ad Services (MAS) 4.4, now includes all of the above-mentioned five banner sizes, giving you even more choices. 

Take advantage of our Holiday Welcome Bonus and get $25 today when you release your first game using MAS. This offer is valid until December 31, 2021, so sign up today and see how much a service that favors developers can increase your bottom line.