+20% ARPU
word games
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+20% ARPU & Zero Impact on Retention – x3 Games Success

One of the most frequent questions of game studios and app publishers when reading these success stories is, “How applicable are these situations to me?”.
To show you how to take advantage of these case studies, we have replicated one of the previous success stories into 3 new games. We tested to what extent an aggressive ad monetization strategy could negatively impact user retention.
The results?
Negative Impact on Retention
Games tested
Our team of experts proved that anyone could boost the ARPU of in-app ads by tweaking the correct parameters in a monetization strategy: a process that usually scares even the most experienced game developers.
And in the process, we busted some myths in the mobile gaming industry.
Keep reading to know how you can do that too.

The Methodology

Mobile developers are often scared to test & modify their ad monetization strategies. They fear having a disastrous impact on their Retention Metrics.
To avoid disaster, before implementing new concepts and risky ideas in your monetization strategy, we highly recommend A/B testing them in a small user segment before propagating the changes.
The following Success Stories are proof that, sometimes, those fears are just “Witch Tales” & “Urban Myths”.
For each game, we created a small “test segment” and two “control segments” to test our hypothesis and compare the results on each mobile game. All A/B tests are based in the USA and executed in the current year.
We encourage you to be bold and test new things, features, and ideas… but first, be smart. Do NOT jeopardize your hard work. You have free A/B testing tools in your Appodeal dashboard that offer you a risk-averse alternative.

Pushing Ads early in the User Session destroys your Retention? Myth Busted! – Join Blocks’ Success

Every time a user launches Join Blocks, players get three minutes of uninterrupted gameplay without ads. Initially, this was planned to increase the retention rate. However, it was a lost opportunity to push more ads and earn more money.
The monetization experts at Appodeal put the ad setup to the test.
For a small test segment, they reduced the “time before sending the first interstitial after launching the game” to two minutes, instead of three.
The results are clearly visible in this table:
The ad ARPU of the “test segment” increased by +20% on average.
On the 9th day, the ARPU was boosted up to 40%.
With such a minor change, “test users” were watching +3 extra daily impressions.
And the retention rates?
Pushing more ads did NOT cause any negative impact on the retention rates. Not in the short-term, nor the whole 12 days of the A/B test.

Game tested: Join Blocks

NewPubCo designed Join Blocks out of love for casual games. The studio already had a few other successful mobile games, such as the million-making Spades game, or Top #3 Word Maker in the word games category.

Ads on FTUE increase Churn? Myth Busted! – Dominoes’ Success

We A/B tested for three weeks. The 10-minute delay was completely removed for a small cohort, and we started pushing ads to them after the very first round/level.
The results were contrasted with two other control groups.
The test segment showed significant improvement compared to the two control groups.
The test users were watching +3 extra daily impressions,
And the ARPUs increased by +10% on average.
Once again, we checked how a free-ad experience during FTUE (First Time User Experience) impacted the retention rates.
No negative changes in the retention rates between all three segments.

Game tested: Dominoes

Dominoes' monetization focused on in-app advertising, backed by in-app purchases. The audience is mainly from the USA, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, and other emerging markets. The app was launched in 2020 and has shown steady organic growth, secured by user acquisition.

Too many Ads Kill your Retention? Myth Busted! – Word Maker’s Success

When a user finishes a level on Word Maker, they get an interstitial ad. To avoid pushing “too many” ads, the ad setup included a limitation: a 2-minute break between interstitial ads.
Initially, limiting the "Interval between interstitials" was a measure to increase the retention rates. But… was it really effective?
The only way to know was through a 2-week A/B test. This time, the interval between interstitials for our test group was ZERO seconds. That was rad!
The performance of ad interstitials was efficiently overhauled:
The Ad ARPU increased up to +15%.
Users received +3 extra interstitials per day.
The CTR (click-through rate) was practically the same in all segments of the A/B test.
And once again the new ad monetization setup, suggested by Appodeal, has no negative impact on the retention rates.
Other retention metrics such as “Average User Daily Time (spent in the app)”, or “eARPU Forecast on 365 days” are neither affected by removing the “interval between interstitials” limitation.

Game tested: Word Maker

Word Maker is a mobile casual game with millions of installs all over the world. A few months after its release, and thanks to the Appodeal Accelerator Program, it became top #3 in one of the most competitive categories in Google Play: Word Games (Android, USA).

Next Steps after each Success (that you should do too)

After checking the results of all the previous A/B tests, the Appodeal monetization experts decided to propagate the new ad monetization setup on all these games.
Before going global, it’s always recommended to escalate progressively.
We applied the “test group” setup for the rest of the segments in the USA.
We were ready to replicate the success of the A/B test to a bigger audience, with similar player behaviors.
When we applied the configuration of the "test segment" to the "control" groups, their metrics rocketed too.

Replicating Ad Monetization Strategies (and reaping high profits!)

We have demonstrated with three different scenarios that tweaking a few values in your monetization strategy may not affect your retention rates. On the contrary, it is very likely possible that you will boost your ad revenues.
However, don’t take us for granted, and just try it for yourself. Mobile apps & games are complex products. What applies to other apps may not apply to you.
From Appodeal, we encourage you to put into A/B test assumptions that you may have heard in this industry. Don't get dragged by ghosts from the past.
We develop the tools, and our support team will gladly help you... but you must do the first step.
Vlad Gurgov Video
Vlad Gurgov, NewPubCo

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