The above is a photo from a game we recently reviewed, Hoverdroid 3D: RC Hovercraft and it's a prime example of how to use advertizing in an Android game well. If you're new to app development, or you have a project that's just getting off the ground, then you'll need to make some money. After all, this is something that's taken you weeks and months of time on, even more if it's your first game or app and it's understandable that you want to see some sort of a return on your hard work. One of the easiest ways to do this is to opt for advertising inside of your app or game. That way, you can keep your title free for people to download, and you earn a little money back for your hard work. Knowing where to start and how to see what an ad would like in person is pretty difficult, then there's the pros and cons of too much advertizing versus too little advertizing. Users don't like ads, but then again they don't like paying for an app or game upfront much either, so there's a line to be drawn, and you need to find the balance.
Luckily, Google has a lot of information on just where to get started with monetizing your application, specifically advertizing. If you're worried that following instructions from Google means you'll be pushed into AdWords or something directly from Google, that's not the case. You can the advice from this guide in order to use whichever advertizing network you like, giving you freedom and flexibility with your app or game. The guide I'm talking about is this one, it'll help you set up a Publisher Account and get started with the AD SDK and how to place ads within your app, and more importantly how to preview them.
There are a number of app monetization models out there, and using ads in your app or game is one of the most attractive options out there, but there's a balance you need to strike. Lots of ads sounds great as it'll get you more money per user, but if these users don't like your approach to ads and they quit using your app, then the point of including so many ads will have failed. Too few ads and you won't see much of a return on your hard work and effort. It also depends on which sort of app you're trying to monetize, too. How ads effect the experience in your game or app can differ, below are some key points to remember.
Things to remember when trying to monetize an Android game:
- Players don't want to be interrupted mid-game, so never choose ads that appear fullscreen and keep ads that appear at the top or bottom of the display to a minimum.
- Use that loading screen! Throw up an ad in your loading screen to keep ads away from the main gameplay and makes the most of otherwise useless waiting times.
- Ads at the end of a game or level are a great place to put an ad, you're more likely to gain a click this way and players are more understanding if an ad doesn't get in their way.
- Video ads that make players wait 5 seconds to replay a level or play again might make you more money, but they might put users off as well.
Things to remember when designing an Android app:
- Keep your ads neutral or relevant; if your app isn't a dating app, users don't want to see ads for dating sites!
- Steer clear of intrusive ads like those from airpush, users will often think poorly about your app if it ruins their overall smartphone experience with popup ads even when they're not using your app.
- Ads at the top of the display work better than anywhere else. A lot of Android devices have their software buttons at the bottom of the display, and if users click an ad by accident they might become frustrated.
- Try to keep your ads as small as possible, big ads and more of them might get you more money, but so will a willing userbase happy to stick with you and use your app often.