By Alyssa Newcomb
March 13, 2019

Google released a new tool on Wednesday in Google AdMob, its mobile app monetization arm, that allows game makers to segment players, based on their likelihood of ever making an in-app purchase. Plenty of games, including Fortnite, are free, but rely on gamers to spend a few dollars on upgrades or gear.

With less than 4% of players making in-app purchases, that leaves developers turning to ads to generate revenue, according to a blog post from Sissie Hsiao, Google’s vice president of product for mobile app advertising.

“One way to increase overall revenue is through ads,” she said. “However, some developers worry that ads might hurt in-app purchase revenue by disrupting gameplay for players who do spend. What if you could just show ads to the players who aren’t going to spend in your app?”

That’s exactly what Google’s new tool will do, but with a bit of help from machine learning.

The tool will identify the gamers who are least likely to spend money in their games. Those players will then pay a price, by watching in-game advertisements that help developers still boost their revenue, even if players aren’t spending. Big spenders will left uninterrupted to continue playing, and hopefully spending money, in their favorite games.

Google also announced a plan to help developers re-target inactive players through a network of advertisements that, if all goes well, will encourage them to open their old apps and start playing.

Either way, gamers will have to pay a price, whether it’s by spending a few bucks for upgrades, or by letting their game play be interrupted with ads.

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