Direct sales - the way to increase eCPM

At Casual Connect in Seattle, venture entrepreneur Tim Chang said that “If content is king, then advertising is an All–powerful God.” It doesn’t matter how high-quality your application is, how high its customer retention rate is. None of this matters if users don’t know about your app. 

In other words, it all comes down to advertising. And, as everyone well knows, the best advertising, the most effective is advertising on the device itself, or rather in applications, but, as Claire Teter and Pepe Agell from Chartboost write in the summer issue of Casual Connect, and here everything is not so simple.  

They reduce all the variety of advertising strategies to three key areas:

Internal cross-promotion

This is the promotion of new titles among users using existing games. Similar services are offered by Chartboost, Playhaven and AdWhirl. In addition, a large number of publishers and developers use their internal developments for cross-promotion.

Advertising network

The essence of interaction with the advertising network is reduced to buying or selling traffic through advertising networks, where advertising is randomly shown to users. Many companies are engaged in this, offering to pay for services both for clicks and for installations. Among such companies: Admob, Flurry, Tapjoy and others.

Direct sales

This is a new trend that is becoming more and more popular among developers. It consists in buying or selling an advertising space directly between developers without involving any advertising network that holds 50% of the profit. Until recently, this method was resorted to only by a narrow circle of companies using either their own technologies or . The leaders in direct sales are: ngmoco:), TinyCo, Pocket Gems and Tapulous.

As a rule, large gaming offices use all three options in one form or another.

Why direct sales?

Many developers are familiar with the first two types of promotion from their own experience, so their shortcomings are also well known. Internal cross-promotion requires a large user base, advertising networks are very expensive and opaque, so it can be difficult to get something from them, even if successful, beyond the investment spent.  

At the same time, when developers buy traffic directly from each other, they bypass advertising networks, which means they pay much less for advertising, moreover, they can be sure that their advertising will catch the eye of exactly the audience in which they are potentially interested. To put it simply, direct sales is the way to maximize earnings and control over advertising.

Many of the leading players in the market are already using direct sales, and their numbers speak for themselves. If, on average, the CTR is 12%, then in the case of using direct sales, it can reach up to 30%. Again, if the average eCPM is $5, then some players in the market using direct sales eCPM reaches $20.

That is, direct sales is a scheme from which everyone benefits: those who advertise each other get more money and more opportunities to manage advertising, and users get more relevant content.

The power of a full-screen banner

When using any of these three strategies, a game developer should be careful balancing between monetization and user experience. A full–screen banner is the best tool for setting up this balance, mainly for two reasons.  

1. Full-screen banners launched before the game or between missions do not take up valuable screen space during the game itself. They can be perceived as a recommendation (what else can you play), and not an intrusive advertisement, if you creatively approach their creation.

2. Full-screen banners maximize eCPM and maximize traffic.

Direct sales tools

Of course, to deal with direct sales, you need to be prepared for some costs, both in technical and business plans. There are business negotiations, service setup, and advertising tracking. So, if you don’t want to do all this yourself, you can contact one or another company that will simplify your task. 

In general, summing up, with good tools – negotiations, implementation, as well as analysis of direct sales can be as simple as ordinary advertising on the web.     

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