2021 has been a year of unprecedented change for hypercasual advertising of mobile games. Apple’s identifier for advertisers has been abolished, which has started to decimate many familiar ways of marketing and monetizing hypercasual games. The advertising budgets were then transferred from iOS to Android. But then iOS15 reintroduced marketing tools on iOS. Somewhere in the madness, Facebook quietly stopped doing its own attribution.
In the midst of this flow and flow, the show had to go on. Hypercasual games have yet to be marketed and generate revenue regardless of market conditions. With such uncertainty in the air, many independent and mid-size publishers have understandably sought refuge under the reassuring wing of the largest ad technology companies. Others took the opportunity to experiment, building their own monetization solutions on the foundations provided by AdTech platforms.
Hypercasual monetization – from beginner to expert
To some extent, the level of experimentation of hypercasual developers undertaken in 2021 has been defined by the size of their organization, from indie to mid-size. But that’s not entirely clear – many have achieved a lot with a little tech support and a single ad monetization manager, which means it’s all about allocation. resources than a complete shutdown of resources. This is a risk-reward scenario, balancing the initial investment with the potential long-term gains.
So let’s take a look at what separates the newbie publisher from the expert hypercasual publisher in terms of monetization, and how they chose to use the tools at their disposal in 2021.
Beginner: AppLovin – Out-of-the-box hypercasual monetization
AppLovin is a headline-dominating monster and attracts the highest proportion of hyper-occasional ad spend. Under the hype is a very solid commodity.
Currently, AppLovin’s stack is the easiest and most popular way for hypercasual developers to monetize and promote their apps. It is part of the default stack of most entry-level or independent publishers, as it combines user acquisition and monetization. Once a developer uses AppLovin MAX for ad monetization, they can feed the AppLovin UA machine with user-level revenue data. This allows automatic optimization of ROAS (return on advertising spend) with minimal effort on the part of the publisher.
The potential downside is that AppLovin uses its own monetization algorithms, which limits the freedom of hypercasual publishers to do this in-house and potentially generate higher revenue. Of course, it’s only natural for less experienced developers and publishers to turn to out-of-the-box solutions.
Intermediate: ironSource – Ideal for early hypercasual automation
It’s an unspoken rule of mobile gaming advertising that you can’t mention AppLovin let alone ironSource. They are real fierce competitors.
At present, it is clear that fewer developers are using the ironSource stack compared to that of AppLovin. However, we have seen an improvement in performance from editors who have used ironSource’s internal tools under the hood, due to the greater flexibility this allows. For example, early ad monetization tools like internal auctions are typically built on IronSource. It’s not an easy task to set up internally, especially for small, hyper-casual teams. It needs the support of a team of engineers and at least one dedicated ad monetization manager. But it’s a worthwhile investment if done right, and it shouldn’t take long to increase ad revenue.
Expert: Mopub – A playground for advanced hypercasual marketers
MoPub’s rise as a hyper-casual marketing player really started in mid-2019 when it started showing publishers not only how much they made from each user acquired, but how much each ad impression cost. This opened many doors for publishers with data science and ad monetization teams who could turn that insight into valuable insight.
It soon became apparent that there were too many gates and too much data. It became too expensive and complicated for publishers to store all data in-house, and MoPub had no solution. Finally, this year the developers found a workaround.
The key to getting the most out of the MoPub stack turned out to be adding Google Firebase. Traditionally, publishers store data in Amazon Redshift, where they pay for the amount of data, while Firebase uses Google Cloud Platform / BigQuery where developers are charged based on the number of times they query their dataset. This created a perfect stack for advanced hypercasual editors who could squeeze everything out of the data they have.
MoPub was recently acquired by AppLovin, which is already migrating its customers to its own platform, meaning the custom stacks built by advanced hypercasual marketers won’t last beyond spring 2022.
Hypercasual in 2022
The full impact of the unprecedented changes in hypercasual marketing has yet to be fully felt. And, with more updates expected on Android as well as iOS, there are more changes going on.
What does this mean for independent and mid-size hypercasual developers and publishers in 2022? Compared to a year ago, many are much more familiar with how to ‘do’ their own monetization, a journey necessitated by the economic pressures of 2021. Well done, a mid-way customization of hyper-casual or monetization stacks. even the creation of expert business intelligence platforms is the road to maximum information and income.
But with even more changes in hypercasual marketing expected in 2022, and the risk inherent in experimenting with monetization stacks, it’s likely that out-of-the-box tools will continue to be the benchmark for the majority of publishers in a very short time. foreseeable future.