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Introduction

The inneractive ad placement strategy deals with ad location & timing as well as look & feel. An effective ad placement strategy increases the click through rate (CTR) of the ads, and since the vast majority of the campaigns are PPC (Pay Per Click), doing so will have a direct effect on your revenue as a publisher. Because each app and each game provides its own ad opportunities, it is impossible to provide a "one size fits all" strategy. Thus, the purpose of this document is to provide some tried and tested general guidelines you can use when designing an ad placement strategy for a specific app.

The main goal of an ad placement strategy is to find a balance between getting the user's attention, increasing the willingness to click, and not hindering the user-experience.

The following are two areas that must be taken into account when working on an ad placement strategy:

  • Attention – The user must notice the ad in order to be able to click it.
  • User Experience (UX) – Ads should not annoy the user. 

In order to satisfy these two competing ideas, ads should only appear in a few strategic places, and at intervals.

Overview

The inneractive SDKs and APIs support banners and full screen ads. Both types of ads could generate a high CTR, and thus revenue, if effectively integrated. Full screen ads, which often include rich media, usually generate the most user engagement.

Banners

Banner ads are available in many sizes and formats. inneractive's ad partners provide rich, intriguing (and sometimes animated) visual banners.

Full Screen Ads and Interstitials

Full screen ads usually take the entire screen real estate and present a more vibrant visual message. Interstitial ads, by definition, are displayed before or after an expected content page or a game level / stage. These ads are more visually attractive and entail higher conversion rates for the advertiser, and higher Click Through Rates / revenues for the developer.

Rich Media ads

Rich Media ads are the newest addition to inneractive's ad inventory. These campaigns pay per impression according to a CPM model (Cost Per Mille, or cost per thousand impressions) and are highly lucrative. Moreover, rich media ads offer additional added value besides higher revenues. These ads are engaging and capturing and truly enrich the user experience. We believe that these ads are mainly beneficial to content apps such as those in the News and Entertainment category.

Sample rich media ad

Do's and Dont's

Visibility

The first rule of effective ad placement strategy is that the ad should get the user's attention. Therefore a banner that appears in the upper or lower part of the app's screen, like the one in the screenshot below on the left, will not be effective because the user's attention will be focused on the middle of the screen, where all the app's information / action appears.

Don'tDo
A banner at the very top (or bottom) of the screen, during gameplayA prominent banner at the center of the user's attention, during game breaks or between content screen

 

 

 

 

 

In gaming, displaying a banner during gameplay will not only take valuable screen real-estate, it could also hinder the fun, since clicking on the banner (purposely or accidentally) will stop the game and may launch a web browser or a web-view.

In order to 'catch' the user's eye, we highly recommend creating a special ad screen or dialog box, which contains only the ad and a "Skip" button. (For non-touch devices, a "Go" button should be added as well). As you can see in the screenshot below, the ad appears in the middle of the screen, thus capturing the player's full attention.  It is also imperative for the ad screen to have the look and feel of the app (same colors, same fonts etc.). This way, the ad looks like an integral part of the app, which increases the chance that the user will click on it (see examples below).

Example

Please note that this type of ad placement has another advantage, as it provides the user enough exposure time in order to acknowledge the ad and click it. This is different than in-game ads, which refresh once in a while, and disappear when the level is over or when the user has left the screen.  Full-screen and interstitial ads, such as those seen below, have the same advantage.

Interstitial - full screen dialog

Placement

We recommend placing ads only after the user has had the opportunity to experience the app. Therefore, do not place in the first screen; the user is always eager to start playing, reading and experiencing.  Great places to place an ad include:

Content Apps

  • When moving between one screen to another. For example, in a Flickr-like application, ads should be displayed when moving from one album to another.
  • After the user had preformed a certain function. For example, in a Twitter-like application, the ad should appear after the user sends a tweet.

Games

  • The best place for ads would be in transition points. For example in 'Game Over', 'High Score' screens or in between levels.
  • Don't place an ad before the first level.  We always recommended you to allow the user to enjoy the game before he/she sees any ads. (However, games that don't contain any levels and in which the game play is very long – Chess, for example – are an exception to this rule.)

 

Ad is displayed when game is overAd is displayed when game is paused

 

Frequency

Ads should appear a sufficient amount of times per session in order to display a variety of ads, thus increasing the chance that the user will click at least one of them. In practical terms, this means an ad placement may take place once in every 2-5 screens / views. We recommend placing an ad every 30 seconds to 5 minutes, but the actual frequency greatly depends on the application's average session time. For example, ad frequency for content apps like news, navigation, travel, and video, which can be used for hours on a single session, could display ads once every 5 minutes, while ads in applications like "Fruit Ninja" should appear once every 1 minute because the session's length is much shorter.

Ad refresh interval

Similarly, should you developer decide to dedicate a space that provides nothing but ads for a long period of time, it is key to refresh those ads in order to draw attention and present a variety of creatives. We recommend implementing a refresh rate of 30 to 120 seconds, depending on the app type and level of user engagement. 

Advanced tips

The following tips require higher technical skills and effort, but may significantly increase CTR and contribute to the user experience.

  • Add banner animation: Providing an animation to the banner (or the 'Go' button) when it appears or is refreshed could grab the user's attention and increase the chance that the user clicks it. For a great example you can try Funky Cam 3D for Android or iOS. This developer of ours has done a great job of implementing this technique.
  • Scrollable banner: In content apps (such as sports statistics, Twitter, stocks, etc.), do not place the banner at the top or the bottom of the view but rather as an integrated part of the menu items. In other words, the banner is an integral part of the scrollable view. 
  • Update ad's location: At some point you may find that your click-through rate decreases, even though nothing else has changed.  This may happen as users become immune to the location of ads and ignore it automatically. This phenomena is called 'Banner Blindness'. Therefore you may choose to update the location of the ads every couple of months.

Case study - Hyperkani 

We have many cases of successful APS implementation, and we would like to share one with you.

Hyperkani integrated inneractive into their Air Hockey Speed app. Initially, ads were placed at the bottom of the first game menu. This ad placement strategy generated a slim CTR of 0.17%.

Eventually the ad placement strategy changed and the ads were placed noticeably in the 'Game Over' screen with 'Go' and 'Skip' buttons. The immediate effect was a rise to whopping 4% CTR that obviously significantly affected revenues generated from in-app advertising.

Hyperkani's success story

 

Lastly, we would like to emphasize that this document and the experience we have accumulated at inneractive is mostly based on statistics and feedback provided by our developer partners.
If you have an idea or an experience related to maximizing CTR, we're all ears (smile).

Feel free to contact us at developers@inner-active.com.

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