Game Development Reference
deal with someone who serves up ads, then integrate their platform for ad host-
ing and display into your software. Luckily, almost all of the platforms available
for social game release now natively support these sorts of features. Apple's iAd
Network is highly regarded as an advertising platform.
The rules for in-application advertising vary by social network. Although
Facebook and the other social network creators will be more than happy to help
you show ads alongside your app, Facebook itself will not serve up ads for dis-
play inside an app. However, hi5 and other networks do offer an application
for facilitation of advertising services. The amount of revenue you eventually
receive, as measured per view, will likely be quite small; particularly on mobile
games, this strategy isn't likely to generate tremendous revenue on its own.
However, it can be a way of supplementing income, or even better, of encour-
aging already converted users to purchase a “premium” (i.e., more expensive)
version of the game.
As discussed earlier, it costs money to attract a new user to a product. Yet a
game can't survive without generating new users, so developers are usu-
ally willing to spend almost anything up to the CPI in order to get new users
installing their game. In response to this need, both social and mobile games
have adopted the concept of the “offer wall” in which users are rewarded with
in-game currency for following offers served up by other application developers
(or outside advertisers).
These may often be for completely unrelated types of products. (DirecTV
and Netflix ads are common, for example.) Or they may be for different (and
sometimes even competing) games. Because these ads generally aren't targeted
to the player's interests in the way that, say, Facebook ads are, these offers typi-
cally have very low value for the player, but because they are entirely an opt-in
way for players to get currency for the game they like, they persist. Here's how
an offer wall typically works:
l A developer (A) of a new game offers $1 to anyone who gets them an install.
l Another developer (B) integrates an offer wall into their successful game.
l Developer B offers to give their users $0.50 worth of in-game currency if they
click through and install one of the products listed on the offer wall.
l When the user does, A pays B $1, B gives the user .50 and keeps the rest,
and A gets an install, and their application rises on the popularity charts.
In the past, Tapjoy offered the most active and established offer walls, but
in recent months they have moved away from the social networks in favor of
focusing on mobile offerings.