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Hyper-Casual Games: What Are the 3 Most Popular Ad Formats?

The Emergence of Hyper-Casual Games

You may have heard about casual, midcore and core games which have previously dominated app stores, and if you haven’t, don’t worry – they simply refer to games which are labeled according to their difficulty levels. Casual games are known to be quite easy to play and require minimal skills – think of Candy Crush or Angry Birds. Midcore games demand more effort from the player than casual games and the gamers can be described as those “who like games a lot but maybe don’t have enough time for them as they used to.” Hardcore or core games then tend to “have more challenging gaming environments that must be mastered over time”.

Source: VentureBeat

So, where do hyper-casual games come into play? Well, the concept of ‘hyper-casual’ gaming is nothing new but rather echoes the form of old arcade games from the 70s/80s. Adopting a very simplistic approach, hyper-casual games are played instantly and can be very addictive due to their “short bursts of play”. These apps generate the majority of their revenue through ads, as opposed to other gaming genres offering in-app purchases. Hyper-casual games have a very short life cycle, so they attract users via very rich and engaging ads which are identical to the games themselves. This allows publishers to have a different ROI for casual games vs. hyper-casual games.

Since different strategies are used to monetize and acquire users, certain ad formats perform much better than others, and the following formats are the most popular ones served within top hyper-casual games;

Rewarded video ad hyper-casual games1. Rewarded Video

Rewarded video ads show a full-screen video advertisement to users in exchange for a reward such as an extra life or booster within the game and are very popular in this gaming genre. This ad unit cannot be skipped if the user wants to receive their prize so can, therefore, be very effective in hyper-casual games and can benefit the app developer, advertiser and the user.

Tapjoy argues that by successfully integrating reward advertisements into gameplay, publishers can increase revenue by 30-40%. As hyper-casual games tend to have a much lower lifetime value (LTV), daily rewards are a brilliant tactic to keep users engaged and are becoming increasingly popular in the top 100 grossing games.

2. Interstitial Ads

As hyper-casual games are played in loops, this allows certain ad formats to perform well that may be seen as disruptive in other gaming genres. For example, video interstitials and playable ads are popular in hyper-casual games as they are served in between or after games, often when a player loses a few lives. Playables, in particular, can keep users engaged while they wait to play another round, ensuring that the user experience is not disturbed and maximizing revenue for app publishers.

Playable interstitial ads hyper-casual games appsInterstitial Video Ad Hyper-casual games
Playable Interstitial Video Ads                     Video Interstitials

3. Banners & Native Banners

Native banners ad formats hyper-casualAlthough different ad formats such as rewarded video may generate more revenue, banners still remain a popular format in hyper-casual games. As they only take up a small part of the player’s screen, banner ads can be effective for users who may not interact with rewarded video ads. Sticky banner ads & native banners are commonly found in this genre and can perform well when combined with other ad formats. Banner ads are also a good option for monetizing gaming apps in portrait version as they are less likely to interfere with the gameplay.

In 2018 hyper-casual games topped the charts “both in terms of downloads and consumer spend” and the momentum will only continue to grow this year. Hyper-casual games require less production time than some other gaming genres, and with the multiple monetization possibilities for app publishers, it seems like this trend is only set to increase.

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