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7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Monetizing a Mobile Game

Chartboost CEO Maria Alegre lists the must-ask questions every dev should ask to effectively monetize a mobile game, and explains how to use current market data to find the best answers for your game.

This post originally appeared on Playbook, Chartboost's blog dedicated to the business of mobile gaming.

Earlier this month, I kicked off the first of Chartboost’s 
three sessions at GDC with a look at the important questions every dev must ask in order to effectively monetize mobile games. 

I focused on the questions rather than the answers because numbers are constantly changing, but the inquiries that lead to insights remain the same. And these are the key 7 questions:

  1. What day of the week should I launch?

As of January 2015, the day to pay attention to is Saturday.

That said, it’s also important to watch the slower days. Case in point: Tuesdays in January created the smallest percentage of earnings, and would be an ideal day for a soft launch because it would be the least risky.

  1. What platform should I focus on?

Android surpassed iOS in traffic for the first time in the Americas during January.

But iOS still remains the outlier for money-making, so it makes the most sense to focus on iOS first if you’re targeting the Americas. 

Europe, meanwhile, leans towards Android, while Asia is a toss up. Each country is different, so be sure to watch the area you’re targeting.

  1. What OS should I optimize for?

If you’re focusing on Apple, know that new iOS versions tend to take over quickly.

Android’s new operating systems rolls out a bit slower which gives you more time to optimize your game once you know the new OS is a lot more tested.

  1. What devices should I optimize for?

The iPad is far and away the dominant iOS device. A game without an iPad optimized version is, quite frankly, missing out on monetization opportunities.

When looking at Android devices, attention to detail is important. Money-making devices don’t always align with those that have the most traffic.

  1. How much money can I expect to make?

As we all well know, there are two key components to monetization: in-app purchases (IAP) and publishing.

We’ll use CPI (Cost Per Install) as an approximation to LTV (Life Time Value). In the following chart of CPI by genre, we see that In-app purchases bring in lots of revenue for strategy games.

While publishing or ad revenue perform extremely well for sports games who have the highest eCPMs of all categories: over $19 eCPM!

Knowing how your specific genre performs with IAP and eCPMs can help you estimate the revenue potential of your game and how should your attention be divided between publishing and IAP revenue. 

  1. Where should I localize?

Money-making trends show that (after the US) France, Russia and Germany are the most profitable countries right now to localize.

Localization also depends on genre: as you can see in the chart below, if you have a board game, you should definitely localize to Turkish, and if you have a role playing game you should translate it to Korean.

  1. Where are the hidden opportunities?

One way to stay ahead of the competition is to be the first to update or release when a new operating system launches. That will give you a chance to get featured and noticed by the early adopters. Use our data to follow how new devices, OS and features get adoption.

Also, watch emerging countries closely. Growing countries right now include Mexico, Saudi Arabia and India. There might be hidden opportunities in non-crowded and fast-growing markets.

Check out Chartboost's most recent Power-Up report for more tips on effective monetization. 

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