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Ad to Cash and Ad to Fun Ratio in Free To Play Games

A look at the Ad to Cash ratio in several free to play games and a question regarding what influences this or what should.

Ad To Cash Ratio - moWOW studios

I was reading the other day about Crossy Road and how they made 1 million dollar from video ads.  In the past few months I've seen better and better integration between games and ads where currency is being replaced with watching a 15 second video or a banner. It got me wondering what is the ad to cash ratio in these games and if there is any average or standard to it.  In other words many ads must a player watch to match a $0.99 IAP? Here's a few games that I tested out and their ratios:

  1. Crossy Road - since we already mentioned it - gives you 20 in game coins for each ad viewed. For 100 coins you can get a chance at a new character. Some of the characters however cost money, usually $0.99. So we have 5 videos (1 minute) for $1.
  2. Bitcoin Billionaire - You can skip "unfortunate" events in the game or double an effect or bonus by viewing an ad or paying 2 "hyperbits". The cost of 30 hyperbits is $2.  So we have roughly a 7 videos for $1.
  3. Bird Climb -  You can get a second wind for free or pay 10 gems. In the store 1000 gems cost $5. So we get 20 ads for $1.
  4. Linebound - You can continue free  after crashing or gain a free life by watching a video ad or pay $2 for 5 lives. So we have 2.5 ads for $1.
  5. 8 Ball Pool - You can watch a video for 15 coins and can watch as many as there are available. In the store you get 1250 coins for 2 dollars. So roughly 40 ads for $1.
  6. Puzzle Forge 2 - You can watch a video for 100 coins. In the store you get 1000 coinst for $1. So we have 10 ads for $1.

A side note: most of the time, the buttons for viewing these ads have FREE written on them: "Skip for FREE", "Double for FREE", "Free continue", etc.

As you can see there isn't an average or a set number and that is to be expected. No two games and no two audiences are the same which leads me to the other half of this post's title: ad to fun ratio.

Fun is an essential factor we take into account when making games and it means a lot of things. It is to be expected then that Fun affects how much money we ask for virtual items or IAP or in this case, it affects the ad to cash ratio in a game.   After all, it is the fun of the game that creates the "needs" in the player, needs that in turn justify all the items and powerups that we are selling.

My question and current curiosity is if there is a way to calculate this ad to cash ratio or approximate it and if not, at least what factors do you take into consideration when deciding this ratio?

Is it ad length, play session time, player activity or behavior,  lifetime value, churn rate?  I'm looking forward to your thoughts on this.

repost from the moWOW blog.   

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