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Mobile Game Monetisation 101 – Part 1: An Intro to In-App Purchases, Ads, and Other Revenue Generation Strategies


How often do you wonder about monetising your mobile games? The idea of setting it up can sound complex, understandably, but it’s essential to ensure you can earn money from games. So here’s what you need to know about mobile game monetisation, and how you, as a game developer, can benefit from it.


We sat down with our monetisation team to find out how they’ve used monetisation to build a global business from both Kwalee and our partner developers’ mobile games.

What is mobile game monetisation?

Mobile game monetisation involves various teams and strategies with the goal of generating revenue from a game. In a publishing studio, this would include the expertise of the product, user acquisition, and monetisation teams, who serve as the pillars of our successes.


  • Product: This team is behind the in-game mechanics and strategies that should have a positive impact on the user experience and the game’s longevity.
  • User acquisition: This team works hard to bring in new quality players to the game.
  • Monetisation: This team defines and applies the best methods to earn money from games through the players. This could be through timed advertisements, in-app purchases (IAPs for short), or subscriptions.


Their combined efforts help make a game profitable and successful. regulate health and performances. By using intelligent data science, experimenting and learning, we can identify areas for improvement and learn how to achieve them.


How to monetise a mobile game for new game developers


Generally, you’ll want to first examine your game and identify your player base to define the best monetisation strategy. This way, you’ll know exactly what you want to achieve with your monetisation strategy, and how it can cater to what the player wants.


Without this, players won’t feel attracted to your game, and they won’t want to come back and keep playing for months and years. Benchmark your game with others in the mobile app stores.


The differences between monetisation strategies


Choosing the right strategy depends on the game you’re creating. In mobile game monetisation, there are three common strategies most studios and developers use.


In-game advertisements


As the name suggests, they basically generate money by displaying advertisements to users. The forms these ads take can vary.. Here are a few common types:


  • Interstitial or Rewarded Ads: These are fullscreen ads that users can watch in exchange for an in-game reward. Generally, users must stop playing for a moment and watch the full video to continue playing.
  • Playable Ads: These are like fullscreen ads, but the player can interact with them to get a feel for the game.
  • Banner or Native Ads: A small ad that’s displayed during the gameplay but won’t affect it. Generally, this monetisation strategy has its own metrics, with a team exclusively dedicated to it.


In-App Purchases


IAPs are a game publisher’s gold mine to earn money from games. It’s the revenue generated from users’ purchases in-game. The best possible scenario is to entice players to buy items that can improve their gameplay performance. Usually, when they buy something, they’re close to reaching the break-even point and becoming a profitable player for the publisher, since there’s a larger return on investment (ROI).




Similar to IAPs, players have the opportunity to purchase an ‘exclusive service’ from the publisher’s game. The strategy attracts players to be part of a unique group of players that can access specific content or an ad-free experience within the game. Normally, this is related to a periodical type of revenue.


The most popular monetisation strategy for mobile games


The most widely used mobile game monetisation strategy is in-game advertisements. Most games in the mobile gaming market are free-to-play (F2P) precisely because it attracts the largest number of potential players. Asking players to make an up-front investment in mobile games is difficult.


With free-to-play strategies, we give players the full fun experience and leave the choice to spend money on it up to them. This way, they enjoy their freedom to not only be a player, but also deepen their experience with custom gear, more currency, or new unlockable options.  It’s a convenient way to enter the market and earn money from games. That’s why publishers like Kwalee have ad monetisation teams dedicated to making this process as efficient as possible.


This is how our UA, Product, and Monetisation teams at Kwalee have achieved such significant successes through our games. The best example is Draw it, which continues to be our most popular game. Some of our other games generating huge revenue include Airport Security, Traffic Cop 3D, and Looper. Each of these games thrives on in-game advertisement strategies.


These days, emerging monetisation strategies are circling the in-game ad spaces, where tests are improved and new ad formats are included. Even so, publishers have constantly sought ways to improve their monetisation methods over the years. This also takes into account regulations set in place that we must adhere to.


Check out Part 2 on mobile game monetisation!


The subject of video game monetisation is extensive and cannot be covered in a single blog article. That’s why we’ve decided to divide it into two parts, with a Part 2 waiting for you! Stay informed by subscribing to our email newsletter to receive the latest updates from our blog.


If you’re developing a game with the intent to monetise it, reach out to us. We’ve helped developers like you earn millions from their mobile games, handling all their monetisation needs with our dedicated teams. So don’t be afraid to approach us about your game!


As an award-winning mobile game publisher, we know what it takes to turn your mobile game into a chart-topping success. Submit and market-test your games through our official Publishing Portal. Follow us on social media (TikTok | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn) to get the latest bits on gamedev trends.


With community and ad monetisation experience, Bruno entered the games industry early in his career and has helped to structure better the ad monetisation area at his previous company, Fanatee.

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