There is massive potential for publishers looking to grow beyond borders. But not all game expansions are success stories. How do you launch a game internationally and achieve off-the-charts growth?

By carefully tailoring your monetisation strategy to your new market and users. Anastasia Petrova, Strategic Partner Manager at Facebook Audience Network, explains how to get it right.


Anastasia Petrova, Strategic Partner Manager, Facebook Audience Network

What’s driving your international expansion? Most publishers are looking to expand beyond their home market, grow their community and generate more revenue by targeting new users. Of course, the real key to sustaining growth is figuring out how to monetise effectively.

As you plan your new market expansion, here’s how to leverage key insights to monetise your game.

1. When selecting a monetisation model for your expansion market, consider player behaviour, game genre and geography

According to it’s April 2019 Report: Ads, IAP or Both”, Walnut Research also revealed that 78% of developers will adapt their monetisation approach depending on the type of game and user profile. If you’ve already attempted launching into a new market, you may realise that user responses to IAA and IAP can differ. As such, you should consider:

  • What’s the right monetisation model to use in each market?
  • What’s the right creative format to use, based on what we understand about player behaviour?
  • How receptive is the new market and new users to different creative formats?

For example, when Joyfort, a Beijing-based Chinese publisher, shifted their genre focus and expanded to overseas markets, they realised it wouldn’t be possible to rely only on in-app purchases. Now, their monetisation mix is a 80/20 split between in-app ads and in-app purchases, which has helped sustain growth in new markets.

Ultimately, publishers need to align their monetisation method to the habits of the gamers and markets they are trying to monetise.

2. Take note of in-market preferences for different ad formats

How do you choose the right ad format for the market you are entering? Consider the in-market preference to that ad type and the likelihood that it will prompt a user to take action. And don’t forget: your intention when monetising new users in new markets is to drive actions that will generate revenue.

Take note: the July 2020 Facebook-commissioned 2CV Mobile Games Advertising Report uncovered that:

  • 35% of gamers prefer rewarded video when asked “What type of ads do you prefer to encounter?”
  • At 44%, Russia has the highest propensity towards rewarded video out of all new markets.
  • Playables are proving to be particularly popular in South Korea (23%), Vietnam (23%), Brazil (24%) and Argentina (24%).
  • Rewarded video and playables exceed all other formats when it comes to driving a purchase or sign-up action from a user.

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3. Create useful, interesting and relevant ads that players will want to engage with

When in-app ads are done right, they encourage longer player sessions, reduce churn, and drive greater interaction with the game – not to mention, provide sustainable revenue. What does “done right” mean? Consider that 44% of mobile gamers ranked usefulness as the top ad feature,  and 40% of mobile gamers ranked interesting as the second. U.S. mobile gamers ranked relevance first (2CV, July 2020).

  • Choose “useful” formats that add value to the gamer experience, like rewarded video.
  • Integrate rewards into the in-game economy based on country preferences: Note that some countries prefer virtual currency (like South Korea and Australia) while others favour random rewards (like France or Japan).

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  • Improve ad relevance by serving targeted content with access to a wide range of global advertisers with Audience Network.

Be judicious about ad integration

Across international markets, gamers surveyed by 2CV cited a few common frustrations with ads. Here’s what to avoid:

  • Lack of localisation: When ads are not well-localised, this can heighten the sense of time being ‘wasted’ by these ads.
  • Ads that interrupt gameplay. When ads divert attention away from the game, either by blocking the view of the game or by forcing players to view them before closing them, it can create a “loss of momentum” in the game.
  • Repetitive ads. Whilst these can be a source of irritation for many, the issue is magnified in South America where participants stated that during longer game play sessions, ‘ad fatigue’ can set in.

To counteract these frustrations, try localised ads that are placed at ‘player-friendly’ moments — for example, when opening a game or when active gameplay is at a natural pause (2CV, 2020). You may also want to try rewarded video, as many players find it the most useful and least disruptive to gameplay (2CV, July 2020).

To determine how many ads to show in a session, note that the July 2020 2CV Research found that the sweet spot for the number of ads seen in a single play session is between 10-25 where positive perceptions are highest but before the feeling of ad overload (2CV, July 2020). You should also aim to vary the type of ad you show, making sure that they are useful and relevant to players.

Increasing revenue is the most common reason publishers choose to expand to new, international markets.  To learn more about how to tailor your monetisation strategy for your new market, users and game genre visit: