Rovio moves more than 90% of inventory to app bidding after seeing positive impact on ad revenue and operational efficiency




Rovio Entertainment Corporation is a global, games-first entertainment company that creates, develops and publishes mobile games which have been downloaded over 4.5 billion times. The company is best known for the global Angry Birds brand, which started as a popular mobile game in 2009, and has since evolved from games to various entertainment and consumer products in brand licensing.
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Challenge

The player experience is at the core of everything Rovio does and is a key factor in how they approach ad monetization. Ad experiences in their mobile games are designed to be less intrusive, mainly involving user-initiated video ads, and focus on the quality of the experience over the volume. To ensure they maximize the value of ad inventory while maintaining a positive player experience, it is important for Rovio to be able to efficiently find the right buyers for each impression.
Rovio used traditional waterfall mediation for their ad monetization set up, which ranked ad networks based on average historic price, not on what they were willing to pay for that particular impression in real time. Wanting to ensure they were receiving the best price for every impression while improving the efficiency of their ad operations, Rovio looked to test app bidding.

Solution

Rovio was one of the earliest adopters of app bidding and began testing app bidding with Facebook Audience Network in 2017. Both Rovio and Audience Network shared a vision to create a more fair and open ad ecosystem, which was a key reason Rovio chose to partner with Audience Network.
Rovio began testing bidding with user-initiated video ads in Angry Birds 2, with the hypothesis that moving from waterfall to a bidding set up would provide positive uplift to their ad revenue due to more transparency and equal access to inventory for the buyers. Beyond revenue impact, they hoped that bidding would make it easier for them to manage their supply and allocate the inventory in a more efficient way, meaning less manual resources spent on maintaining cumbersome waterfalls.
Rovio set up bidding through their in-house mediation and worked with five bidders, including Audience Network, to drive real-time competition for their inventory.
Bidding is one of the most significant changes to the mobile advertising industry over the last decade. By creating an open and efficient ad ecosystem, not only do publishers benefit but advertisers can now choose in real time how much they want to pay for each impression.
- Jarkko Rajama?ki, VP Advertising, Rovio

Results

Bidding has proved to be successful for Rovio, helping to create a significant shift across their business.
Through testing, Rovio compared the impact of bidding versus waterfall set up. The results proved their hypothesis: bidding helped them earn more ad revenue resulting in a positive impact on ARPDAU.
As a result, Rovio moved the majority of their game inventory from waterfall to bidding. Now 92%1 of their ad revenue runs on bidding. Further, all new games bypass waterfall set up all together and use bidding as their monetization set up from launch. Angry Birds Dream Blast and Angry Birds: Isle of Pigs AR were the latest two games to follow this direct-to-bidding approach.
Bidding has driven an increase in efficiency as well for Rovio. Previously, they had to devote significant ad operation resources to the manual work of maintaining complex waterfalls.
With bidding, they have been able to reallocate these resources to more impactful areas for the business. One such area is working directly with the game development teams to ensure that ad placements provide the best experience for the players, which is vitally important for building sustainable ad monetization that helps further grow their business.
Source: 1Data provided by client, May 2019



Bidding has created a system shift for our business. Not only has bidding driven an increase in ARPDAU compared to waterfall, but the efficiency gained by not having to manually manage a waterfall has meant our team can focus their time on new areas to drive greater impact for our business.
- Jarkko Rajama?ki, VP Advertising, Rovio

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