I mentioned in my previous post that I wanted to extend the overall time someone will play Dare the Monkey for. But why is this important you may ask? Read on to find out.

Like many apps, I’ve choose the in-app ads model for Dare the Monkey. In addition, I also have some freemium elements in there too such as paid level unlocks, character purchases, and the option to switch off ads. Typically the conversion rate for in-app purchases is as little as 3-5% of your user base. And to generate any kind of decent revenue from ads you really need to serve a vast number of them.

When thinking about ad revenue, most inexperienced indie devs will simply think in terms of download numbers. But the truth is, that’s just not enough. To generate any kind of decent money from ads you need to serve as many as possible to each user. In order for that to happen you need your users to stick around for as long as possible. You want them to come back day after day, and at the same time, help generate you some much needed cash by viewing a few ads.

The key to success is retention and session times. If a user plays your game just once then moves on to something else you won’t make any revenue from them. You really need that user to come back to your app on a daily basis and for a decent number of days, or weeks even. Essentially you want to retain that user.

However, that in itself isn’t enough. Once a user launches your app, you need them to play it for as long as possible in each sitting. The longer each session lasts for, the more ads they’ll see, which will convert to more revenue for you.

So basically, to make money from ads you need the following:

  • A large number of downloads
  • To retain your users for as many days as possible
  • For each user to play your game for as long as possible during each session

Now let’s go back to in-app purchases. Retention is important here too because most users simply won’t make a purchase unless they’re engaged in your app. Typically a user will have to keep coming back to your app for a number of days before they’ll finally make a purchase. If everyone disappears after playing your game just once then forget about making any money.

And here’s one more thing to chew over before I finish up. For an action game, less than 30% of users will come back to your app after the first day. Essentially, if your app receives one million downloads, then you could see as many as 700,000 users drop off after the first play! So you really need to work hard to generate some revenue from the remaining 300,000.

It’s certainly food for thought and I’ve spent a considerable amount of time crafting Dare to ensure users keep coming back to it. Hopefully it’ll pay off.