ironSource on creative strategy & monetization for games

Insights Oct 30, 2020
Jampp Supply Takeover with ironSource

Supply Takeover #7 — Meet ironSource

With Jampp’s Supply Takeover series, we share insights into our partnerships and the inner workings of mobile programmatic. For this edition, we interviewed David Amar, Head of Brands, Europe & APAC at ironSource, to hear his take on the state of the industry.

Thank you for joining our Supply Takeover series! Tell us about how ironSource can help publishers and growth partners.

ironSource’s mobile mediation platform and marketplace power the world’s largest, most engaged in-app gaming audiences, and our 100% direct partnerships mean high cost efficiency, brand safety, fraud-free, and fully transparent inventory for our advertiser partners. What’s more, as a product-first company, our focus on the tech behind the scenes allows us to help partners optimize their supply path, and find quality impressions right at the source.

Do you have any specific criteria you consider before choosing the right publishers to work with?

We work with mobile gaming publishers that have safe, entertaining, and engaging environments for our advertisers to tap into. These games include RPG, hardcore, mid-core, casual, puzzles, and hyper-casual—providing a wide range of audiences for our partners to select from. Each game we work with is app store approved, vetted to be reliable, perform well, and free of any offensive material—and, when necessary, all inventory can be age-rated and comply with COPPA or LDA guidelines.

Moving onto the performance side, what makes a DSP partner a good fit for working with ironSource?

In general, we partner with DSP market leaders that complement our direct inventory for brands, at scale, with their own sophistication and technology. With ironSource situated directly between our advertising partners and the game developers using our mediation platform, we work with DSPs that understand the value of our highly engaged in-app audiences. The complementary ironSource SSP/DSP relationship allows brand advertisers to successfully reach their audiences, our developer partners to monetize their products in a native way, and game players to enjoy an even richer experience.

What’s the main project you’ve been working on in 2020?

We launched LevelPlay, ironSource’s in-app bidding technology, in 2019—and just a year later, the majority of our traffic is now running through bidding. It’s an exciting time for us to continue to innovate around monetization and automation. In addition, as more of our direct supply turns to in-app bidding, the level playing field, in turn, increases our reach for advertisers.

ironSource LevelPlay in-app bidding

What has it been like working in quarantine? Was it a big adjustment for your team?

Quarantine has upended everyone’s life, and there are certainly challenges—as many priorities have changed. But as our CEO Tomer Bar Zeev said to Forbes in April, “The current situation pushed us to think how we can utilize our manpower more effectively. We’re working to see how we can allocate people who aren’t at full capacity to other teams in the company who need extra support. Not everyone will be a perfect fit for the role, but rejigging our manpower in this way helps us retain our employees—which is massively important to us during this crisis.”

ironSource team working from home


What changes have you seen in the Gaming market in 2020 in terms of in-app monetization?

In the last few years, and specifically this past year, we’ve seen an increase in the number of game developers incorporating ads to their monetization strategy—especially from games that traditionally monetized primarily via in-app purchases. This shift in strategy indicates not only the incremental value of ad monetization for publishers, but also the understanding that when done right, ad monetization can positively impact user experience and even retention. Additionally, this year, we’ve seen in-app bidding gain significant traction, with most major ad networks having developed bidding technology and an increasing number of app developers using it to manage their monetization. In fact, as we mentioned before, we launched our own in-app bidding solution to help our app developer partners increase competition within their inventory, get even more premium demand for their apps, and save manpower by effectively automating their waterfall processes. We encourage our clients to A/B test in-app bidding to make sure it is right for them, but the proof is in the results, as partners see boosts in ARPDAU and reduced manual operations.

What's one piece of advice about Gaming app marketing you can share?

As the marketing industry moves towards automation, creative is really the best and last lever to pull to gain an edge. Marketers looking to advertise on gaming apps should focus on creative differentiation as a way to stand out in a competitive space. The in-game medium provides the opportunity to invest in really exciting creative formats like playable ads, which take interactivity (and, as a result, performance and brand recall) to the next level. The trick is investing in amazing creatives that pull users in and make them think twice about your product, constantly developing and testing new creatives to increase performance.

Want to learn more about programmatic?

We strongly believe programmatic is the best channel for apps looking to scale, leveraging higher transparency, and far more granular insights 📊. If you have any questions about real-time bidding or how programmatic advertising can drive incremental revenue for your app, get in touch with us!