Frozen City’s $3 million a month Admon blunder
Century Games deserve a lot of credit for creating Frozen City and scaling it from just 300k DAU in December to over 4 million DAU in mid March. In the UA landscape today that is no small feat and it was all done while earning over $12.4m in IAPs. However, Frozen City at its core is still an Idle game and the massive DAU now represents a massive lost opportunity in terms of ad revenue. Having enjoyed the game greatly I wanted to show case just how under monetized this game is from an Ad Monetization perspective and provide some suggested ad placements that could more than triple current ad revenue.
Frozen City DAU
We analyzed Frozen City on #48 of 2.5 Gamers on January 22nd where I argued that Frozen City was making about $6k/day from ads ($72k/month). I assumed that they had a Rewarded IMP/DAU of about 3.3 and an ad viewer rate of 75%. That meant at the time they were making about 10-15% of their revenue from ads in a genera that traditionally generates 30-50% from ads.
Frozen City's Current Two Rewarded Ad Placements
Inside the menu players are able to watch a Rewarded Ad in exchange for a common chest that’s on a 8 hour cool down.
Watch a Rewarded Ad in exchange for precious resources that appear on the main screen at random points.
Since that recording Frozen City has also added the same common chest Rewarded ad placement on weekends during events.
The current placements leads me to think that IMP/DAU is no longer 3.3 like I thought one month ago but closer to 1.5 with an ad viewer rate of about 60% since the main RV placement is hidden away in the store. This means that with the current DAU Frozen City is making about 35k/day or about $1m/month from ads. Which is about 17% of overall IAP revenue. The idle genera IMP/DAU on rewarded ads is traditionally one of the highest in mobile gaming. Idle Games tend to average somewhere between 8.0-19.0 IMP/DAU on rewarded ads. The fact that Frozen City's DAU has now increased by 189% compared to a month ago. Any ad monetization person worth his salt will tell you that this represents a massive lost ad revenue opportunity for Century Games.
There are three key idle Rewarded Ad Placement that Frozen City is currently missing from it's game. I firmly believe that if Frozen City were to add the following three Rewarded Ad Placements they would be able to increase their ad revenue by over 270% to about $125,000 per day.
Proposed Ad Placements
1. A Rewarded Ad to double resources gathered while offline. Currently Frozen City allows offline resource gathering for 2 hours. This proposed ad placement would be shown when users come back to the game to double the resources earned while offline. In order to avoid inflation you'd either have to rebalance the game economy or simply reduce the non-ad watched gift amount by 50%. In my experience the opt-in rate on this ad placement on other Idle games I've worked on is between 60-85%.
2. A main screen double resource gathering for x amount of game play time with an impression cap. In the Idle Genera this ad placement traditionally allows players to increase the amount of resources gathered during game play. Normally you put a time boost where resource gathering is doubled for 30 minutes with a cap of 4 rewarded impressions per day (ie capped at 2 hours of doubled resource gathering). For this placement to work you'd have like above reduce the normal resource gathering by 50% or rebalance the economy.
3. A Skip night time for a Rewarded Ad placement. This is probably the most controversial suggestion of the three placements as it has the risk of changing the pacing of the game play. But if tested and put with the proper cool downs this could be a killer ad placement.
If you assume that these three placements would push IMP/DAU to 5.0 with a 65% ad viewer rate and conservatively estimate a Rewarded eCPM of $18 in the USA and $7 average world wide. I could with some confidence say that with the current DAU Frozen City would be making about $125,000/day from ads. But anyone who’s had experience with managing the ad monetization of any idle games will tell you that the IMP/DAU assumption could be closer to 8.0-10.0 in which case the ad revenue would be closer to $200,000/day which would double the overall revenue of Frozen City.
There are of course no guarantees in game development but I’d just like to propose the argument that with proper AB testing Frozen City could add some serious incremental revenue gains by working on their in-game ad placements.