The Gamesforum London 2023 conference united today’s leading publishers, SSPs, and mediation platforms to discuss the crucial challenges facing the gaming industry. The event provided a wealth of valuable insights into the latest trends in the ad tech industry, with lively panel discussions and informative fireside chats.
Here are a few of the immediate takeaways:
The Bidding vs. Waterfall Battle
Among the many hot topics, a key focus was header bidding versus waterfall. As the industry prepares for Google to move to a bidding-only model on AdMob, there is a sense of uncertainty among publishers regarding the impact on revenue. While it's commonly agreed that bidding can reduce latency and improve operational efficiency, publishers are yet to be convinced that it offers a higher eCPM conclusively. The results of bidding tend to vary significantly depending on the game, platform, format, and country. Therefore, most publishers are currently testing a hybrid model that incorporates both waterfall and bidding. However, many publishers are apprehensive about a future with only bidding and the lack of transparency and advanced reporting tools to optimize the process. Industry experts predict that publishers will experience a significant change in their revenue baseline once these Google guidelines come into effect in 2024.
The Balance Between Monetization and Privacy
The focus on user consent and privacy has become more prevalent since the introduction of GDPR, CCPA regulations, and the latest set of guidelines from IAB TCF 2.2. Publishers are under pressure to adopt an approved Consent Management Platform (CMP) before the deadline set by Google for Jan 2024. Consequently, publishers are trying to determine how these regulations will impact their ad monetization revenue. According to industry experts, brands prefer users who have given their consent and are willing to pay more for it. While some publishers have tested and seen a significant increase in eCPM after enabling a CMP, most are still worried about the impact on their revenue. To help publishers navigate the complex privacy landscape, in August, InMobi acquired Quantcast Choice, a CMP that is designed to seamlessly align with rapidly changing global privacy regulations.
Elevating Gameplay with Innovative Ad Formats
User acquisition and retention are two of the primary focus areas for publishers, especially those in the gaming industry who are continually looking for innovative ad formats that are native to the user journey and gameplay to facilitate that. While traditional ad formats work well for ad monetization, publishers are searching for new video and audio formats. Offer walls and no-ad packs are among the in-app purchases that publishers are exploring to diversify revenue, and an upcoming format that is gaining interest is Skip-it, which allows users to purchase tickets to skip ads. Industry experts predict that by 2024, gaming will evolve to offer users a more cohesive experience while safeguarding revenue sources.
While 2024 may pose new challenges with the ever-evolving privacy landscape, it will also provide exciting opportunities for the ad tech industry to grow and evolve.