Mobile Monetization

Q&A with Mintegral: How Western Publishers Can Maximize In-App Revenue in APAC

Here’s an interesting paradox: 98% of Google Play revenue comes from free apps. In fact, in-app monetization is one of the most important factors app publishers must consider, with mobile games, in particular, seeing a massive upside. Taking regionality into consideration can allow publishers to maximize in-app revenue, as each region has different nuances. 

Total app revenue continues to grow, with Asia-Pacific (APAC) currently accounting for nearly 60% of worldwide revenue. Publishers who ignore APAC are leaving serious money on the table.

We spoke with Kevin Ford, Senior Marketing Manager at Mintegral, to learn how app developers can best capture in-app revenue in APAC. 

What does the app developer and ad monetization landscape in APAC look like? 

China, Japan, and South Korea are the three largest markets in the APAC region, each with unique audiences to consider and potential barriers to entry. Unlike Western markets, these mature markets have long been dominated by local players, including Tencent, Line, and Kakao, in China, Japan, and South Korea. 

Culturally, mobile gaming audiences in APAC have different wants and needs than Western audiences. APAC mobile gamers tend to favor local IPs and fantasy or anime-style graphic design and even have different playing behavior and tolerances for ad formats. 

With such different landscapes, how can publishers adapt in-app monetization for APAC audiences?

APAC presents itself as a premier region for untapped mobile monetization growth. Let’s break down some of the overarching themes publishers can find success within APAC.

  1. 1. Cost structure: In general, lower-cost in-app purchases tend to lead to better app monetization in the long run. 
  2. 2. Ad formats: In-app ad format opportunities differ from the global norm as APAC audiences have a greater tolerance to watching in-app ad content.
  3. 3. Player behavior: APAC audiences, especially China, are more receptive to subscription models like those seen in MMORPGs. Subscriptions are a highly attractive monetization model that publishers can capitalize on.

What are the nuances between the major markets in the APAC region?

Even within APAC, Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean audiences demonstrate different attitudes and behaviors toward mobile games. 

Chinese gamers exhibit some of the longest time spent in-game per session, with session length lasting 50-75% longer than the global average. Publishers that use ad revenue as a means of monetization may wish to capitalize on longer gaming sessions with interactive ad formats and longer format unskippable ads that warrant a higher price from advertisers.

Japanese mobile gamers are known for their purchasing power and loyalty, equating to a higher lifetime value than players in other regions. 

Korean mobile gamers favor free-to-play games with social elements and multiplayer functionality. Consider monetizing gameplay aspects that support a team dynamic, like multiplayer power-ups. 

Generally speaking, ad experiences that perform better in APAC include rewarded videos, meaning the user receives an incentive to watch the video, and interactive end cards. In one example for Magic Tiles 3: Piano Game, interactive end cards helped improve IPM in Japan by more than 30% compared to standard end cards.

What can app developers do to source the right ads for APAC audiences? 

One impactful change publishers can implement quickly and easily is partnering with a global programmatic ad platform like Mintegral. While Mintegral is a global mobile ad platform, it has an in-depth understanding of APAC’s local markets and is designed to help publishers overcome cross-regional challenges and connect audiences through programmatic auctions. 

Mintegral works with mediation platforms like DT FairBid, allowing the SDK ad network to scale easily into previously untapped regions. In Q1 of 2022, Mintegral launched bidding on the DT FairBid platform, adding even greater control and flexibility for ad buyers. The partnership has led to greater transparency, insight into win/loss ratios, and further local support in APAC, which is of utmost importance to mobile businesses.  

For publishers to improve performance and place competitive bids, look to ad networks that can help to optimize unified auction campaigns with mediation, including A/B testing to compare waterfall and header bidding performance and the functionality to optimize eCPMs and fill rates.

What’s the bottom line for app developers looking to grow globally? 

More than ever, app publishers should be considering revenue optimization and additional revenue streams. 

One approach to increasing profitability is through resource management. Publishers can reduce ongoing costs associated with programmatic platforms by streamlining operations with a strong platform partner.

A second approach is through increasing benchmarks like ARPDAU. Quality mediation partners are essential to maximizing publisher ad revenue. 

Finally, publishers can create new opportunities by building out owned data. Auction analytics are extremely important to advertisers. Understanding placements, impressions, and audience overview will help create efficiencies and reduce costs.  

When global mobile gaming ad revenue growth is the goal, choose a partner platform with global scale and local expertise.

To excel in a region, find a partner that supports the region specifically. If your app garners a lot of regional traffic, look to the best-performing networks to support your goals. Local partners can help navigate difficult-to-penetrate regions, such as China, by supporting ad placements, monetization strategy, improved fill rate, and optimized ad formats. 

About Kevin Ford, Senior Marketing Manager at Mintegral


Kevin Ford is currently a senior marketing manager at Mobvista, and its subsidiary, Mintegral, a leading programmatic advertising platform. Here, he leads the brand and marketing strategy across the US and EMEA. Kevin also has extensive marketing experience in Asia-Pacific, previously working for SaaS and B2B technology startups in China and New Zealand.

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