Unlocking mobile game revenue with cross-team collaboration

September 27 · Nick Schultz · 8 Min read
Cross-team collaboration leads to better ideas, faster implementation, and higher-quality company culture — all of which can result in greater ad revenue for your mobile games.

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There is a lot at stake in the mobile game industry. According to recent reports, mobile games generated $226 billion dollars in revenue last year. For perspective, mobile games generate somewhere between the total economies of the entire nations of Greece and Qatar — that’s a lot of feta.  

Digging deeper, mobile game revenue was split pretty evenly between two different sources: ad revenue ($116 billion) and app store revenue ($110 billion). 

What do these numbers tell us about the mobile gaming industry? They tell us that ad revenue plays a significant role in the financial success of your games. 

The internet is full of articles teaching game developers and publishers how to create and optimize mobile advertising campaigns. We’ve written about this topic ourselves on this blog. But very few zero in on the importance of cross-team collaboration. 

When your game development and marketing teams work together, your company will achieve new levels of success, guaranteed. 

Understanding the mobile gaming landscape

As stated, in-app advertising drives the mobile gaming industry, accounting for more than half of revenue generated. This number is likely to increase in the future. 

Why? Because it can be difficult to implement effective in-app purchase strategies. This revenue stream can be volatile too. Most mobile game developers prefer consistency. 

That’s not to say in-app purchases are a waste of time. But when evaluating the mobile games industry, it’s safe to say that in-game advertising is the preferred monetization strategy for most companies and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. 

No matter how you decide to monetize, you’ll face challenges. For in-app advertising, how do you provide positive experiences that engage users and earn their loyalty. 

Cross-team collaboration can help minimize — or even eliminate — these challenges.

The importance of cross-team collaboration

Effective collaboration between game development and marketing teams often leads to greater organizational success. At the very least, you’ll experience three benefits: 

Better ideas

Generally speaking, cross-team collaboration leads to better ideas.

After all, you’ll have more people contributing their thoughts and opinions. You can then take the best of these ideas and use them to create products that get marketed in more effective ways. This is especially true in the mobile games industry. 

When game developers work with marketing professionals, they can use player data to design specific gameplay elements, characters, levels, etc., that the target audience is sure to enjoy. Marketing can then promote these specific things, leading to more revenue. 

Faster implementation

Building off the last point: When marketing is involved in game development, they know which features to promote in their marketing campaigns. As such, they can design campaigns faster

The faster marketing creates promotional assets, the faster the assets can be used to build game awareness, increase players, and drive additional revenue. 

Quality company culture

Lastly, cross-team collaboration almost always leads to better company culture. 

It makes sense. When team members spend more time together, they have more opportunities to build connections, which naturally increases work satisfaction. 

While company culture won’t directly affect your company’s bottom line, it can still have a significant impact. How so? According to Zippia, happy employees are 13% more productive. They’re also easier to retain, which can dramatically improve company profits. 

4 tips to increase cross-team collaboration

Cross-team collaboration will benefit your mobile game company. The question is, how do you convince development and marketing professionals to work together? Use these four tips: 

1. Build a collaborative environment

First, build an environment that encourages different teams to collaborate. You can do this in a few different ways. For example, you can: 

  • Foster communication: Development and marketing teams have to communicate before they can collaborate. Foster this communication by encouraging teams to talk to each other, directly adding communication tasks to their daily workflows, and even providing them with specific tools to make the entire process easier. Chat apps such as Slack and/or project management tools such as Asana are common in successful teams. 
  • Schedule facetime: By scheduling face-to-face meetings between teams — in-person or virtually, depending on the physical locations of your employees — you can help foster relationships between colleagues, create awareness of each other’s processes, and develop shared goals. 
  • Develop shared goals and KPIs: The only way to develop meaningful collaboration between teams is to create shared goals and KPIs. If you don’t, each team will naturally work toward their own objectives, which will limit their effectiveness. Just make sure your goals and KPIs are realistic and complimentary. If, for example, your main goal is to increase ad revenue, choose KPIs that match, such as more installs. 

2. Integrate ad placements within your game

What should your development and marketing teams collaborate on? There are a dozen potential answers to this question, but none of them are as important as ad placement. 

The best ads are extensions of the games they appear in. Why? Because these kinds of advertisements do not disrupt gameplay, which helps preserve the user experience. 

Development and marketing teams should work together to identify optimal ad placements. Perhaps ads are shown at the end of a level, or when a player loses a life, or when a player needs a special bonus — think rewarded video ads

As always, you need to hit the sweet spot between user experience and ad-driven revenue. The easiest way to do this is integrate your ads seamlessly into your gameplay. And the best way to do that is to encourage development and marketing teams to collaborate. 

3. Test and optimize your approach

Every aspect of your game’s monetization strategy needs to be tested and optimized. 

This is especially true when it comes to in-game advertising, as industry trends and player preferences change on a regular basis. If your strategy doesn’t change with them, you won’t drive as much revenue as you could. Less revenue typically leads to less success. 

You should test and optimize your approach to cross-team collaboration too. Is it working? What can you do to foster more effective communication between your development and marketing teams? 

Once your teams learn to collaborate effectively, they’ll be able to assist each other in optimizing ad monetization strategies. Skeptical? Think about it: employees create feedback loops that make it much easier for them to make adjustments, such as with ad placements, in a timely manner. 

With both teams having access to detailed analytics, they can make data-driven decisions — together and apart — that enhance ad revenue performance. 

For example, developers can learn when users are most tolerant of ads and build more of these opportunities into their games. Marketers will learn which ads perform best and can create content that better matches user dispositions and preferences. 

4. Track and measure success

Testing and optimization are important. But if you don’t track and measure your results, does it even matter? Probably not, which is why you need to commit to this final piece of the puzzle. 

Decide which KPIs you’ll track in regard to ad revenue. Your options include user retention, session count, average session length (ASL), daily active users (DAU), churn rate, average revenue per user (ARPU), lifetime value (LTV), and effective cost per mille (eCPM). 

These KPIs are important because they relate to user engagement and/or revenue. You need to make sure your ad strategy doesn’t discourage users from playing your game. You also need to make sure your ads drive enough revenue to sustain the growth of your company. 

Cross-team collaboration makes it easier to measure and evaluate the results you achieve. It also prevents siloed situations in which one department gleans information but doesn’t share it with other departments, thereby limiting the value of the data collected. 

Drive more ad revenue with cross-team collaboration

Cross-team collaboration leads to better ideas, faster implementation, and higher-quality company culture — all of which can result in greater ad revenue for your mobile games. 

To achieve cross-team collaboration, focus on the tips in this article: build a collaborative environment, integrate ad placements into your game(s), leverage user data the right way, test and optimize your approach, and track and measure your revenue-related successes. 

While it may seem like too much work to foster collaboration between your company’s development and marketing teams, the effort will be more than worth it.