Leveling up the gaming industry…

Interstitials vs. Banner Ads

June 26, 2014

The Debate Rages:  Interstitials vs. Banner Ads…

Choosing the Right Ad Experience for Your Games

Written by:  Japheth Dillman, CoFounder & CCO of YetiZen


We all know that games are an immersive experience.  And we as developers create the reality that sucks in players giving them the illusion of escape.  But we must also be mindful to not disrupt this experience if we want players to linger in this reality.

This brings us to ads.  Ads are a pivotal way to monetize in today’s app/game world.  But how do we maintain the immersive gameplay experience for the player while still delivering the monetizing lifeblood a developer needs to sustain one’s self?  Even now, the debate often rages, Interstitial Ad or Banner Ad?  Here are a few key rules of ad display that can keep your players engaged and within your immersive gameplay experience.  Let’s explore…

Interstitials vs. Banner Ads 

Interstitial ad units, often full screen ad displays, are usually 10 times bigger than the size of traditional banner ads, and generally appear within the flow of regular content. Given that the current generation of game players is defined by a shrinking attention span, interstitials have become an almost guaranteed way to get the users attention and monetize at a significantly higher rate (InMobi’s Appnomic’s handbook shows that interstitials have roughly double the conversion rate on Android).  Interstitial ads have also been shown to significantly capture the user’s attention at much higher rates than traditional ad banners.  However, because gameplay is completely halted and disrupted when using an interstitial ad there are a few well-defined places where these types of ads work best:    between game levels, before and after games with short gameplay sessions, and when opening a store to announce a sale have proven to be effective uses.  Interstitials are also often used in lieu of loading screens… if a user must stare at a screen and wait, why not monetize?

But!  We recommend that developers not rely on one method of ad display.  We’ve learned that rotating ad formats can reduce ad fatigue for players and help drive higher ad engagement.  And while it is often tempting to use interstitials more frequently to improve monetization, we’ve observed that developers see maximized eCPMs when interstitials are used every 2-3 minutes. Interstitial ads used at certain critical junctures within the game can lead to a negative user experience, and this is where banner placement becomes king.  Ad Banners, while providing lower overall eCPM and conversion rates, can be used more heavily during gameplay without breaking the perception of reality we’ve created for the player.

What about me?

But what type of interstitial is best used for my game?  There are, after all, several types of interstitials ranging from video ads, to rich media, to static, to timed interval (ones which persist at predefined intervals every X amounts of time).  1. Static interstitials are the  most effective in driving engagement in games with short bite-sized gameplay experiences. In this case, static interstitials can quickly transmit a message or be used to reiterate a singular message multiple times.  2. For games with longer gameplay intervals we see that rich media or video interstitials are best served.  This allows the player to rest their mental state between sessions for a moment while these interstitials deliver higher eCPMs.  This not only helps you monetize but also reenergizes the player to charge through more gameplay, thus increasing your game’s engagement levels!  Conclusion. The bottom line is that static interstitials see roughly a 20% click-through-rate while video interstitials see a tremendous boost in engagement.

Hopefully you can apply these methods to enhance your players’ ad experiences, giving them better quality immersive gameplay all while you bring money to the bank!

To help you develop a deep ad strategy for your games, I highly recommend checking out InMobi’s Appnomic’s handbook!

Silicon Valley 40 under 40: Blake Commagere

December 14, 2013

Our awesome mentor Blake Commagere is one of Biz Journals 40 under 40. You go Blake!

Blake Commagere created the first version of “Causes on Facebook,” which has raised over $20 million for various charities and created the social gaming category on social networks by developing some of the most popular apps (Zombies and Vampires) on Facebook Inc. to date with more than 50 millions users.

Read more…

YetiZen @ AppNation

December 6, 2013

(Sana Choudary, CEO of YetiZen at AppNation)

Our CEO, Sana Choudary was invited to speak at AppNation on Tuesday afternoon on game investment patterns. The media has been portraying game investments as dead and that VC money doesn’t invest in game studios, instead deals goes to platform companies — however, Sana discovered this was not true. In fact, our numbers show the complete opposite.

The talk was also covered by Dean Takahashi at VentureBeat this morning.

If you missed the talk, you can check out Sana’s slides here. Feel free to tweet her questions and comments @SanaOnGames.

Special thanks to our mentor Jerry Darko from Raymond James for providing us the raw data in our research. The data is also made publicly here. If you have any questions on the raw data please contact him via linkedin or email at jerry[dot]darko[at]raymondjames[dot]com

November 20, 2013

From YetiZen Gamasutra Press Release

Launch of the 1st YetiZen Boot Camp Program for Latin American Game Studios

Raising all ships, one game studio at a time

YetiZen, the wildly popular accelerator for gaming companies and the host of the YetiZen Innovation Lab has launched its first ever boot camp program for game studios coming from emerging gaming ecosystems.

YetiZen recognizes that there are many promising game studios across the world. Unfortunately, due to a lack of a developed ecosystem and with it limited access to information, connections, and mentorship these companies are often unable to achieve the success they otherwise can. San Francisco on the other hand is the world’s densest community of game developers anywhere and has in abundance what these other ecosystem’s lack. The boot camp program is YetiZen’s solution to address this problem and raise all ships in gaming.

In collaboration with Global Game Designers Guild or GGDG, YetiZen’s Latin American partner YetiZen has brought nine game studios from across Colombia and Mexico to the YetiZen boot camp. Four of these companies are attending the boot camp online while the other five are in person at the YetiZen Innovation Lab.

Read more…

Selfpubd launches first ever game discount bundle for iOS

October 18, 2013

Selfpubd, a YetiZen portfolio company, has created a process where iPhone users can purchase games well below the ninety-nine cent price point, and still completely use iTunes distribution. The company, through it’s game promotion site Thumb Arcade, has leveraged it’s over 300 independent game companies to put together this groundbreaking discount bundle. This first offer includes ten games, multiple award winners and featured titles, at a 79% discount. The bundle, as it’s called, has a retail value of $23.90 and is on sale for just $5 (equivalent to 50 cents each).

“We were told that it can’t be done,” says Andy Rosic, founder of Selfpubd, the parent company of Thumb Arcade. “But Selfpubd’s central goal is to reimagine the seriously disjointed app discovery process, so we stayed at it until it became a reality.” becomes available on October 18, 2013 at 6am PST, and will run through October 31st, unless sales reach their maximum cutoff and it closes early. Game developers get an affordable discovery boost, and game playing users get a discount where it didn’t exist before.

Who won the August Money Game Design Jam?

September 14, 2013

It’s the moment you have all been waiting for! After multiple painstaking days of combing through the game design documents of our three finalists, Radio City Music Brawl, SuperScrapers, and Entrepreneur from our August 23-25th – Money Game Design Jam, we have reach a conclusion!

Join us in congratulating our winner of the $15,000 grand prize:

Kenny Anderson


It was a tough decision to make between the three teams, but Kenny’s game design won us over.

We want to thank everybody that participated in our Money Game Design Jam! We hope to see you again in the near future!

YetiZen Portfolio Company Exits!

September 5, 2013

A portfolio company of our YetiZen Accelerator Program has exited!

“PlayFirst has acquired the two-person startup Big Head Mode to improve its capability to target its players with useful cross promotions.”

“San Francisco-based PlayFirst is also hiring the founders of Big Head Mode. Tipatat Chennavasin will join PlayFirst as director of product management, and Richard Au will be PlayFirst’s senior director of engineering. PlayFirst chief exec Marco DeMiroz said in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat that Big Head Mode’s capability to predict the behavior and tastes of gamers makes it relevant to PlayFirst, which wants to effectively cross-promote its games to players who are likely to accept the promotions.”

Read more at VentureBeat