Top Mobile Game Monetization Trends for 2023

Top Mobile Game Monetization Trends for 2023

by Andrea Knezovic

Creating an outstanding mobile game is one thing but monetizing it is a different beast entirely. There are many monetization strategies you can choose from. However, not all of them work in 2023. That’s why we have compiled a list of top mobile game monetization trends. If used right, these strategies will maximize your mobile game revenue. 

1. In-App Ads

One of the biggest mobile game monetization trends in 2023 will continue to be in-app ads. This model has proven to be very effective for developers.

Players can enjoy a mobile game for free, while the developer earns revenue from mobile ads that show up in the game. Advertisers are also happy to show their ads and acquire new users.

In fact, users remember in-app ads 47% of the time. That attests to their effectiveness. Moreover, a study done by Ipsos showed that 50% of users find mobile ads visually pleasing.

In 2023, the emphasis will be on user experience. Users don’t want to see intrusive ads or ads that are irrelevant. Moreover, if a user is bombarded with too many ads, the user experience will suffer.

Therefore, in 2023, developers need to strike a balance between the number of ads and the quality of the ads.

In-game ads come in different formats and these are the 5 most important ones:

  • Rewarded ads
  • Interstitial ads
  • Playable ads
  • Native banner ads
  • Offerwall

Choosing the right mobile game ad format will depend on the game type and its monetization goals. 

It’s also important to choose the right ad network and use ad mediation to maximize your ad revenue. (I’m going to talk about ad mediation later in the article, so keep on reading).

Developers also need to think carefully about what type of ad formats they’re using. This brings me to my next point.

ecample of in-app rewarded video ads for mobile games

Rewarded Video Ads Ads Should Be the Focus of Ad Monetization

Rewarded video ads are one of the most effective ad formats in 2023. They work particularly well for mobile games.

Here’s the concept behind rewarded videos. The user chooses to watch the video ad in exchange for an in-app reward. That makes this ad format popular among gamers. In fact, rewarded videos have the highest eCPM of any other ad format.

Not only that, but video ads, in general, produce great results. A study has shown that in-app video ads get 56% better CTRs than banner ads.

Furthermore, studies have shown that most players don’t mind watching an ad in exchange for a reward, especially ones who don’t spend on in-app purchases. It’s a great way for players to get more coins, lives, energy, or even special items, without having to pay for it.

The Importance of Playable Ads

Another in-app format designed specifically for mobile games are playable ads. This type of ad allows the user to play a demo of a game before downloading it. Mobile games that use playable ads type saw an increase in conversion rates, revenue, and even user retention. 

According to Emarketer’s survey among US agency professionals, 28% of them found playable ads the most effective ad format. In fact, these ads perform up to 8 times better than interstitial ads (SmartyAds).

Playable ads come with a higher CPI but remain effective because they help reach valuable users. Facebook and Google have recognized this as well and added playable ads to their ad network inventory. 

in-app purchases in call of duty mobile game

2. In-App Purchases

If you already have a big fanbase and are established in the industry, it might make sense to make users pay for your game.

However, if you’re an indie developer and this is your first project, a paid game will probably not work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t monetize your game.

If you want to make your mobile game free to download, but still make money from it, in-app purchases are the way to go. According to AppAnnie, in 2022, users will spend 156.5 billion in app stores.

This way, the players can play the game for free. Once they get into it, they have the option to pay for additional content, extra lives in the game, coins, gems, etc.

What’s important to get this model right is to be strategic about pricing. Usually, what works best is if you offer both cheaper and more expensive items. Time-limited offers and bundles are also very popular with players – that way they get a bang for their buck.

As a developer, you also need to make it clear from the very beginning that there are additional purchases in the game. That way you avoid being perceived as deceiving the users.,

Furthermore, you should introduce in-app purchases gradually and make sure that the players understand where the store is located.

Another interesting strategy for in-app purchases is to create offers based on the player’s level. For example, someone who just started playing will get a starter pack bundle offer.

mobile game monetization statistics

Here’s what Jovan Milenkovic, founder of KommandoTech has to say about in-app purchases.

“I think we will see the continued rise of virtual goods and in-app purchases as one of the best ways to monetize apps.

People have been spending their real hard-earned cash on virtual currency for a long time now before smartphones even existed. Now that credit cards are directly linked to accounts, and power-ups can be bought at the click of a button, it makes monetization that much easier.

You can always count on competitive gamers spending whatever is necessary to compete at the highest level. Whether in the form of extra lives, special items or extra content, a couple of bucks doesn’t seem to matter to most gamers.

Even if it’s to simply buy a cool-looking piece of armor for style and status points within the gaming community, that has no real benefit in or outside the online game.

In other words, in-game purchases and virtual goods are here to stay and continue to be one of the best ways to monetize any mobile game.”

indie mobile game screenshot example
Monument Valley is an example of a successful paid game

3. Paid Games

While in-app purchases generally work better than paid games, this is still a mobile game monetization trend that’s worth mentioning. If you’re an established mobile game publisher with a large fanbase, paid games make sense.

For example, Minecraft is a paid mobile game, but it still made it to the list of top-grossing games in the app stores.

Also, some gamers don’t like in-app purchases. Those users are often willing to pay upfront and avoid ads or having to pay for coins, gems, and other content.

So weigh out whether that makes sense for your game or not.

4. Subscription Model

More and more game makers have started adding subscriptions to their games.

Here’s how it works.

Gamers make regular payments to gain access to additional game content, features, and items or to get an ad-free gaming experience. Some subscriptions are auto-renewable, while others are non-renewing.

In 2023, one type of subscription will continue to be more popular than others – battle passes.

They are non-renewing subscriptions that last for a set amount of time. In most cases, they come in the form of battle pass seasons. During this time, players get an opportunity to unlock different battle pass rewards.

Battle passes used to be limited to mid-core games. Today, they are present in all sorts of games and genres, from Fortnite and PUBG Mobile to Archero and Homescapes.

Subscriptions are most commonly used as an additional monetization model. This brings us to the next monetization trend – a mixed monetization strategy.

5. A Hybrid Monetization Strategy

Even though it’s the last model we’re including, this is perhaps one of the biggest mobile game monetization trends. This hybrid monetization model allows developers to tap into multiple revenue streams.

Many games in 2023 are not choosing between in-app ads, in-app purchases, and subscriptions, but rather combining them. This seems to work best because some users prefer to watch rewarded ads to get a reward, some prefer making a purchase, while others are interested in paying for a subscription.

However, all of this depends on the mobile game genre.

Here are some tips on how to make a hybrid model work for your game.

A common combo is utilizing in-app ads and in-app purchases. In this monetization model, in-app purchases tend to be the main revenue source, while ads are there to complement it.

According to Facebook Audience Network, 86% of developers that included ads in their IAP monetization noticed either no changes or got increased IAP numbers. This shows ads don’t hinder purchases and can increase them in many cases.

The best ad format that works with in-app purchases is rewarded video. According to ironSource, it can boost purchases by up to 6x! They work well because they are player-initiated and deliver in-game rewards. But most importantly, they can give users a taste of rewards that are available for purchase.

For example, players get various boosts by watching ads and that helps them advance quicker. However, when there are no more rewarded video ads to watch. The only other way to get these boosts is to make an in-app purchase.

6. Meta Layer Monetization

Traditionally, most casual mobile games monetized their core gameplay only. These games offer players things like moves, lives, energy, etc. Anything players need to progress through core gameplay.

In the last couple of years, this has changed.

More and more games in the huge category of casual games are finding additional ways to monetize. One of the most popular ways to do that is by adding different meta layers on top of the core gameplay. For example, a collectible meta, RPG meta, light construction and customization meta, and narrative meta.

A good example of such a game is Project Makeover. On top of its match-3 gameplay, the game includes a narrative and customization meta.

Some games monetize directly via meta layers, while others indirectly benefit from them.

For example, games purposely limit the time players can spend in the meta layer per day. If they want to play longer, they should pay. Some games even bring special meta layer currencies to the table.

Indirectly, meta elements boost retention and engagement, which should ultimately bring more revenue.

Final Thoughts on Mobile Game Monetization Trends

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to successfully monetize your mobile game in 2023.

Now we want to hear from you.

What do you think will be the biggest mobile game monetization trends in 2023? Did we miss something?

Let us know in the comments below!

To stay in the loop, subscribe to our newsletter. We bring you the latest news and hottest trends regarding mobile apps and games!


About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 200,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018.

Mobile Game Monetization: Models and Strategies for 2023

Mobile Game Monetization: Models and Strategies for 2023


Learn about the best mobile game monetization models and strategies that will help you maximize your game revenue in 2023!
Rewarded Video Ads: Statistics & Best Practices for 2023

Rewarded Video Ads: Statistics & Best Practices for 2023



All you need to know about rewarded video ads. How they work, where to place them, and what to keep in mind when doing so? Read to find out.
In-App Ads: Ultimate Guide for Game Publishers

In-App Ads: Ultimate Guide for Game Publishers



Looking for that one article that will tell you all you need to know about in-app ads? Look no further and read our comprehensive guide.
In-App Purchases Guide for Successful Mobile Game Monetization

In-App Purchases Guide for Successful Mobile Game Monetization



What are in-app purchases in mobile games? What are the types? How do top-grossing games implement them? We got it all covered.



Mobile Games

Mobile Marketing

Mobile Apps

Mobile Game Dissections