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Why Are Mobile Game Ads So Bad?

Mobile Game Ads

Ever found yourself perplexed by the quality of mobile game ads? It’s a question that baffles many, and not without reason.

From misleading content to poor design, these ads often miss the mark. But what’s the real issue behind this common problem?

In the following text, we’ll examine the factors that contribute to the subpar state of mobile game advertising, offering insights that might just change how you view those pesky pop-ups.

Why Are Mobile Game Ads On YouTube So Bad?

Mobile Game Ads

Mobile games are just one place you see advertisements; YouTube’s mobile app has cloned low-quality ads for mobile games.

The problem first begs, “Why would developers make such bad ads?” Ads are supposed to attract users to the product; however, these ads sometimes do the opposite with their quality and frequency.  

They generally feature one of the following tropes. A challenge such as “Only 2% of people can solve this puzzle” motivates people to prove the ad wrong. Other times, it’s a “move the needles to help the character get saved” setting.

In this case, the ad will deliberately show mistakes that no one would make. So, people get the urge to show the game how it is done. 

Finally, there are the “makeover” style ads, where you must select helpful tools to either makeover a house, a garden, or, more offensively, a girl. Here too, they use the clickbait of making improbable mistakes. 

These ads are designed to manipulate and appeal to the users’ vanity. They look deliberately accessible and yet seemingly tricky for others. By doing this, they urge the user to click on the ad and play the game for themselves, which leads them to download it. 

These days Google and Facebook share analytical information about the ads, what is working and what isn’t. Therefore, we have to believe that these tricks work. Moreover, the newer developers are also motivated to follow suit because of the success of the initial ads.

Is False Game Advertising Illegal?

Mobile Game Ads

The short answer is “potentially, yes.” FTC has laws against false advertising, which also apply to mobile games. In some cases, the ads are indeed misleading.

A particular example is Gardenscapes. The game’s advertisements mostly show a “pull the pin” kind of game setup, while in reality, the game is similar to Candy Crush. 

However, these ads have mostly stayed under the radar of regulatory agencies because they don’t immediately hamper the health or finances of users.

However, in 2020, the UK regulatory authorities banned advertisements from Gardenscapes due to their misleading nature.

There have also been instances of FTC investigating cases where developers did not fulfill rewards promised to users. The ads that mainly raise concerns with regulatory authorities are the ones that promote gambling or nudge toward a payment. 

Beyond the regulatory action, users have also started to denounce such ads. Dedicated communities on Reddit and YouTube call out the companies that put up such ads.

People have also called out games that do not match their advertisements. In some instances, footage from other games, such as Age of Empire, has been blatantly used, and users call it out. 

Another ad trope that worries users is the so-called “makeover’ task. The ads in this genre, and functions in the game, promote the concept that women must adhere to the social standard of beauty.

Usually, the end goal is pleasing a male character in such games. However, the community has noted the stereotype and is vehemently against it.

Therefore, while authorities could take legal action against them, many games evade it. But the silver lining is that the people have taken note, and public opinion might change the advertisers’ approach.

Why Do Mobile Games Have so Many Ads?

Mobile Game Ads

Almost all free-to-play games rely heavily on advertisements for revenue.

Under this model, users can download the game for free and continue to play it without any fee. There are, however, avenues for monetization, such as paid rewards and power-ups, but they are opted for by few users.

However, games are costly, regardless of the business model. Also, game developers have to invest in user acquisition to ensure enough app downloads. Generating revenue becomes difficult with a “Free-To-Play” model and a handful of in-app purchases.

That is where ads come in. Game developers partner with ad networks on which ads to showcase. Until recently, mid-size developers had little say in selecting ads to run. Therefore, they relied on in-game rewards for ads to maintain retention while generating revenue. 

However, developers have recently started using automated mediation platforms. These provide the data points such as the highest-performing ad networks, the impact of ad frequency on player retention, etc.

Thus, we can now expect developers to have more dynamic control over ads’ type and frequency. There is a flip side to this, however. When developers had little access to ad data, they were conservative in the frequency of ads to maintain customer retention.

In contrast, the new analytics tools may encourage the developers to increase ad frequency if the data motivates them. We hope that the quality of the ads will be improved.

How Do I Get Past Mobile Game Ads?

Mobile ads are part and parcel of free games. However, you can try a few tricks to bypass ads on mobile games.

Skipping it

Firstly, if you’re bothered by the ad’s duration, look for a tiny “x” somewhere on the screen, which will end the ad. However, all ads do not have a skip option. Some make the skip button challenging to locate and lead you to the download page before they do so. 

Going offline

Games dynamically load the ads while you’re playing using your data network. Therefore, the ads automatically stop if you switch your data off or go into airplane mode. 

Go to your setting or control panel and switch off WiFi and cellular data. This step should stop the ads. The trick works well for games that do not need internet access but can’t be used for online games. 

Turn the cellular data access off for the app.

If you wish to stay online while playing, there is still a way to block ads. You can switch off the cellular data access for the game app mainly.

Just like method #2, this will stop the ads on the game. You can access this option under settings. This will work on an iPhone if you keep your WiFi off, while on Android, it stops access to mobile data and WiFi.

How Do I Stop Ads in Games Without Going Offline?

Mobile Game Ads

If your game is played online, there are still a few tricks that may help you block in-game ads: 

Try a VPN with an in-built Ad-Blocker 

VPNs can block ads on third-party apps such as games; thus, you can stay online while playing the game without ads. However, the VPN also sells your data as its business model, so you need to weigh the trade-off.

Use a dedicated Ad-blocker.

You can download specialized Ad-blockers such as Adblock to stop third-party in-app ads. They generally are not free to download, and installing and running them may be complicated.

Purchasing ad-free version

Most games give players the option to pay for blocking ads. If your game does not have this service, you can write to the company and ask them to offer it.

Understandably, you cannot do this for all the games, and it may be a small price for the game(s) you play regularly for an ad-free experience.

In Conclusion

Mobile game ads are not the best. Their content, frequency, and timing can be irritating. However, you can stop them through various methods. For offline games, you can turn off WiFi and mobile data and switch the mobile data access for the game. 

You can opt for a VPN with an ad blocker or a dedicated ad blocker for online games. 

Finally, you can pay for the ad-free service on the game itself. We hope you find this guide helpful. Did our tips work for you? Please let us know in the comments.

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