App retention is an incredibly important metric for all developers, especially when considering the long-tail revenue on your game. The longer your users continue to play your game, the more overall revenue you gain and the more likely your app is to be a financial success. Your choice of in-game advertising has a big impact on retention rates, and – generally – the more intrusive and unwelcome the ad type (pop-ups, banners, unskippable interstitials, etc.) the faster retention rates drop.

In the first specific study of non-intrusive In-Play ads and their impact on retention, Neon Play saw no impact all the way up to D28!

That’s big news for the future of player friendly monetisation strategies, so let’s break it down.


Neon Play did this experiment in their awesome idle/tycoon game Idle Army Base: Tycoon Game. They only used In-Play ads to keep the data clean, and integrated those ads throughout the gameplay experience. Overall, a sample of 1100 players was used.

That cohort of players was split into three groups:

The control: These users were shown no ads at all to serve as a baseline retention for the game.

5 In-Play ads: These users were exposed to 5 non-intrusive ads in gameplay sessions.

10 In-Play ads: These users were exposed to 10 non-intrusive ads in gameplay sessions.

Retention was measured everyday for the first week, then at D14, and at D28.

So what did Neon Play actually discover?


We kind of spoiled it in the title and intro of this case study, but… No impact on retention!

You can see in the below graph the exact figures and, while there is a small difference in the later days of the research these fall within the margin-of-error for the test. In other words, the difference is as likely due to chance as it is the ads.


More and more people are playing mobile games today than ever before. Advertisers will always go where the people are, and that means that ad spend in games is only going to increase in the years to come. Here at Admix, our one goal is to develop solutions that let everyone win. Solutions that are developer first, advertiser friendly, and protect the gameplay experience to maximise fun for the end user. 

This research is a really strong indicator that In-Play is meeting that goal of ours. The ads in Idle Army Base were no barrier to player fun so didn’t cause any of those players to drop off. The core experience that Neon Play intended was maintained in a way that lets them generate great revenue at the same time.

We honestly couldn’t be happier with that result, and we can’t wait to help more developers enter the world of player friendly advertising this year.

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