Playable ads are pretty effective in delivering cost-effective new users and also provide better post-install performance. Learn what the limitation are and how they are being addressed with Joyce Xu, Vice President at ZPLAY, at Casual Connect USA. Find out the current state of playables in the market along with future innovations such as playable ads for 3D and Action games. She observed, “We needed to help Western developers to improve their in-game purchase structure.”
Joyce Xu, Vice President at ZPLAY, has, in the past eight years, worked and led in all areas of this technology company. While the company is based in China, it does mobile game publishing and monetization globally. Joyce is in charge of ZPLAY’s overseas business development.
ZPLAY’s objective is to create value for its customers, for example, by helping them publish their games or designing effective IAP and ad monetization. Before coming to ZPLAY Joyce spent seven years as a financial advisor focused on the TMT industry, doing early stage investments in companies or helping them to raise capital in order to achieve their business goals or grow the company. Their work today is a continuation of helping entrepreneurs commercialize their products.
Achieving Financial Freedom in a Creative Industry
Joyce enjoys the game industry because of the many creative people and adventurous stories. In this industry it is possible for a small team to create a tremendously successful game or even a series of them. They began in the industry as a mobile games agent, playing games all day long to find games suitable for the Chinese audience.
What Joyce enjoys most about this work is the opportunity to talk with different game developers, hearing their stories and game ideas. They describe, “My goal for success is always to see if we can bring a really big volume of users and revenue to our partner developers. That is thrilling when it happens.”
The time in Joyce remembers at ZPLAY with the greatest satisfaction was the first time they helped make a developer a millionaire. They relate, “Achieving financial freedom within a creative industry is not so common or easy. That moment was supported by lots of work, trial and error, and of course luck as well.”
The greatest challenge Joyce faces at ZPLAY is helping them internationalize, better understand and cooperate with foreign working partners and team members.
To those who are interested in a career in this area Joyce recommends being very service oriented and watching for opportunities for innovation. They say, “We are here to help developers, and that is an equal mix of hard, thoughtful work, and also keeping up with what is happening in the industry.”
Finding the Best Publisher
When a developer is looking for a publisher it is essential to find one with experience Joyce emphasizes. The publisher must be able to cover localization, monetization, marketing, promotion and more. And the most important knowledge a publisher must have is how to attract many users and then how to monetize them well.
A publisher must always keep in mind what will bring value to developers. A publisher who can’t do this consistently and at a high level is not providing a worthwhile service for them.
The Global Challenge
ZPLAY is now working with developers from more than twenty counties. Joyce points out that this is only possible because they have, over time, built up a large and capable team who can divide up the work. As well the company constantly faces inter-cultural communication challenges. They must be able to communicate to overseas developers what Chinese players will like because this can be very different compared to Western markets. Although communication is never perfect between global working partners, it is something that ZPLAY and Joyce get better at every year.
There are a couple of things that a difference for ZPLAY in effective marketing. In China it is key to have effective distribution channel relations, especially on Android, and the capability of running ads on those channels. Where in the West there is Google, there are more than 300 channels for China Android. You need at least the top ten of these to reach half the market. ZPLAY has most of these covered.
As well ZPLAY has been improving in cross promotion and paid UA, particularly since they added their own playable ad technology. Previously, the CPI was too high for the LTV of most of their casual games, but that has been changing.
When Joyce is evaluating a potential game she looks for something that will be popular with key stores and markets and will attract many users. Retention is also essential. If these factors are there she is more likely to justify marketing at scale, for example with ZPLAY’s playable ads platform.
Coming Soon in the Game Industry
In the next three to five years they expect mobile gaming to continue to be a hot market with even better phones and greater audience reach. Esports will also continue to expand. ZPLAY is preparing for this by strengthening their capabilities and relations in growing markets. As well, they are prioritizing multi-player games that run on fully synchronized servers to allow for fair competition.
They also expect gaming and supporting ad technology markets to begin consolidating. This may bring investment opportunities or encourage collaboration with peer publishing companies. For ZPLAY this has already started. They bought into a studio that has the technology for strong multi-player capabilities. They have invested in two publishing companies with regional strength in key overseas markets. And they have diversified their own ad tech to include next generation playable ads which brings a real boost for their promotion capabilities in all markets.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.