Vungle, the leading performance marketing platform for in-app video ads, recently released an in-depth mobile advertising benchmark report for 2017, providing insights for how advertisers and marketers can engage with their most valuable mobile consumers and increase their mobile return on investment (ROI).
Here are a few of the key takeaways from the report.
Andrew Sheppard has had a productive career – playing key roles at companies like Kabam, hi5, Electronic Arts and Outspark. Now, as the newly appointed CEO of GREE International Entertainment, Inc., he will share his expertise and insights with the audience at Casual Connect Europe in Berlin, Germany, as its keynote speaker on February 7.
So what type of experience does Andrew bring to the conference and what can developers and other games industry professionals hope to learn? Here is a quick look back at Andrew’s career and what to look forward to at Casual Connect Europe.
2016 proved to be a fruitful year for Vungle, with the company reaching new milestones this last year. They are now the trusted ad platform for more than 25,000 mobile apps and serve two billion video views monthly on over 560 million devices across the globe. The company was consistently ranked No. 1 for cross-platform user retention – surpassing even Facebook and Google with gaming apps on iOS and Android in an AppsFlyer Performance Index Report.
How did these accomplishments come about? Here is a quick look at some of the key takeaways from Vungle’s successes.
Casino-oriented attendees at Casual Connect Tel Aviv packed lecture hall 2 at The Charles Bronfman Auditorium earlier this month to dive into everything casino – from sweeping overviews of the social casino industry to detail-oriented lectures on building apps to ways non-casino developers can break into the casino industry.
Highlights included a social casino industry overview by industry leader Playtika’s Elad Kushnir in which he predicted casino operators will ultimately find it difficult to capitalize on social casino and will exit the market. Anatolii Henis of rising star Murka dove into how the company crafted a poker game for a younger generation. PlayStudios’ John Lin looked eastward and discussed how social casino is evolving in Asian markets.
Plarium started out humbly enough in 2009 on Russia’s social networks with only a poker game and a farming game to its name. Today they are the #1 hardcore game developer on Facebook and a major force on mobile that is continuing to grow quickly. How did Plarium get from one to the other? It all comes down to its content, its employees and its players – with a dash of marketing thrown in.
Ilyon has only been on the scene since 2013, but they already have over 40 titles and are continuing to see strong user acquisition and retention growth every month among their various titles. The company, which was started by four former Israeli military officers who worked on their game projects at home, has since grown to 40 employees with an office in Israel.
The company started around a simple bubble-shooter game with only one game mode which Ilyon COO Ilya Molo says had a “total respectable” 2M downloads. They then took the feedback and data they received from that game and worked on it full-time to improve it. The resulting changes led to 1000% growth in downloads and revenue. Today, the same app has more than 14M downloads.
Ilyon has continuously used this model to grow: Reinvesting in its games as it reaches new thresholds – creating new levels, hiring new designers, adding game modes and improving in-app purchases. Additionally, they create special bubble-shooter apps to take advantage of current events such as the Olympics or holidays.
Funding is a vastly important part of starting a new studio, and M&A is vital for large companies to infuse themselves with new talent and fresh IPs. Casual Connect Tel Aviv has got both covered in the Funding and M&A track, where various partners will be on hand to talk about effective ways to expand.
Fast Track to China
One of the major elements of both funding and M&A is China, both going into and going out of the country. There will be multiple sessions dealing with this in China and Asia in general, including Doing Business in China: The Perspective of an Entrepreneur Who Did It given by Reinaldo Normand, Investment Partner at GameFounders and Entering Asia by Sean Lee, Chief Corporate Development Officer at Wargaming Group.
For those looking to be acquired by a Chinese company, there’s a lot to consider. It can be hard to reach out to such companies or even know what they’re looking for. Corum Group Executive Vice President, Jim Perkins, has dealt with several M&A’s in the region, including the sale of Digital Extremes to Leyou Technologies and will address the subject in the session Is Your Company’s Buyer In Asia?
Large Purchases, Big Deals
The panels for Funding and M&A also have a focus on the Chinese region. With companies like Supercell, Playtika, Smaato and Media.net being subjects of M&A activity and China, it’s important to know what’s causing these deals and what happens to the companies. In the panel M&A in China – What is Driving Acquisitions by Chinese Firms?, Perfect World Head of Global Investment Bill Wang, CV Capital Adviser Jim Ying, and Youzu Interactive Vice President of Corporate BD Yuli Zhao will be moderated by Jim Perkins, Corum Group Executive Vice President and will talk about all qualities of these acquisitions from both sides.
While there have been some of the largest purchases in the mobile/casual industry instigated by Chinese companies, some think the investments from Chinese companies into Western markets has only begun. Bill Wang, Head of Global Investment at Perfect World, Ringo Zhu, Director Business Development for North America at CMGE, and Reinaldo Normand, Investment partner at GameFounders, will discuss in the panel Jumping the Great Wall – Funding Insights for China moderated by Jason Della Rocca, Co-Founder and Indie Evangelist at Execution Labs will talk about what Western studios can expect when exploring investment from China.
How to Pitch Your Company
The panels continue to talk about innovations that will drive investment, with voices coming from all around the world. Jim Ying, Adviser at CV Capital and Guy Bendov, CEO of SIDEKICK Games will participate in a the panel What’s the Next Big Innovation Opportunity in Games? moderated by Xiang Lin, Partner at Troodo Mobile.
Regardless of innovations, it can be hard to pitch an idea to investors. Jason Della Rocca, co-founder and Indie Evangelist at Execution Labs, will give tips in this session: Pitching Pro: 10 Non-Obvious Red Flags to Avoid When Seeking Investment. Sebastian Storfner, Director of Corporate Development at GREE International Entertainment, will also address the subject during the session The Changing Investment and M&A Scene in Mobile Gaming: Opportunities for Developers.
Seize the Opportunities
Whether you’re looking for investments or hoping to invest, there will be plenty of customers at Casual Connect Tel Aviv on November 1-3. Look to network during the formal events that will be offered, in addition to between the various sessions and panels. Find out more about the Funding And M&A track and more at TelAviv.CasualConnect.org.
When seeking knowledge on a particular subject, like social/mobile gaming, it’s best to consult with the people who have already been there and achieved success. With the Industry Insights track at Casual Connect Tel Aviv, top people in the games industry will share their knowledge about regional and global strategies, lead off by Playful Shark founder Goldy G.
Sessions will get underway with Baris Ozistek, CEO of Netmarble EMEA, who will talk about some takeaways from launching products in multiple Asian markets. In the session, ‘Learning to Succeed in Asia with Netmarble Case Studies’ they’ll detail what works and what doesn’t when localizing a game in the territory.
This is part of a series on the convergence of video games and the casino industry and opportunities for non-casino game developers. Part 1 focused on mobile games. Part 2 focused on skill-based games. This is the final article in the series and focuses on esports and virtual reality.
Esports and virtual reality are coming to casinos. At the Downtown Grand in Las Vegas, esports have already arrived and at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) esports and virtual reality were on display in major ways. Multiple panels were dedicated to the topic of esports and Gamblit Gaming showcased the possible future of VR and esports on casino floors with their G-Sports station and Virtual Reality Cube (VRC).
This is part of a series on the convergence of video games and the casino industry and opportunities for non-casino game developers. This article focuses on skill-based games. Part 1 focuses on mobile games. Part 3 focuses on spectator events such as esports and virtual reality.
At the recent Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, panels and attractions with companies such as Caesars, IGT, Gamblit Gaming, GameCo and Competition Interactive made one thing abundantly clear: The video game and casino industries are converging. This promises not only new sources of revenue for casinos, but new opportunities for game developers outside the casino industry as well.