By Ori Meiry, Head of Social Acquisition, yellowHEAD
Earlier this month, yellowHEAD had the pleasure of discussing user acquisition and retention for mobile games at Casual Connect USA 2017 in Seattle. Together with three leading players in the social casino arena – DoubleDown Interactive, Zynga and Playtika – we shared the latest trends we foresee developing in 2018 when it comes to maximizing acquisition campaigns.
After completing game development, marketing is the most difficult task faced by new game companies. MyTona achieved great success from their first self-published title and at Casual Connect Asia 2017 they shared their post-launch advertising experience and some “hacking” tips to acquire high quality users while maneuvering through the challenges of post-launch marketing.
yellowHEAD will be on hand at Casual Connect USA this August in Seattle to provide developers and publishers with valuable insights on UA, ASO, SEO, and more. The company has a long and storied relationship with the conference, including recently at February’s European show where yellowHEAD Head of ASO Sagi Dekel discussed effective ASO strategies. At Casual Connect USA, Head of Social Ori Meiry will join a panel of experts on user acquisition and retention – where he will discuss yellowHEAD’s unique approaches to these topics and how they’ve helped others meet their marketing goals and grow their business.
The company also often hosts a booth at Casual Connect conferences – and Casual Connect USA will be no different. yellowHEAD Head of Growth Merav Katz Gershuni notes that it provides a dedicated space to meet game developers and publishers and discuss ways to help them succeed in their advertising and UA goals. “We’re also looking forward to meeting our clients and friends, catching up on their new games, and raising a glass or two to our fruitful cooperation,” Merav says of Casual Connect USA.
I would advise to spend time to really understand what UA encompasses. - Saikala SultanovaClick To Tweet
So far in 2017, we have witnessed great improvements for user acquisition in gaming. Join Saikala Sultanova (currently Director of User Acquisition, Mobile at Ubisoft, and Head of User Acquisition at Space Ape Games at the time of speaking) during her session at Casual Connect Asia. She shared Space Ape Games’ best practices and latest findings, when it comes to supporting new game launches. One of the key takeaways that Saikala highlighted was: “To make sure that you always have a backup plan. So if you have a plan one to build a simulation, make a plan B because when things change and you go with your game to global launch and you have this ultimate goal so you will have plans A, B and C… If you have three different options, it helps you move towards the same goal.” Listen in to get your “UA takeaway” of the day!
Don't be afraid to make your players work harder in events but make it worth it. - Bryan MashinterClick To Tweet
Bryan Mashinter is Game Director for DragonVale at Backflip Studios, with a major focus on the creative direction. At the time Bryan joined the company, they consisted of 14 people and were just beginning to focus on more than one project at a time, so it was essential to have someone who could keep things from falling through the cracks. Bryan filled this role at the production level, organizing projects, setting schedules and, in general, assisting the company in moving towards executing their creative vision goals. One of which, as for any company, is to keep users and encourage them to pay. The Backflip Studios team has discovered: lapsed users want to know elements of the game have changed but still feel familiar. “Don’t be afraid to make your players work harder in events but make it worth their efforts and watch out for fatigue”, Bryan advices. They explained in detail how to make the most out of events in their Casual Connect Europe 2017 lecture.
Surprisingly, many developers invest enormous amounts of time, effort and resources in developing games or apps that are built on very shallow foundations. It’s great to have a strong product vision, but without understanding the market situation, competition, target group, acquisition costs and performance benchmarks, you are navigating blindly. As a result, it’s highly likely that you will run into trouble – wasting your time and your money in the process.
The cost of producing a mobile game has increased dramatically, and so have the marketing costs associated with getting your game noticed. Big publishers like Kabam work with strong IPs – Marvel in this case – and budgets of around $14M per game. They also have a large user base waiting for new titles. If you’re looking to compete with these industry giants, it’s vital to start the journey by heading in the right direction.
No matter how big or small your studio is, one fact remains true: paying for users is expensive. Paying for good users is even more expensive. And being able to retain them is the philosopher’s stone that every publisher desires in order to succeed in the mobile ecosystem.
This article is not a diatribe against companies offering user acquisition services or against publishers who decide to use a paid strategy to increase their user base. With good performance and proper management of costs and life cycle, paid acquisition can be very beneficial and a great way to accelerate traction for your games.
This article aims to show there’s life beyond paid advertising. We are going to demonstrate how we succeed in increasing our user base by using alternative strategies and tactics that required no investment.
Matthieu Burleraux is the Business Development Director at Pocket PlayLab. The company is helping to provide mentorship on different matters to developer Cupcake, which the company invested $1 million into.
“We are helping them understand how to work around game KPIs, including in user acquisition, using these KPIs to optimize the game as well as their marketing campaign,” said Matthieu. “For example, we are focusing a lot on the daily cohorts, the LTV45 associated to them, the CPI, retention numbers, etc. We are also starting to help them on producing visual assets for UA and provide mentorship regarding developing the game on new platforms.”
“Before making the decision to work with Cupcake, we looked at the basic KPIs (ARPU, ARPPU, retention, virality, DAU, etc.) and their evolution over time, but we also looking into UA KPIs such as the CPI they had, ROI on UA, etc.” Matthieu continued. “The goal was for you to see if the game was sustainable and if we could grow it.”
New tech innovations make you be on your toes and catch up; otherwise, you are behind. - Paivi PutseppClick To Tweet
In a lecture entitled Mobile UA Tips from the Inside Paivi Putsepp-Seufert, Business Development Officer of Unity Ads at Unity Tehnologies, Paivi described what people consider best practices for mobile UA. If you would like to know more about how to run a successful mobile UA campaign, be sure to watch the video of Paivi’s presentation at Casual Connect Tel Aviv below and note the tips she offers there. Some tips that Paivi offered regarding best video campaign practice: use multiple videos, targeting should be done based on data and not assumptions, and use an optimal video length of 22 seconds. To learn more, tune in to the full lecture video below.