The goal of our meetups is to bring people and businesses together, and share important knowledge that can help our industry grow. We recently hosted a very successful meetup in Helsinki and now that the “party” is over and we’re all back home recuperating from all the fun, there are quite a few insights that can be learned from the mobile industry leaders who attended.
Check out “3 tips” on game growth from these mobile wizards
You are not the industry standard!
4 companies are controlling roughly 90% of top 50 grossing gaming income in the United States (Supercell, King, Niantic, Machine Zone) – they are buying the majority of volume – don’t compare yourself with them by following “market assumptions”. Instead, be clear & define your own expectations and metrics yourself regardless of market convention.
With tight collaboration of Marketing, Finance and Analytics – In 3 months we have decreased CPI with 25%, increased ROI with 65% and exceeded all metrics we were told were impossible to achieve.
Control over speed
Generating generic LTV numbers (even by country & platform) and setting CPI’s accordingly is as logical as dividing the value of the stock market with the amount of stocks – You end up paying too much for the majority and never reach high value customers.
What you ultimately should concentrate time and effort on is buying highly targeted players with potential to spend in your game Ask yourself – do you have a team capable of effectively handling UA efforts in 50 geo’s over 20 UA networks? If not, concentrate your energy and budget to work with partners and geo’s that make sense and master those first.
Recognize opportunity cost of capital
Is your budget unlimited? If not – every dollar spent somewhere is a dollar away from somewhere else. The more you market somewhere the more traction you get, ask yourself what the best use of your budget is.
You might want to market everywhere, but splitting up your budget to very small pieces may not ultimately benefit you as you need volume to learn and generate patterns to optimize on. So start by optimizing and concentrating your spend on lucrative key markets and networks first, then expand on retained cash flow as you grow profitably.
Focus on LTV as your main KPI
Managing a game is like managing any other service business. You need to measure KPIs in order to align your team and improve in them. The most important KPI to improve on is LTV. This KPI bakes in retention, engagement and ARPDAU and it’s the one that allows you to justify marketing expenses and grow faster. In order to optimize LTV it’s important to be able to measure LTV for different cohorts and segments and not just the average LTV.
Leverage Existing Game IP and Narrative IP – Innovate by creating a new mix
Leveraging IP allows you to reduce marketing costs. It’s cheaper to focus on existing game play IP and mix it with narrative IP. You need to innovate but it’s safer to focus on new mixes than trying to create new IP.
Trace-back ad revenue to double your traffic
Most games today have ads, even the top grossers. Tracing-back your ad revenue means that you can buy at higher CPIs with more confidence. A 25% increase in CPI can get you access to twice the amount of traffic.
Focus on high quality users
Define 3-5 “soft” KPIs such as a finished tutorial, reaching level 5 or boosting a weapon which will help you to evaluate players’ behavior in the first 2-3 days. Next, use “hard” KPIs such as a paying conversion, number of payers or ARPU. Combine these to understand which campaigns should be stopped, which have high potential and which are clearly attracting great users and should be boosted with a larger budget.
Get more from existing users by segmentation
Analyze data from your existing user base to understand what spenders have in common, who your whales are and what’s the typical behavior of churned users shortly before they leave for good. Use these insights to segment users and define personalized communication or pricing. You can double your revenue with an existing users base!
Indie tip for premium games
There are limited number of ways on to promote a paid game. This hack worked fantastically for our game (Octagon): create a desktop version of your game and publish it in the Mac App Store, Steam, Kongregate and other browser based portals for FREE. Cross-promote your desktop game to your PAID mobile game using big store buttons on the desktop game’s main screen. If you add progress synchronization across devices, people will love it and eventually buy the mobile version to play wherever they go.
The source doesn’t count ONLY the result
Do NOT focus on running on a specific platform/source such as Facebook or Twitter etc. Instead take a multi-channel/holistic approach and focus completely on KPI’s and results. Why? Because by running on results and business goals instead of source you will improve your bottom line profit and growth!
Focus on multi step funnel optimization
Campaign metrics and optimization should always be based on business objectives and not on old school metrics, so do NOT focus on CPM/CPC/CTR/CPI/CPA, but understand the life time value, revenue model etc. Base your optimization on it. $1 CPM or $20 CPM is unimportant as long as you are meeting your KPI and hitting your business goal.
Be smart about the marketing data inflation
More & more tools become available and companies are trying more & more sources often by hiring external partners or additional teams. The job of the C-level or Macro level becomes much more complex – we quickly become slaves to data and numbers which is time consuming and not helpful to grow the business. What’s needed is a single place to view all the data and also a smart tool that will auto allocate the budgets based on what’s working. So focus on the macro level and make real management decisions based on a complete and transparent data overview, that will help grow your business.
Treat your UA and Monetization as Hacking
try everything, AB test to death and don’t be afraid to test things counter intuitive (ugly creative, super low bids, crazy expensive VC prices, etc)
Don’t be proud
Your game is your art, your ads are not. Again try everything. Copy your competitors. Templates of creative work as users quickly recognize it’s a game genre they like. Try ads in a high LTV IAP games, you might increase revenue without damaging revenue from IAP.
Averages don’t mean anything
On average, I should have 3.2 kids. Look at the inner distribution – you can have a great UA campaign which can bring only one good user, or a something in the game economy which is great for the average user but in fact is good for no one. Segment, Segment, Segment.
If you’re interested in having your tips featured alongside key industry players please don’t hesitate to reach out.