Game Design

Analytics, App Monetization, Game Design

Japan eCPM Benchmarks Series - Top Advertisers Comparison

We’re back for another installation of Japan’s eCPM Benchmark Series! In the 3rd (and final) part, we’ll be looking to compare the performance of advertisers who serve interstitials and rewarded videos in Japan. In order to be as concise as possible, we’ll be looking into the top 10 performing advertisers in each category. In case you missed the previous parts, can find part part 1 and part 2 here.

For each ad type, we will look into advertisers who were first impression focused, as well as those who maintained a low amount of first impressions. Furthermore, we looked at the top performing advertisers, broken down by iOS and Android in terms of first impression volume and eCPM.

Why 1st Impressions

By focusing on 1st impression monetization, we are able to provide a better measure of the strength of different monetization channels. More importantly, it allows us the compare between advertisers on a more level playing field.

Ad networks will be able to see which advertisers are buying aggressively for each format and platform, while publishers can gain some insights on which advertisers are a potential fit for direct deals.

Note: As a base filter, we looked at apps with a minimum of 5,000 first impressions for the date range selected.

Interstitials – 1st Impression Lovers / Non-Lovers

The chart below shows advertisers that served a higher ratio of first impressions in the day compared to the total impressions.
SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - Interstitial 1st Impression Lovers

To show the contrary, the chart below displays advertisers that have a lowest ratio of 1st impressions to the total impressions. These advertisers have not adopted a strategy focused on the importance of the 1st impression.
SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - Interstitial 1st Impression Non-Lovers

While these charts might not be indicative of anything in this context, the next few charts showing the eCPMs can help give insights about advertiser specific strategy.

Top Advertisers for Interstitials – iOS

The chart below ranks the top 10 advertisers who placed ads in other apps via different channels. The comparison of these advertisers is based on 2 dimensions – 1st impression eCPM and 1st impression volume.
SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - Interstitial Top Advertisers iOS

We can see that Kurashiru, Homescape and Wooden Block Puzzle are the only 3 advertisers that are performing above average (green line) for both 1st impression volume and eCPM. Another interesting note is that Fill has a very high eCPM payout in comparison to the other advertisers despite having a fairly lower volume of impressions.

SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - Interstitial Top Advertisers Android

For Android, we can see that only Hidden City – Mystery of Shadows maintains an above average 1st impressions volume and eCPM in comparison to other advertisers.

 

Q1 2018 MONETIZATION BENCHMARKS REPORT

 

Rewarded Videos – 1st Impression Lovers / Non-Lovers

The chart below shows advertisers that served a higher ratio of first impressions in the day compared to the total impressions.
SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - Rewarded Videos 1st Impression Lovers

Yes, 96% and 91%. I saw it as well and was positive there was an error in my data, however after triple checking, the data was in fact accurate. Both of those apps are ENTIRELY focused on 1st impressions.

To show the contrary, the chart below displays advertisers that have a lowest ratio of 1st impressions to the total impressions. These advertisers have not adopted a strategy focused on the importance of the 1st impression.
SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - Rewarded Videos 1st Impression Non-Lovers

Top Advertisers for Rewarded Videos – iOS

The chart below ranks the top 10 advertisers who placed ads in other apps via different channels. The comparison of these advertisers is based on 2 dimensions – 1st impression eCPM and 1st impression volume.
SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - Rewarded Videos Top Advertisers iOS

For this case, we can see that no apps are performing above average for both 1st impression volume and eCPMs. However we do see that Hidden City is dominating the 1st impression volume, while Matchington Mansion and Seeker’s Notes maintains very high 1st impression eCPM payouts.

SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - Rewarded Videos Top Advertisers Android

For Android, we can see an almost mirroring of iOS. There are no apps that are performing above average for both 1st impression volume and eCPMs. Hidden City however has appeared on the high end of 1st impression volume for both iOS and Android.

Conclusion

This concludes our first eCPM Benchmark Series who’s sole focus has been on Japan. In our next series, we will be looking at India and how the growing gaming market is now one-tenth of all global gamers.

In the spirit of being big in Japan, enjoy the closing song!

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Analytics, App Monetization, Game Design

Japan eCPM Benchmarks Series - Ad Network Performance

In the first part of our Japan eCPM Benchmark series, we kept a fairly broad approach to getting an understanding of how the Japanese mobile gaming market is performing. Before diving in to deeper breakdowns, it was important to look at the overall differences between iOS and Android.

There were some differences, but the most significant was how Rewarded Videos and Interstitials performed at near polar opposites. For Android, Rewarded Videos were far outperforming Interstitials in terms of eCPM payouts for 1st and overall impressions. On the other hand, we saw iOS dominating Interstitials with significantly higher eCPMs. Yes this is important, but at such a high level of analysis, it’s hard to gain actionable insights. This leads us to part two!

For the second part of our Japan eCPM Benchmarks series, we’re going to take a deeper look into the how the various ad networks are performing in Japan. Because we saw such a significant difference between iOS and Android in the ad types (Rewarded Videos and Interstitials), it only makes sense to keep the breakdown going in the same direction. It’s important to keep in the back of your mind that the majority of the mobile operating system market share in Japan is held by iOS, contrary to the rest of the world where Android maintains the larger share of mobile users. There are several reason for this, as one Tech blogger from Japan mentioned – if it interests you.

The Data

The data used for this series is based upon the data used in our recent Q1 Monetization Benchmarks Report collected through the SOOMLA platform. We analyzed the activity of over 30 million users in 8 countries over the span of 3 months (October 2017 – December 2017). Together these users viewed 600M impressions showing 2,500 advertisers in close to 100 apps. The app sample consists a higher ratio of games compared to the ratio of non-games in the app stores. However, we’ve seen the same patterns regardless of app category. The ad-formats analyzed through the study are: Interstitials, video interstitials and rewarded videos.

Interstitials – Premium Paid for First Impressions

This section looks at the premium paid in eCPM rates for 1st impressions compared to the overall average for ad networks prevalent in Japan’s interstitial domain. We compared this premium across all ad-networks who serve a high volume of interstitials. We’ve indexed the average eCPM as 100% and then presented the 1st in comparison.

SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - Interstitial iOS - 1st Impression Lift*Only ad networks with over 1,000,000 total impressions during the data period were considered.

Japan eCPM Benchmark Series - Interstitials Android 1st Impression Lift*Only ad networks with over 100,000 total impressions during the data period were considered.

First and foremost, it’s important to note the vast difference in minimum impressions for Android and iOS. The majority of interstitial ad impressions recorded are from iOS, confirming the majority of Japan’s iOS adoptance. Furthermore, after a deeper look, the data sample has a slight bias due to a large portion of the impression counts originating from a few highly successful mobile apps. Regardless of this, we can still see that iOS does maintain significantly higher payouts for 1st impressions than the average eCPMs.

 

Q1 2018 MONETIZATION BENCHMARKS REPORT

 

Interstitials – Share of Voice

Share of voice refers to the percentage of impressions each ad network displays of the total. We broke this down into 1st impressions and total impressions for ad networks displaying interstitials in Japan.

Japan eCPM Benchmark Series - Interstitials Share of Voice
See original Android – Share of VoiceSee original iOS – Share of Voice

For iOS – we can see that AdMob take a large share of both 1st impressions and total impressions. Mopub for instance has a strategy more focused on 1st impressions compared to their total impressions. For Android – taking into consideration the previous comments, we see that AdMob maintains the lion’s share.

Rewarded Videos – Premium Paid for First Impressions

This section looks at the premium paid in eCPM rates for 1st impressions compared to the overall average for ad networks prevalent in Japan’s rewarded videos domain. We compared this premium across all ad-networks who serve a high volume of rewarded videos. We’ve indexed the average eCPM as 100% and then presented the 1st in comparison.

Japan eCPM Benchmark Series - RewardedVideos iOS 1st Impression Lift*Only ad networks with over 300,000 total impressions during the data period were considered.

Japan eCPM Benchmark Series - RewardedVideos Android 1st Impression Lift*Only ad networks with over 300,000 total impressions during the data period were considered.

For iOS – we see, as expected, the majority of the ad networks have a higher first impression eCPMs compared to the total, however AdColony is the only ad network which the first impression eCPM is lower than the average. For Android – we see TapJoy with a significantly higher first impression eCPM ratio compared to the other ad networks.

Rewarded Videos – Share of Voice

Share of voice refers to the percentage of impressions each ad network displays of the total. We broke this down into 1st impressions and total impressions for ad networks displaying rewarded videos in Japan.

Japan eCPM Benchmark Series - Rewarded Videos Share of Voice
See original Android – Share of VoiceSee original iOS – Share of Voice

Across both iOS and Android, we see that Ironsource servers large portions of the 1st and total impressions that are served, only to be surpassed by Applovin in Android. It seems like Ironsource’s dominance as a mediation for rewarded videos allows it to obtain a high number of impressions without paying a premium for it. For Applovin, it’s possible that their self-serve interface for advertiser is able to generate higher demand diversity which translates into better results in later impressions.

Conclusion

This concludes part two of the Japan eCPM Benchmarks Series where we took a deeper look into the performance of ad networks for interstitials and rewarded videos. In the next part of the series, we will be looking into specific advertisers : which love being first (impression), which don’t, which have high volumes and which have high eCPMs. See you then!

In case you missed part one, you can find it here.

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Analytics, App Monetization, Game Design

Japan eCPM Benchmarks Series

We’ve received a lot of great feedback based on our recent data report, so we’ve decided to conduct further drill-downs on a country basis.

Japan is well known for its expansive gaming market that has been growing rapidly over the past few years, and according to a recent study by AppAnnie, mobile gaming revenue increased by 35% in 2017 year over year.

For the first part of our Japan eCPM Benchmarks Series, we will look breakdown on how iOS and Android are performing.

The Data

The data used for this series is based upon the data used in our recent Q1 Monetization Benchmarks Report collected through the SOOMLA platform. We analyzed the activity of over 30 million users in 8 countries over the span of 3 months (October 2017 – December 2017). Together these users viewed 600M impressions showing 2,500 advertisers in close to 100 apps. The app sample consists a higher ratio of games compared to the ratio of non-games in the app stores. However, we’ve seen the same patterns regardless of app category. The ad-formats analyzed through the study are: Interstitials, video interstitials and rewarded videos.

Overall Android vs iOS

In this section we’ll keep it fairly broad and as we progress, we’ll get more in depth. For now, we will look at the high level eCPM benchmarks for Japan – how Android is performing in comparison to iOS. Similar to the main report, the aim is to show the vast differences between the eCPMs being paid out for the first impressions.

SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - by OS

To no surprise, we do see a similar trend in Japan as we do for overall Android and iOS. iOS does tend to overall have higher payouts for eCPMs, while both maintain first impression eCPMs that are up to 1.43x higher than the average impression eCPM.

Ad Type Breakdown

The next drill down will be looking at the overall performance (in terms of eCPM payouts) of ad types in Japan. For the purpose of this section, we’ll be looking at Rewarded Videos and Interstitials (includes video ads and playable ads).

SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - Android

SOOMLA's Japan Breakdown - iOS

Generally speaking, the comparison between Interstitials and Rewarded Videos is nearly identical at this level of breakdown, however as we can see above there is a significant difference between Android and iOS. While it’s difficult to say exactly what the reason behind this is, it’s worthwhile to understand the unique features of the Japanese mobile gaming market which can provide some insights.

Interstitials iOS have significantly higher eCPMs payouts as well as a ratio of 1st to average impression eCPM.

This is the first part in the series, so the breakdown is kept to be very high level. In the next part, we will be looking into the performance of the individual ad networks. Stay tuned!

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Analytics, App Monetization, Game Design

Playable Ads 101 - Best Practices and Top Providers

One of the hot trends in the last 6 months in mobile game marketing has been playable ads. MZ, also known as Machine Zone, was an early adopter with Game of War and Mobile Strike but many ad-networks are offering them now, more advertisers have discovered their effectiveness and players are getting used to them.

Playables of different kinds

The first playable ads started as HTML5 ads served through MRAID protocol. However, following their success, more formats have evolved. The video ad networks started moving in and have evolved two formats.

  • Interactive video end cards – This format starts as a regular video that plays for 15 or 30 seconds and once the video is over it is replaced with an HTML5 playable experience.
  • Interactive videos – These videos are broken down into 3 or 4 parts and the user has to take a simple action like clicking a button in order to continue.

Serving playables in the publisher game

While the experience from the advertiser is quite similar, on the publisher side there are two main ways to get playables in the app. There are playable ads that get served through standard containers such as interstitial. Today, if the publisher implements Admob or Mopub SDK he is likely to get some playable ads unless he blocks them. With some providers and specifically with Admob, there is no way to block them. The same thing goes for the rewarded video container – most of the video ad networks are now serving the playable ads described in the previous section when the publisher calls a rewarded video ad. On top of these there are also companies who serve playable experiences through a dedicated SDK.

The dedicated SDK approach has some pros and cons. On one side it leads to an improved ad experience for the advertiser. From the publisher’s perspective it means better control and can lead to a more expectable user experience. However, it does requires the publisher to integrate another SDK which is always fun :).

Designing playable experiences inside the game

In terms of game design, publishers have 2 main choices. The first one is to integrate playable ads in standard containers such as interstitials and rewarded videos. This is the default option and unless blocked by the publisher most ad networks will hijack standard containers and serve playables in them.

The main problem with this experience is that it’s not expected by the user. A user might sign up for watching a rewarded video in return for some in-game incentive but than get a playable ad instead. Even worse, an interstitial container might contain a playable ad at the end of a regular play session where user expects a much shorter interruption if any. Based on the data SOOMLA collects, this hijacking has a high toll on user churn. Finally, the practice of injecting a playable ad experience into a regular container creates an unfair competition in your waterfall.

As explained by this analysis made by Kongregate the playable ads generate higher eCPM for the publisher so networks that serves high amount of playable ads are more likely to produce higher eCPM rates and win the first impression. The alternative is to introduce a specific inventory for playable. A publisher can design a special button with a game controller icon and offer increased rewards for users who are willing to try a new game. This creates an opt-in experience for the playable ad rather than an hijacked one.

 

FREE REPORT – VIDEO ADS RETENTION IMPACT

 

Who makes the playable ads

Ads are traditionally made on the advertiser side of things but with playable ads the advertising company take a very active role. This is a typical step in the evolution of an ad-formats where newer formats are produced by the ad-network or ad agency and as the market get used to the format the advertising companies take on the production task. Today most of the playable ads are produced by the provider rather than by the advertiser with only a handful of advertisers producing their own playables.

How playable ads might evolve in the future

Today, there are 2 main challenges with playable ads. One is that they don’t accurately reflect the game play of the advertised app – this can lead to lower conversion rates. On the publisher side – users find them to be repetitive – one might have to play the same 2 moves over and over again every time the ad pops up. This might be some of the reason why playable ads tend to churn more users. One evolution that we might see in the market are ads that remember the state of the user and offer progression from one ad view to another. This can be a much better user experience on the publisher side and potentially more qualified installs for the advertiser.

Winning Playable Ad Experiences

  • Applovin – Word Cookies
  • Chartboost – Bubble Island
  • Ironsource – Lords Mobile
  • CrossInstall – Solitaire

Top providers offering Playable Ads

Today most of the top rewarded video providers are offering playables:

  • Ironsource 
  • Applovin
  • Chartboost 
  • Vungle  
  • Inmobi / Aerserv
  • Adcolony
  • Apponboard
  • Cossinstall
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Analytics, App Monetization, Game Design, Tips and Advice

4 Proven Tips for Improving Opt-In Rate - Based on Data

If you have been following the SOOMLA blog, attending mobile game conferences or keeping up with the latest mobile monetization trends in some other ways you should already know the following important fact. Improving Opt-in to rewarded videos usually results in an increase of the same proportion in your total ad revenue. This is why many companies that use rewarded videos have been focusing on the opt-in parameter and have been trying to optimize it.

While getting the basic opt-in ratio is easy, there are a few advanced methods for finding hidden opportunities around opt-in rates.

1 – Look at daily opt-in vs. monthly opt-in

Typically, app companies focus on the monthly opt-in – this is the ratio that is normally available by platforms such as Ironsource mediation and what most will allow you to analyze if you send them the impression events. The monthly opt-in, however, only tells part of the story and in many cases we have seen that the daily opt-in can be significantly lower. What that means is that there are users who opt-in to the videos some of the days while not watching videos on other days. Fixing this can usually yield 20-25% more in ad revenue and the way to do it is by taking a close look at your incentives. Will the users need the incentive on a daily basis? If not, try to figure out an incentive that the users will need more regularly.

Definitions
Monthly opt-in – the number of unique users who watched at least one video in a given month out of your total MAU.
Daily opt-in – the number of unique users who watched at least one video in a given day out of your total DAU. The daily opt-in has to be averaged across multiple days to smooth out the fluctuations.

2 – Analyze opt-in for cohorts

Cohort analysis is hardly a new trick for marketers but when it comes to monetization managers it actually is. Comparing the opt-in rate for new users vs. existing users can lead to some pretty interesting insights based on our experience. This might requires some help from your BI team (or simply using SOOMLA’s dashboard) but the hidden opportunity should justify the effort as we have seen up to 2x differences between the two segments. If opt-in is high for new users and declining for long-term users it could be a sign that your incentives are not meaningful enough for your users. In other words users are willing to watch videos but they soon realize that what they are getting in return doesn’t get them very far so they stop. In other situations, the opt-in for new users is low. This could indicate an awareness and training problem. Making your users aware of the option to watch videos early on can fix the problem.

3 – Differentiate users from different traffic sources

One of the interesting patterns we have seen is that users from different traffic sources behave differently when it comes to opt-in ratio. Users who came from paid channels and specifically from video ads often present a higher opt-in ratio compared to organic users. To improve the opt-in ratio for organic users, consider adding some more guidance to highlight the opportunity of watching videos for in-game rewards.

4 – Treat your ad whales to nice Incentives

In recent research we showed that the top 20% of the users contribute 80% of the ad revenue. These so called Ad Whales are the most important segment from an ad revenue perspective. You should focus a lot of your attention to make sure the opt-in rate for this group is as high as it can be. These users typically contribute more than $0.99 and sometimes up to $100. This means that they are as good as payers and you can offer them in-game items that are normally reserved for an actual purchase. However, since you want users of this group to watch a video daily it’s better not to offer them a perpetual item. Some examples of incentives you can give for ad whales:

  • A tank that is normally worth $100 – watch a video to use for a single day
  • Shortening a waiting time that normally costs up to $1
  • 10x coin boost for a short period instead of 2x

Identifying the ad whales is possible by attributing the ad revenue accurately to the user level. The only way to do this accurately today is with SOOMLA Traceback.

We’ve put out a series of posts on the wide topic of Opt-In rates and the importance of them. Feel free to check them out:

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Game Design, Tips and Advice

Is it time to end Match 3 Game tutorials?

If you downloaded a match 3 game recently you might have noticed that the first few levels are guiding you how to play the game. I would make a guess that if you are reading this blog you have already played several match 3 games already and the tutorial is not really relevant for you. The question is how frequent is this situation and if there is a better why.

Match 3 – a popular genre

Match 3 games are a popular genre on mobile – no doubt about that. A Google site search on the play store returns over 1M results for the search “Site:play.google.com “match-3”.

image-5

It’s probably the genre with the most number of apps out of the narrow genres (as opposed to a wide genre such as “Strategy”).

If we look at the number of players: Candy crush alone has over 2.7 billion downloads – this is close to the number of app capable devices out there and there are many more apps who are not that far behind.

It’s not a new genre either. Match 3 games has been around for at least 15 years. They have been with us through web games, Facebook games and mobile games.

image-6

A new user in a match 3 games is not new to the genre

What all these stats mean is that if your company publishes a match 3 game it’s likely that the majority of the new users you are getting is already familiar with the genre. Your UA teams are targeting users who liked other match 3 games on Facebook, Google is targeting your ads to users who searched match 3 in the past and other networks are trying to achieve the same result to send you relevant users. Users who know how to play match 3.

The tutorial is redundant for experienced users

image-4

Showing a tutorial to a user who never played match 3 could be the difference between him staying or leaving. However, the same tutorial for an experienced user is not effective. In fact, it might have the opposite effect – causing the user to leave as he is not challenged enough. Consider the tutorial in the image shown on the right side – it basically says “match 3 items” and might evoke the reaction “Well Duh!! It’s a match 3 game”.

Detecting experienced users automatically

Game publishers who want to offer an adaptive tutorial experience face a new challenge – how to detect which users are experienced match 3 players vs. not. Here are a few ideas how to detect this:

  • Acquisition channel – normally your UA efforts will be targeted at match 3 fans so you can just treat all paid traffic as experienced players. Alternatively, separate campaigns that are directly targeted to match 3 fans vs. broader campaigns. Using deeplinking you can invoke different flows inside the app. 
  • For the android version of your app, you can potentially check what other apps are installed on the device to determine if the user is already familiar with the genre. While Google will not allow you to send the app list to your server, checking locally and adapting the game experience is in the benefit of the app publisher as well as the user.
  • Prompting the user and asking him if he knows the genre is another way to go. If you think asking the user questions is annoying you should think again. Going through 7 levels of learning the game is far more annoying.
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Game Design, Marketing

Mixing existing gameplay ip with new narrative IP is what Pokemon Go a hit but there are other ways to leverage IP

Pokemon Go was a huge success partly because it was using very strong IP. They were not the first and certainly not the last. One of the interesting trends in the mobile gaming space is that if you look at the top charts, most successful games are using External IP. Here is the 101 on leveraging existing IP in your game.

Gameplay IP saves you time and money

One form of IP that is being used by many developers is public gameplay IP. Here are some examples:

  • Casino / Slots – leverage gameplay from land based casinos and real money online casinos
  • Card / Board / Dice games – most of these games are digital simulations of a real world game
  • Drag racing and Real racing – have been around since the early days of console games
  • Match 3 – obviously there are hundreds if not thousands of games using this format

The thing about gameplay is that most people want a familiar format. They know what they like and actively look for it. Innovating on gameplay is very expansive – it requires trial and error over a long period of time and the success rate is not high. All these iterations translates to effort, time, money but most importantly risk. This is why most of the top grossing games in the last few years are relaying on existing IP when it comes to gameplay. Fortunately enough, most gameplay IP is unprotected or in other words – free.

The challenge with leveraging existing gameplay IP is that you are competing in existing categories where other companies already play.

Narrative IP can help you stand out

To get user attention in crowded categories, successful companies often leverage narrative IP in their games. This means that the story, characters and the world of the game are all based on IP that is already familiar to the user. The IP can come from a movie, tv show, celebrity, sports league, land based slot machines or PC games. Some games from the Top 100 grossing that leverage narrative IP: Pokemon go, Clash Royale, Marvel COC, Madden NFL, Star Wars – Galaxy of Heroes, The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, WSOP and the list goes on and on. If you are a small studio, you might not be able to afford IP from TV or movies. However, there is free IP that can be leveraged.

Pokemon Go example – leveraging existing Gameplay IP with new Narrative IP

One of the things that worked well for Niantic is that they already developed compelling gameplay IP with their game Ingress. The leveraged this IP and dressed it with the Pokemon narrative and visuals to create a new mix.

Successful games often innovate by creating new mixes. You can leverage Football IP in a runner game, Frozen Movie IP in a match-3 game and numerous games were created by mixing sports IP with flicking gameplay. Pokemon go is the most known example but it’s not the first time and not the last time a new mix is created.

Leveraging narrative IP from a successful game you created

If you already have one successful game, you will be able to leverage it’s gameplay but you can also leverage it’s narrative and visuals. Unlike what Niantic did with Pokemon Go, you can mix IPs the other way around – bringing in new gameplay. Narrative IP is less likely to get copied so that’s your real asset. Some examples:

  • Rovio brought racing gameplay to angry birds IP
  • Supercell brought fantasy cards game play to Clash of Clans world
  • Outfit 7 brought bubble shooter gameplay to Talking Tom IP
  • Color switch brought dozens of new game play types into the colorful world they created

 

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App Monetization, Game Design

Getting your users to day 365 retention is the equivalent of LTV heaven illustrated as a tropical island in calm waters.

I recently attended Pocket Gamer Connects event in Helsinki. It was super productive for us so first of all I should think the Pocket Gamer guys who set this up and the amazing gaming industry in Helsinki. Big shoot out to you all.

One of the panels I enjoyed on the conference introduced Saara from Next Games, Eric from Dodreams and Jari from Traplight. It was called LEARN HOW TO DRIVE PLAYER ENGAGEMENT FROM THE BEST IN FINNISH MOBILE GAMING. One of points raised by Eric was that it’s a great feeling to see players come back after 6 months or 1 year. In fact, it’s not just a great feeling, it also means great LTV. If you followed our 5 things you didn’t know about LTV post you already know that two thirds of the LTV is after day 30. However, games that can keep users coming back at day 365 often find that it’s much more. Losing some users between day 0 and day 30 is natural but if you can keep most of d30 users coming back month over month you will see that most of your LTV comes from those long retained users.

Specific Example:

One of the games I analyzed had 52.9%, 29%, 18% for d1,d7,d30 retention. These numbers are very good to say the least but he still lost 82% of his users. The interesting stuff is what happens after, users keeps coming back and the D365 LTV is almost 2x the D180 LTV. You can run the numbers yourself here.

Here are a few tips on how to get users to Day365:

Tip 1 – show the users something fresh every time

Updates are super important if you want to retain your long term users. Games gets boring fast but if you keep pushing update you can keep users engaged. If your updates follow a consistent schedule you are likely to have users that expect the updates and even complain when updates are delayed. A good example for that is Color Switch – this popular game has very high retention rates. One of the reasons for that is that every time you open color switch there is some new game mode waiting for you. The experience never gets old.

Tip 2 – give your users influence

Some games have ways for the users to create levels and challenge others. This is a great way to retain users and make them passionate about your game. Others don’t have native ways to do it but can still give the most loyal users ways to influence by creating special forums for them and making sure they know their opinions matter.

Tip 3 – make your game endless or close to it

Think about how many levels candy crush has – 2,620. You can play this game forever and yet they are adding new levels. The reason is that if a user ever reaches the last level he will leave for sure. Random games may not need to make new levels all the time but they need to make sure the experience doesn’t become repatitive and that there is enough content to create new variations.

 

If your company has good retention and is monetizing through ads it’s important to know the Advertising revenue per user. Check out SOOMLA Traceback – Ad LTV as a Service.

Learn More

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Game Design, Guest Post

top-9-fantasyGames

 

 

This is a guest post by Katrina Manning, Editor-in-Chief for Techandburgers.com, an online lifestyle, food and tech magazine.

Fantasy card games are games where user can collect cards and battle against other players to win more cards and gain experience and levels. The emergence of Hearthstone and Clash Royale showed us that this genre can be very popular if the cards are based on the right IP.

Fantasy card games can monetize well with rewarded videos

While the game play of card games is more casual compared to strategy games they typically attract similar audience. Unlike strategy games, Fantasy card games can’t retain their users for a long period so the LTV of the users tend to be lower. This makes them good candidate for mixing Rewarded Video ads in addition to IAP in their monetization strategy. We expect to see more games in this genre add video based monetization and generating more revenue doing so.
 

FREE E-BOOK – TOP 10 MOBILE GAMING REPORTS

 

Ascensionascension

This card game requires you to build a deck in order to battle against other players. The fantasy card game offers 50 cards in total, but they come with a wide variety of features. In addition, an expansion called Realms Unraveled, increases the number of cards you have. Not to mention, it comes with multiplayer support that is cross platform with either Android or iOS. You can even play against AI opponents.

Hehearthstonearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

This is a digital, collectible card game that may cause an addition. You get to choose whether you want to play as one of the great heroes or villains of the Warcraft universe. To illustrate, you can choose Jaina Proudmoore, Gul’Dan, Thrall and more.

You can then call upon allies and minions to help you win epic battles. What makes it even better is it is an easy-to-learn cross-platform app. Moreover, you earn gold that can be used to buy booster packs.

Pathfinder Adventurespathfinder

This cross-platform game is the digital port of Paizo’s Pathfinder Adventure Card game. It combines deck-building and role playing. Essentially, each deck represents weapons, special abilities and gear. You can use them to defeat themed location and quest decks.

In addition, you’ll notice captivating backgrounds, cut scenes and animations. You can choose either single player or pass-and-play coop modes. It’s just one of the many examples of the rise of social games.

Magic: The Gatheringmagic

This game launched the collectible card game (CCG) genre. It gives you a detailed tutorial including the origin stories of the game’s Planeswalkers. You can earn new cards and skills with Skill Question challenges. Furthermore, you can choose between human or AI opponents through battles and/or Two-Headed Giant team games.

dream-questDream Quest

What makes this game different is it looks like a kid’s coloring book. Yet, if you take a closer look, you’ll find a fascinating combination of dungeon crawling and deck building. You start out with a beginner’s collection of cards and a basic character. You can then search for treasure, explore dungeons and unlock new cards in order to improve their decks.

If you move forward successfully, you can soon run your character deck easily. There are major boss battles that you need to win. Not to mention, death can be permanent. On the other hand, if you do well, you can unlock endless bonuses, extra content and secret characters. You might even decide whether or not you prefer playing on an Android or iPhone.
 

FREE REPORT – VIDEO ADS RETENTION IMPACT

 

Eredan Arenaeredan

This is both a dice and card game. From a deck of 120, you choose five heroes. You then throw the dice in order to trigger their abilities. In contrast, if you were to play Red Flush Casino, you might throw the dice and win some seriously fun prizes.

Here, you also have the elements of tabletop gaming. It is a role playing game that offers many strategies to help keep the game feeling like new. Moreover, your heroes can level up to receive new abilities. Since the dice rolls can be quite random, matches are always surprising.

Star Realmsstar

This takes the deck-building card game action to the stars. You begin with a small cadre of ships and fighters. You compete against other players to recruit a variety of warships, starbase cards and freighters. The goals is outfight each other in a battle for rulership. You’ll also get the opportunity to play short, but intense games.

Not to mention, its deck-building mechanics are quite impressive. You even get basic campaign and AI battles for free. To unlock the full game, you can make in-app purchases. This gives you harder AI, pass-and-play multiplayer and more campaigns. In-app purchases also give you the new Gambits expansion. Moreover, you’ll find varying themed missions and challenging AI.

Clash Royaleclash

This enticing game gives you a mix of tower defense with card management. Each round is only three minutes. You can play on a tower-defense style map utilizing a variety of unit cards. The objective is balance both offense and defense in quick-play rounds. A single misplay can turn the game in someone else’s favor. As you get through each match, you earn reward chests.

SolForgesolforge

This app comes from Stone Blade Entertainment, the same studio that created Ascension. It takes the basic card battle game and adds positional elements. The objective is to try to eliminate your opponent’s life to zero by using creatures to bombard them with attacks. There are five lanes where you can set your creatures to attack or block. Its rules are challenging, which can means hours and hours of pure game enjoyment and strategy.

 

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Fun Stuff, Game Design

A finger of a user clicking on a banner while coins are falling from the sky to illustrate the clicking action in mobile idle games android and iphone users like.

I recently came across this article in Gamasutra about the psychological profile of gamers who play mobile Idle games (Android and iPhone) that are also known as incrementer games. His findings are super interesting and explain the commercial success of some of these games.

What are mobile idle games / Android and iPhone clickers

Idle clicker games are games that allow the user to generate virtual wealth by doing two simple things waiting or clicking (hence the name). Once the player accumulated enough virtual currency the game becomes more about the meta game of buying things that help you accumulate more wealth faster. The meta game part resembles mechanics that are found in RPG games, Strategy games and City Simulation games but the core game is so simple that it almost feels like a parody. This genre is considered one of the hottest genres in mobile games today.

The success of idle games with in-game ads

One of the reasons why we see so many incrementer games recently is that they work really well with the rewarded video format. This is hapenning from two main reasons:

1) Great audience for top grossing games

Like the post about the psychological profile suggests, the gamers audience who like idle clicker games is overlapping mostly with the one of core games and hardcore games. Since both these genres are paying very high CPIs for new users the ad LTV per user is typically very high

2) Rewarded video fits in very naturally

Rewarded video is today the most effective format. The eCPMS are 20 times what you get with banners and the users tend to love them. However, to get many users to opt-in to the videos your game needs to ability to offer many rewards to the user. In incrementer game the meta game revolves around achieving more and so they offer many opportunities for rewarding the users.

 

FREE E-BOOK – TOP 10 MOBILE GAMING REPORTS

 

Here are the the top idle games – Android stats included

Icon Name Publisher Ratings in Google Play Downloads
adventure capitalist is the most successful among mobile idle games. Android users love it. Adventure Capitalist Kongregate 835,659 5M-10M
cow evolution by tapps games is the most downloaded mobile idle game for Android Cow Evolution Tapps Games 435,933 10M-50M
make it rain - love of money. This game reached the top spot in the Apple App Store Make It Rain: Love of Money Space Inch, LLC 290,941 5M-10M
cookie clicker is first mobile idle game (Android/iPhone) that reached mass appeal Cookie Clickers redBit Games 249,816 5M-10M
image Billionaire Alegrium 175,835 1M-5M
Bitcoin billionare is a cool clicker game where you can click to collect coins Bitcoin Billionaire Noodlecake Studios 183,350 1M-5M
image Pocket Mine Roofdog Games 117,524 1M-5M
PickCrafter Fiveamp 141,468 1M-5M
tap tycoon is an incrementer game Tap Tycoon Game Hive 116,307 1M-5M
money tree by tapps games - money does grow on trees - click to get it Money Tree Tapps Games 106,934 1M-5M

 

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