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Regardless of team size or genre, most mobile gaming companies will go through the same three stages when launching a title—from burst campaigns to monetization to a focus on user retention.
For app developers with in-house advertising teams, hitting targets consistently throughout these three phases depends on access to advertising automation software that is flexible enough to accommodate goal pivots and robust enough to provide the integration necessary for performance analysis and optimization.
Since July 2014, touchscreen entertainment brand Scopely has rapidly adopted Nanigans software features to assist in uncovering audience insights and optimize its Facebook campaign performance. Here’s how the gaming company has worked in tandem with Nanigans and Facebook to launch mobile games like Disco Bees, Slots Vacation, and Dice With Buddies, maintaining growth through the life cycle of these and other popular titles.
Burst campaigns are key when a game first launches. Without sufficient customer acquisition, a new title will flop in app stores and fail to achieve enough momentum to monetize. In April 2015, Scopely planned and executed the global game launch of Yahtzee, a heavily coordinated acquisition effort involving campaigns with dozens of partners across hundreds of relevant apps, mobile web, Scopely’s own network of players, and public relations efforts. Facebook was a key driver of new acquisition, and Nanigans’ advanced optimization software tools and large-scale campaign management workflow helped enable quick real-time decision making and strategic bidding changes by Scopely’s acquisition team.
On Facebook, when Scopely first launched Yahtzee using mobile app install ads, the focus was on driving large acquisition volume while keeping cost per install low through oCPM bidding. With so much riding on early user acquisition, ensuring that campaigns attracted new installs quickly was a priority. Leveraging Creative Tester—an automated Nanigans tool that takes the guessing out of testing new creative and copy combinations—Scopely was able to analyze performance data, report on results and rotate through ads based on their ROI analysis of best performing creative assets.
By bulk creating and managing top-performing ads for all geographies and leveraging Nanigans optimization algorithms, Scopely was able to drive massive volume for Yahtzee at their CPI targets, resulting in Yahtzee becoming the #1 Game on Google Play.
As soon as a user base has been built up and acquisition has stabilized, savvy digital marketers know it’s time to shift the objective to yield. After the initial launch of Scopely’s popular title Slots Vacation, the gaming company focused heavily on driving the most profitable installs available. Using data gleaned from the Nanigans SDK during Slots Vacation’s growth stage, Scopely applied dynamic Revenue Optimization parameters to its Facebook campaigns—in this case, optimizing towards and hitting short-term yield targets by dynamically changing Facebook bid rules.
Scopely acquisition managers, having identified specific relevant audiences, were also able to take full advantage of Nanigans’ toolset by easily setting separate yield goals for the key audiences with Audience Override Tables, a Nanigans tool for controlling variables at the most granular level (e.g. audience/demographic targeting), reaping further benefits from a performance standpoint.
With the additional help of Cohort Analysis to uncover profitable audience targets on Facebook, Scopely was in a prime position to leverage Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences functionality to target similar high-value users.
Once it’s used to look at install rates during the acquisition phase, the Nanigans SDK can also be used to look at downstream events like when a particular cohort opens an app, when a user reaches a particular level, or spends a certain amount of money. In the third phase of a game title’s life cycle, these metrics serve for retargeting acquired customers who have slowed or ceased in-app activity. Facebook’s Custom Audiences functionality helps gaming companies like Scopely reach out to lapsed users and keep interest up long after launch by marketing new game features and exciting live events.
For a mobile gaming title with millions of installs, there is still an opportunity to drive more volume and concentrate on boosting the number of Daily Active Users. Eligible, ready to engage players (active or lapsed) are just an ad campaign away.
It’s easy for mobile gaming developers to get caught up in the excitement of a burst campaign, but that’s just the beginning of the battle for ROI. Operational workflow, downstream event monitoring and performance optimization are all important components of a healthy game launch, not just in the first few weeks but the lifetime of a title. With versatile advertising automation software and an investment in mastering data-driven marketing, mobile gaming companies like Scopely are in prime position to deliver engaging gameplay experiences across the globe.
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