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PlayQ Scores 26% Higher Mobile Revenues for Charm King with Its Seasonal Strategy [Case Study]

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

The Q4 holiday season can be a difficult time of year for mobile game developers. Often, retailers dominate the digital marketplace, driving up advertising costs. However, it is possible to remain competitive and scale during this busy marketing season, and PlayQ is proof.

Leveraging seasonal ad creative and limited-time offers within their puzzle adventure game, Charm King, the leading mobile/social gaming company wrapped up 2015 with strong results, including a 26% revenue increase from November to December.


Data Focus

PlayQ Charm KingIn a sea of mobile newcomers, PlayQ is in an enviable spot. The Santa Monica, California-based gaming company’s hit game, Charm King, has reached more than 16 million downloads worldwide across iOS, Google Play, Amazon, and Facebook.

What separates successful app developers from the rest of the mobile gaming market is a data-driven approach to digital user acquisition and retention. Without constant testing and control groups, online advertising is based on costly assumptions about mobile user behavior.

Leading up to Halloween, PlayQ ran tests on seasonal app content and ad creative to get a sense of what their strategy should be over the holidays. An increase of over 18% in Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) gave them the confidence to invest additional resources in December — historically the least cost effective month of the year for user acquisition.

Thanks to analysis from their Halloween campaign, PlayQ had the insights needed to make important bidding and budgeting decisions for the holidays.

  • They knew that in-app purchases and other downstream metrics were more important than click-through rates
  • They could justify an increased shift in user acquisition spend for December to support holiday advertising
  • They understood that ad creative featuring key event themes was an effective tactic

Charm King

Creative Strategy

Leveraging learnings from Halloween, PlayQ felt it was important to develop seasonal creative to get players in the holiday spirit for the winter update. When promoting Charm King via standard and carousel mobile app install ads on Facebook, PlayQ incorporated December holiday themes.

PlayQ’s in-house advertising team took advantage of the automated Stop Loss feature in Nanigans software, which intelligently promoted the best performing ad and creative combinations, while preventing low performers from bringing down bottom line return on ad spend.

This sophisticated level of optimization was being informed by downstream in-app behaviors tracked by the Nanigans mobile SDK that PlayQ had integrated into Charm King. With transparent insight into how specific creatives and targeting segments were leading to higher ROI down the line, PlayQ could make much more informed decisions around strategy to further improve campaign outcomes.

Their analysis showed that Facebook’s carousel ads drove the best returns, producing twice the volume and 10% higher yield than standard image ads.

Innovative Approach

Creative strategy aside, the addition of exclusive playable holiday content to the app itself is what really differentiated PlayQ from the competition, driving in-app activity and downstream purchases.

Throughout the December promotion of Charm King’s seasonal-only levels, PlayQ took additional measures to stand out from the crowd:

  • They made the levels exclusive to players who cleared a certain threshold, prompting installs and increased app activity
  • They ran evergreen and holiday promotions concurrently on Facebook, enabling campaign performance benchmarking
  • They boosted awareness through additional channels like Amazon, Google, and Apple

Strong Q4 Results

Despite a competitive advertising landscape, PlayQ leveraged Nanigans to achieve impressive returns on their holiday user acquisition and re-engagement campaigns for Charm King.









The continued increase in ARPU over time is a positive sign that PlayQ is on the right path. As they continue to analyze in-app customer behavior and digital campaign performance, they are in a prime position to focus on what matters most: optimizing for what gamers want.

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