Top 3 Videos on Mobile Growth #3: December 2016

Mobile App Growth

January 3, 2017

This is the third post of this “Top 3 videos on mobile growth” series. You can find the first posts here (October) and here (November). The idea is to share with you the 3 most interesting videos we can find on mobile growth and app marketing, and give you the main insights.


[ Video #1] Ad Monetization Design Patterns in Free-to-Play Games


This is a presentation by Eric Seufert (@eric_seufert), partner at Heracles and owner of Mobile Dev Memo, at Casual Connect in Tel Aviv. In it, Eric gives some context about mobile ad growth (especially video) then dives into the design challenges for ad monetization. He gives a few ad monetization design patterns with some great examples.

Digging in

Growth of mobile advertising

Mobile ad revenues have been increasing and will keep increasing; Facebook’s and Google’s growth are driven by mobile advertising, etc. You get the idea: mobile advertising is growing and quickly catching up with desktop advertising.

Video is driving the growth, with impressive projections for the years to come in terms of video ad spends. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or others, social media platforms are integrating new technologies to serve new types of video ads.

Advices when building a game around video ad monetization

With growing video advertising budgets on mobile (including from big brands), there’s a growing opportunity to monetize a game with rewarded videos.

Not all players purchase in-app, so it’s a good way to leverage your user base. Being kinda “early” to the party is good, as it prepares you for what’s most likely coming: a programmatic direct future marketplace that will be using an API rather than a need to include multiple SDKs to serve ads.

With video ad monetization, you don’t want to displace attention from your app (users leaving) but you do want to serve engaging ads that convert.

A few advices:

  • Do not just show ads only to users that don’t pay if you’re mostly relying on ads for monetization. Otherwise you will send non-paying players to other apps, and other publishers will stop bidding on these placement. You need to find a balance.
  • To make ads feel engaging but still keep people in your app, you need to show the right ads to the right people. For relatively simple games not relying much on in-app purchases, it might just be better to show ads to the highest spenders so they drive your CPM up. Again, this is something to analyze to find a balance based on what performs best for you.
  • Video ads need to be
    • integrated natively, so it feels like they are part of the game.
    • bring value to the customer
    • served with intent (pull, not push)

4 ad monetization patterns

Ads in the content channel – Just like Facebook does in its feed. Keep iterating on it, to keep users more engaged with the content (like Facebook does with related instant article once you read one). Rovio has a “Rovio content channel” with content (inbox, etc.) but also ads to other games.

Rewarded video as a content driver – a good example is Flip Diving (here is a detailed blog post by Eric): the content is driven by a Spin Wheel where you can get either new content in the game or coins. By watching video ads, you can get more spins. This keeps users coming back, and also watching more videos. In Nonstop Knight (here is another case study), you can watch a video ad every few hours which helps you advance in the game.

Rewarded video as a content accelerator – Flip Diving does this as well, where users can watch video ads before or after a “gotcha mechanic” (like a spin wheel) to multiply/increase the reward. Another example (not mentioned here) is Doomsday Clicker  where you spin a wheel do get a multiplier that will help you earn more virtual currency hence advance faster in the game.

Brand placements as a content extension – Examples of this are branded stickers in messaging apps (Facebook, Line) or branded characters like in Crossy Road.

[bctt tweet=”Ideal length for video ads? Make a bunch of different variants, test them all out” username=”eric_seufert”]

Going further – You can get the slides here.


[ Video #2] Why Social Influencers are the New Celebrities


This is a presentation by Itamar Benedy (@BenedyItamar), VP strategy at Glispa, at Casual Connect in Tel Aviv. Itamar gives an overview of the opportunity of using social influencers for user acquisition, community building and brand awareness. He also gives advices for when you want to get started.

Digging in

The reach on social media platforms is huge, driven by mobile, and keeps increasing. With some lack of transparency in the ad space, fraud and the rise of ad blockers, social influencers have become another user acquisition channel.

Influencer marketing is already big – here is why it works

60% of marketers today spend on influencer marketing, with 22% saying it is their top tool for customer acquisition.

[bctt tweet=”60% of marketers spend money on influencer marketing / top customer acquisition tool for 22%” username=”BenedyItamar“]

What’s unique about influencer marketing is that the content is not seen as ads but as content discovery. Which creates more trust. To sum up the advantages:

  • Targeted audience because the social influencers have a specific community/following
  • Influencers are more trusted and their opinion is highly valued
  • Engagement in the content that each influencers creates is high as well

Compared to traditional campaigns, influencer marketing gives you:

  • Volume and scale: you can find several influencers in your niche, and some have huge followings
  • Users as engaged as organic users: they are genuinely interested in the product

Advices and things to consider when doing influencer marketing

Very much like for video ads, the first advice is to choose the right channel(s): the one(s) where your audience is. A platform where users are highly engaged is good, but useless if you don’t have any potential customers there.

Here are 6 other things to consider:

  1. Engagement is more important than audience size: you’re looking for engaged and loyal users, that will drive a higher LTV.
  2. Platform type is crucial: go where your audience is and consider the formats that are used on them (type of pictures, videos, etc.).
  3. Influencers are product believers, so if the product does not fit the social influencer and it feels forced then it won’t work.
  4. Leave some creative freedom to the influencers: their campaigns need to have some consistency, so you need to find common ground on how they present your product (and your guidelines).
  5. Long term relationships generate better results: influencers better understand your product, people identify the product more easily, etc.
  6. The language and culture of the influencer plays a big role: make sure it’s a good fit for the audience you want to target
[bctt tweet=”Influencers are product believers. Make sure your product is a good fit or it will feel forced and won’t work” username=”BenedyItamar“]

Tracking influence marketing campaigns is not easy, as attribution is often a challenge (no link in an instagram post or a Snap, etc.). A lot of interested users go directly to the App Store, which makes influencer marketing a great way to get into the App Store trending searches.

Going further – You can get the slides here.


[ Video #3] Maintaining A Profitable User Acquisition Strategy


Another presentation from Casual Connect in Tel Aviv. This time by Patrick Witham, Director of User Acquisition at Product Madness (Casino & Slots games). Patrick explains how to better measure LTV, the importance of creative for your user acquisition strategy, diversifying content for users and ASO.

Digging in

UA as an investment

For Product Madness it is about spending today on user acquisition to earn overtime. You need to start by defining how much of your LTV profit you re-invest and where is the breaking point.

Users need to experience your game enough and show engagement, so you can upsell/convert them at the right time. You also want users to come multiple times a day and for multiple days.

If this is not the case (unstable game, not converting at the right time or not enough long term retention), your game can’t be profitable.

Going from D7 revenue to LTV

To go from ROI to LTV, you need to look at more metrics than just revenue (including user gameplay): session length, session count, total bet or spin per user, etc.

Look at these metrics 7 days after installation for paid sources of traffic and split them by date/geo/platform/source. This helps you better evaluate your 6 months LTV and which channels work best.

The importance of creatives

You need to invest in keeping creatives fresh, and testing out different ones.

Keep in mind that you can’t have “one creative fits all” for your user acquisition: you want to take into consideration where the creative is used.

Product Madness had good results on Facebook with something very straight to the point (FB ads autoplay in the feed), using looping and elements “jumping out” (to grab attention). For rewarded videos (where users “have” to watch the video), what worked best for them was a more evolved video: smooth transitions, featured character, big call to action, etc.

ASO: icon gives the biggest uplift

The icon design is where you have the most potential to increase conversion. An example for casino slots (as mentioned here in video #2) is to include a call to action or a perk directly on the icon. It’s most likely different for other types of apps: you have to innovate and see what works

Radio as a UA channel

Radio is a fairly cheap channel to test. It lets you advertise at specific times, and by choosing an isolated location (like New Zealand) it is easier to measure. An assumption is that it can also help conversion on your other ad campaigns, because of an increased brand awareness. By the way, ads on Pandora or Spotify are also mostly untapped channels that are worth considering.

Going further – You can get the slides here.


[Contenders] SoundCloud Go launch and creating games for kids

Here are some other interesting videos from last month:

That’s a wrap for this month! We’re in touch with most of the mobile experts in the videos so if you have any question for them, just leave a comment and we’ll do our best to get you an answer!

You know of a great video we should feature next month? -> @sylvainww

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