Top 3 Videos on Mobile Growth #4: January 2017

Mobile App Growth

February 7, 2017

This is the fourth post of this “Top 3 videos on mobile growth” series. The idea is to share with you the 3 most interesting videos from the previous month on mobile growth and app marketing, and bring you the main insights. You can find the previous posts here:

  • October – Games monetisation trends in 2016  | Next-generation marketing tactics to grow your mobile app | Driving app virality in 3 steps
  • November – Firebase keynote and Firebase analytics | Paid app marketing and UA tips (webinar) | What the Top 50 do with IAP that the rest of us don’t
  • December – Ad monetization design patters in free-to-play games | Why social influencers are the new celebrities | Maintaining a profitable user acquisition strategy

If you haven’t seen those videos yet, don’t miss out: they are still relevant.


[ Video #1] Apple Search Ads: what you can get and what you can’t get


This is a presentation by Thomas Petit (@Thomasbcn), the now legendary straight talker in charge of mobile growth at 8fit, at App Promotion Summit in Berlin (NYC edition coming up April 6th – use discount code APSAPT for 20% discount; see you there!). In this talk, Thomas shares his and other people’s experience (including Incipia‘s) with Apple Search Ads: the insights you can get from it, the main challenges and what doesn’t work quite right yet.

Digging in

Intro to Apple Search Ads

Apple Search Ads allows to display an ad at the top of search results in the App Store. It’s currently only available in the U.S. If you haven’t read to much about Apple Search Ads yet, check out the tutorials from Incipia here.

You can target specific gender or age range, which can come in handy. And get detailed reports on these demographics as well (which Google does not disclose), which helps you understand who’s clicking on your ads and get insights you can use for ASO.

ASO Insights

ASO insights can make it worth it to run a campaign in itself: demographics (mentioned above), volume and search popularity, post-install metrics that help you understand which keywords bring what retention, etc.

Here is the Chrome extension mentioned, built by TheTool (+ here is one that allows you to see the Google Play short description on desktop).

The “65% of installs come from search” number is true. But a lot of these searches are brand/app names, so when competing for keywords it represents more like 1/3 of installs from searches. Same thing was confirmed from Google.

CPI is still affordable

This is going to evolve so try Apple Search Ads sooner rather than later: between the launch in September and the talk (November), CPI had already raised 1.5x to 3x times.

Thomas shared some numbers from Mobile Action, Singular and other people running Search Ads. The numbers vary between $0.4 and $1.31, with most of them being under $1.

Post-install metrics are really good

The post-install metrics that 8fit (and others) got were really good so far, better than the organic ones in 8fit’s case! Here is also a preliminary report from Appsflyer.


You get 1st party traffic from Apple, that they are not selling to anyone and that you can trust (to an extent – see below).

But…A few issues and challenges

People have been experiencing interface issues, problems to log in, etc. Make sure you double check every change you make to be sure it’s been implemented.

The inventory is still limited (and undisclosed), and even though the CPI was still interesting it was already increasing fast.

Apparently it seems the exact match is not working totally properly, and either is broad match. So here too, double check.

At the time of the talk, there were a few attribution challenges/errors:

  • discrepancies on how an install is defined between attribution providers (first open) and Apple (app installed).
  • Apple’s API can’t manage all the requests from attribution partners.
  • because some users have limited ad tracking on their devices, the attribution partner doesn’t see everything that is happening.

Bidding is already competitive, including on brand searches, so you want to protect your brand by bidding on your brand name (at a cheaper price) so your competitors don’t appear above you.

Metadata matters

What’s in the search ad title has the most weight, then the keywords, then the description. Description is not indexed for organic searches, but it is for search ads so write your app description carefully.


[ Video #2] The Key to the Gates of Hollywood: Achieving Success in IP-Based Games


This is a presentation by Sam Glassenberg (@samzg) from Playtech at Casual Connect Tel Aviv. He talks about why publishing movie or tv show based games can be really interesting (especially when comes the time to take them to market), the challenges and downsides of it as well as how to pick the right IP.

Digging in

The intro is interesting to understand more of the context and evolution of movie based games. And why creating good – and authentic – games really matters now (because they are F2P). The real good stuff starts around 7:00.

The benefits of an IP-based game

The fact a game is using an IP solves a lot of the challenges that publishers face: discoverability, virality, revenue.

Platforms like Google or Apple want to surface games appealing to a big audience and will most likely look at (and feature) your game.

When you start doing user acquisition, you get higher CTR and lower CPA…It basically helps the whole funnel: putting a movie character right at the beginning of the game has sometimes improved metrics by double digits.

Some other cool stuff:

  • Because you have to create a world and expand on the movie or tv show story, you create exclusive content for the game.
  • Actors are excited to be in the games and talk about them.
  • You can often use assets from the animation studio in your game.

The challenges and risks are immense

The majority of movie-based deals don’t actually result in launched games.

The royalties for the games are somewhere between 5 and 50%, and there are often up-front payments that need to be made to the movie studio. You really need to understand the business model of your game, to make absolutely sure that the game can still be profitable despite the IP royalties that you’ll have to pay.

Because so many deals don’t end up in launched games, the relationship your team forms with the people at the movie studio is critical. You can’t do that remotely, you need to have somebody on the ground.

The most important factor is creative approval and the fact that the movie studio has final say. It all starts with the actor likeness (how actors are portrayed in the game). Keeping the movie director/author happy is essential.

The marketing plan for a movie comes very late, so if your game is not a good fit anymore they won’t help you push it.

Picking the right IP

If you’re a developer you can work with a company like Playtech. Here are a few pointers to choose the right IP:

  • You want a big and growing audience, so look at trends and pre-launch buzz
  • Look for something with a big universe
  • There needs to be lots of characters and backstories
  • It’s important to find a good fit for both the game mechanic and the demographic


[ Video #3] How to Market User Generated Content for Mobile Acquisition


This is a presentation from Jared Beekhuyzen and Dennis Werner from Wunder Carpool at the App Promotion Summit in Berlin. They talk about an interesting use case on how they got users to produce content and then leveraged it for acquisition. Lighter subject…But at a time where so many people focus on influencer marketing, it’s surprising that not more companies put efforts into getting user generated content.

Digging in

Why user generated content (UGC)?

Wunder had the specific challenge of targeting Filipino users. Using UGC allows them to make sure the culture fit is good, target the right audience and produce content frequently (because the targeted audience is rather small, and they need to show them different ads).

Although imperfect, UGC shows the reality and is free.

How to set up your content machine

  1. Think about your community and how you want to communicate to them – it needs to be genuine
  2. Get the first real testimonial: call them, write a message, etc.
  3. Do it again and get your second one! After a while people get used to it.
  4. Create a hashtag that you add on your first testimonials
  5. Do a competition to engage your community
  6. Be responsive on social media to keep the momentum going

Moving into video

The same principle applies if you want to get video testimonials from users.

The quality of what you get will not be ideal in terms of framing or quality…So you’ll need to find creative ways to put it together to create the most compelling video possible (we can help!). But it is genuine.

Check out the video (around 10:30) to see what kind of content they were getting and what they did with it.

Like with any video campaigns for user acquisition, Wunder takes a close look at the numbers from Facebook Engagement Analytics to look beyond the number of views and understand why the audience was dropping off. The pattern that works for them is fairly classic:

  1. First 3 seconds presenting the problem
  2. First 10 seconds promising the solution
  3. Rest of the video presenting the solution


[Contenders] Fostering power users, making it in china, lessons from 175 million installs

As usual, it wasn’t easy to select our Top 3 while keeping a good topic diversity.  Here are other talks with good insights:

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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