Top 3 Videos on Mobile Growth #5: February 2017

Mobile App Growth

March 7, 2017

This is issue #5 of our « 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 to bring you the main insights.

We’ve been receiving great feedback on those recaps, so make sure you check out the top 3 videos on mobile growth from other months.

  • 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
  • January – Apple Search Ads | Achieving Success in IP-Based Games | How to Market User Generated Content for Mobile Acquisition

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


[ Video #1] Best practices for launching successfully on Google Play (Google Developer Day at GDC 2017)


This is a panel from the Google Developer Day at GDC 2017, with:

  • Autumn Brown – Sr. Director Mobile Publishing at EA
  • Shaun Rutland – CEO at Hutch
  • Sarah Miller – Marketing Strategist at Nix Hydra
  • Joe Raeburn – Founding Product Guy at SpaceApe

They share their experience using the “Early Access” and “Pre-registration” programs on the Google Play platform, as well as other advices on launching their games.

For this part, you want to watch from 4:23:30 to 4:59:40 in the video below.


Digging in

If you’re not familiar with the 2 programs, below is a brief recap.

The “Pre-registration” program

This is still a limited program. It allows developers to have users sign up for their app/game so they can get notified when it becomes available.

The “Early Access” program

The “Early Access” program is a beta testing program for Google Play launched in 2016. It’s a Google-curated collection of apps in their early stages, that users try and give feedback on before they are launched. It is different from the Google Play beta testing program because it aims at highlighting the best upcoming apps while helping developers improve them.

Developers can now nominate their apps for early access here.

Soft Launch vs. Using Early Access to build the right game

Compared to soft launch, Early Access is more oriented towards looking at the actual mechanics of the game rather than optimization and monetization.

Shaun from Hutch gives the example of getting valuable feedback from players around art style thanks to Early Access. They managed to increase retention by 15% by changing some of the art style.

Joe mentioned using Early Access to go out to real players especially for riskier games. For a race game, they tried 3 different onboarding combinations. At the end of the Early Access phase, they had managed to increase retention by about 60%.

In short:

  • Early access: feedback and tweaks on game mechanics and art style
  • Soft launch: optimization and monetization
[bctt tweet=”Early access is cool because you can ask the real questions and get real answers by real players” via=”no”]

Cross-promotion with pre-registration

Sarah talked about how they cross-promoted their new game “Egg” to the monthly active users of their previous game “Egg Baby”. By sending the players to the pre-registration page of the new game (+ sharing to their Facebook community), they managed to get 250,000 pre-registrations which turned into about 40,000 Day 1 downloads.

Pre-registration helped with keywords/discovery

Pre-registration also helped the game to be found from the get go, appearing in the charts, etc.

Autumn from EA shared how with pre-registration their week 1 installs for Need for Speed No Limits were higher than expected, but also that their top charts ranking moved quicker and that they ranked for keywords faster. This apparently happens with most pre-registrations.

Do a Pre-registration offer

On top of notifying when the game is available, Google advises to have some kind of pre-registration offer: “Sign up to be the first to know about the launch and get XYZ”.

Using Early Access and UA to target your core audience

You might have a (big?) hunch on the audience of your upcoming game. Using ads like Facebook ads or Adwords to bring players to your Early Access version is a good way to test how different groups engage with your app/game.

Players will get some messaging about the game still being completed. It’s also an opportunity to test radically different ways to play (vs. small things like font style) and survey players from within the app. It will give you additional feedback to the Play Store reviews and analytics.

Hold on with cross-promotion for early access

Because you’re testing some drastic changes, don’t try and get your best users (from your other games) to Early Access. It might be better to get them to try your game when it’s closer to being finalized (in beta/soft launch).


[ Video #2] Top App Install Marketing Trends for 2017


This is a presentation by Paul West (@Pau1West) from AdColony at Casual Connect Europe this year. Paul uses an app install survey on the top 100 grossing app developers to bring insights and define trends when it comes to mobile app installs.

Digging in

62% mobile developers, 38% non-game app developers

Keep in mind those profiles when considering the trends mentioned. We are talking about companies that are all partners of AdColony and all in the top 100 grossing (65% responded).

It is a large majority of game developers, and a total monthly budget representing more than 1 million dollars in app install budget.

CPI dominates, rise of CPA

CPI continues to be wildly popular with 96% using it (against 95% last year).

But a rising trend that we’ve mentioned before is the Cost Per Action as it goes beyond the install and ties better with actual engagement (and optimizes towards higher LTV):

  • a first deposit for a casino game
  • a survey complete
  • a tutorial complete

58% of budget going to video ads

Huge part of app installs budget is going to video, with 33% towards non-social media ads (read: video ad networks). Having more game developers most likely makes that last number higher.

Focus: 1. User Quality 2. Price 3. Volume

This is not surprising. We are now beyond “getting downloads” and if you don’t get engaged users then it’s useless. But you also need to stay “within budget” and be scalable.

The most important KPIs for user quality are early In-App Purchase (71%, down from 73% previous quarter), user retention (68%, down from 83% from previous quarter.

An interesting point is the increase in importance of getting a positive review (8%, up from 3% previous quarter) and social login (6%, up from 2% previous quarter).

Full screen video is the most used (91%) and most effective format (for 86%)

Interstitial display is second in usage but only 33% in effectiveness. The most effective formats are all video (full screen, social, in-feed). Playables seem to have a good ratio of usage/effectiveness.

Vertical video will keep on getting strong

A lot of social platforms (Snapchat, Instagram stories, Facebook, etc,) have made vertical video popular. The acceptance of vertical video from brands has been pretty good and this should make it even more popular on video ad networks like AdColony.

The biggest optimization for video ads is creative

What will affect your acquisition campaign performances the most will be your video creatives. The other two aspects are targeting and the platform used.

Going further – you can get the slides here. In need of video creatives? Contact us!


[ Video #3] Defining the next generation of Ad Blocking


This is a panel discussing ad blocking at a Mobile Monday event, with the following experts:

  • Ben Williams (@B__e__n__w) – Ops Manager at Eyeo (AdBlock Plus)
  • Ben Roodman (@BRoodman) – Director of Partner Development at Appsflyer
  • Deepak Thakral (@deepakthakral) – VP Product & Engineering at Chartboost
  • Martin Price (@martinprice) – VP Product at Vungle

Digging in

“The Acceptable Ads Committee”

Ben from Eyeo starts by explaining how AdBlock Plus came to be. What’s interesting is how they have now decided to create an Independant Board to decide which ads are acceptable for their 130 million users. The committee will be composed of:

  • User advocate coalition
  • For profit coalition (ad tech, agencies, publishers)
  • Expert coalition

Is the industry already self-regulating?

Beyond privacy (of course a priority), it seems that the ad networks that have a long term vision already have been making the ads evolve based on performance.

On the ad networks side, the idea is that ad formats that disrupt the user experience too much, take too much time to load or just don’t perform well enough then these formats disappear along time.

The ad networks are now also customizing/optimizing the ad experience to make it closer to the app experience. A good example is rewarded videos, where players make the choice of watching a video to get a reward.

Segmenting the user base to offer different “journeys” seem to be a good way to display ads to people that make a conscious decision that they want this trade-off (ads vs. content) and not display ads to those who don’t (the ones buying IAP for example).

More premium content sponsored by ads in the future (rewarded videos in non-games)?

An interesting topic that came up is how premium content might become more accessible through ads.

Similar to rewarded videos in games, a subscription-based app could allow users to get access to some content by watching a video ad. This could work especially well for newspaper apps to monetize users that would not pay for the subscription but would watch an ad to access the content.

Some of the examples mentioned are carriers/operators allowing to watch ESPN for free in exchange of seeing ads, or carriers rewarding data to customers watching ads. But there might be many more use cases, like ads to get part of a fitness program, tv streaming platforms, etc.


[Contenders] Double your mobile games revenue in 1 Day, How to Find Influencers

Here are other talks with good insights published in February:

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!

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