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Ask the Developer: UA strategies for the Chinese market

by Lewis Leong on Aug 22, 2017

AppLovin is a global brand and platform, which means we have the opportunity to work with developers from different markets all around the world. In our Ask the Developer series, we speak with developers to learn their strategies and best practices and share expert insights.

In our second installment of Ask the Developer, we interviewed Zheng Hang, business development manager at IGG about user acquisition (UA) strategies for the Chinese market. For the unfamiliar, IGG is a mobile game studio based in Singapore, most known for its game Lords Mobile, which is one of the top 50 highest grossing apps in the App Store at the time of writing, according to App Annie.

Could you tell us about IGG’s user acquisition experience and strategies?

One of the biggest factors in the success of Lords Mobile is definitely our user acquisition strategy. The game enjoyed strong performance when we advertised it [via video and playable ads], which laid a solid foundation for us to determine the advertising target for the game.

Based on user data, we adapted our strategy to meet the demands and changes of the market, taking into account user behavior patterns. We also made sure to have a solid line of communication with our partners, like AppLovin, to analyze competitors and industry trends.

For a globally promoted game like Lords Mobile, we chose partners with global experience to help us with product localization and advertising strategies. As a result, our strategies are flexible and the game has maintained strong growth and return on investment since its launch over a year ago.

How long have you been working with AppLovin for UA? What advice would you give to other developers looking to optimize UA?

We’ve been working with AppLovin for about three years now, and we can say that AppLovin is one of our most important partners. For starters, the close real-time data sharing between our UA team and AppLovin’s optimization team helped maximize our advertising spend.

Additionally, AppLovin’s platform is open and intelligent, and it offers advertisers data analysis and automatic optimization tools, which saves us a lot of time and money. Last but not least, AppLovin’s advertising team provides feedback about market environments and offers advice for ad creatives. All these factors are keys to our successful UA strategy.

Lords Mobile artworkImage credit: IGG

How have rewarded video and playable ads contributed to the success of Lords Mobile? How do you think these ads will evolve over the next few years?

We leverage lots of video advertising within Lords Mobile. From our experience, the higher user quality brought by rewarded video proves to be better than other forms of advertising. Video advertising can achieve higher conversion rates and user retention relative to other ad formats. One reason is that video ads allow users to visually understand our games by effectively showing gameplay. Video ads draw in users and increase CPA and CPI to make it easier to retain them and to convert them into paying players. The same level of success wouldn’t be possible with interstitial or banner ads.

In addition to video advertising, Lords Mobile has acquired a huge user base and achieved high ROI with playable ads created by AppLovin. Video advertising and playable ads (the latter of which is more interactive) are definitely the future of mobile advertising.

Rewarded video advertising is currently our main ad format. A good video helps users understand how to play the game and what makes it unique. Playable ads are created so that gamers can play part of the game, which helps promote loyalty and increases retention rates.

How much has traffic increased since you started using rewarded video and playable ads?

Video ads have really helped increase our downloads. AppLovin also provides a data analysis tool, which enables us to advertise Lords Mobile on sub-channels and improve our ad spend. Mobile video advertising faces problems like preloading speed and advertising accuracy, but a mature partner who’s experienced in advertising technology can help developers minimize the time required for the preloading of a video ad. This increased performance means gamers won’t leave in frustration.

Lewis Leong is AppLovin's Content Marketing Manager.

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