Game devs: 4 tips to achieve your revenue goals in marketing campaigns

by Mark Rosner on Jul 28, 2016

When it comes to marketing your game, are you truly committed to and exploring everything that data can now do for you? Last week I moderated an interesting, wide-ranging panel on how to use data to achieve revenue goals in marketing campaigns at Casual Connect. The panel included experts from EA, GSN, Ketchapp, and Kochava, and the following useful tips for game devs and publishers emerged from the discussion.

Tip #1: Forecast profitability. Use data from early on (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3) to forecast when exactly your investment in UA is going to pay off in terms of whatever revenue model you have (in-app purchases, ad revenue, pay-to-play, etc.). Make sure you  track all the usual important KPIs (LTV, DAU, ARPU, CPI) but also any events that lead to increases in activity or retention in the game. To do that effectively, you naturally have to partner with an analytics solution like Kochava or build your own in-house analytics solution. Then be sure to pass the data along to the mobile marketing platform you partner with.

Tip #2: A/B testing is your friend! When it comes to zeroing in on strategies that will deliver remember that you can A/B test all sorts of things to determine what is the most effective. At Ketchapp, they’ve A/B tested colors and messages used in ad creative, and that A/B testing overall has resulted in higher conversion rates and LTV. At GSN, they constantly test their screenshots and rotate creatives to see what works in their App Store page. They even test thumbnails for video in the App Store — the thumbnail was very important to driving conversions and actual installs. And, no matter how you apply it, A/B testing should define where you spend your money on campaigns.

Tip #3: Be smart about cross-promotion. If you have more than one game, cross promotion is a cost effective way to get your players to engage with multiple titles, and increase your overall brand equity with them. At EA, they use data to detect when a user might churn out and never come back, and then they work to engage them with another one of their games. They also make sure to cross-promote games that have a higher ARPU to maximize each player’s value across various titles. For example, if you have one game that doesn’t offer many opportunities for IAPs, but another that does, , you can cross-promote to engage users in your more profitable game. In general, sound cross-promotion is a sure-fire way to decrease UA costs and increase player LTV.

Tip #4: Look at LTV holistically. In the panel, we all agreed that establishing LTV is a challenge for a lot of people, and that’s partly because many game devs only look at part of what makes up LTV.  Many sophisticated game companies are looking at all inputs of value including IAPs, ad revenue per player, and even assigning value (when possible) to referrals the player makes (sharing on Facebook, for example). The panelists highlighted that once a company agrees on what makes up LTV for them, they need to ensure everyone understands it and present a unified vision of what LTV is. This makes it much easier for UA managers (and really, all teams) to execute their jobs effectively.

There are many ways you can use data to build, test, and monitor your marketing campaigns — it’s just a matter of committing to the notion that data and analytics are crucial to your success and then executing on that commitment. Data is key to evaluating your creative, profitability, and LTV; once you have using data down, you will only gain in a way that builds over time.


Mark Rosner is AppLovin’s Chief Revenue Officer.