‘Park Master’ and Its Rise to Top U.S. Charts: How SparkLabs & MAX Helped
Casual games have gone viral globally with extremely simple styles and unique gameplay. According to AppsFlyer, the installation of casual games increased by 656 percent in the U.S. market alone from 2019 to 2020. This figure alone took up 47 percent of game downloads for the whole year. The entire industry is expanding with fierce competition.
Ubisoft, Nintendo and other giants have also tapped into this field, making it more difficult for medium-sized game developers to compete in this market. These smaller businesses tend to be less competitive than well-established gaming giants in terms of publicity, creativity, and monetization resources.
Focusing on game development and strategy
The key solution is to integrate non-R&D resources and focus more on game development and optimization strategies.
AppLovin has always been dedicated to improving the ecosystem of mobile games and helping developers form a positive business cycle. This means developing services that include releasing, creative materials, design, monetization, and brand safety management. These services help reduce the cost of operation and maintenance for developers.
The goal is to help small and medium-sized development teams to get to the top.
Benefits of a full-stack tech service
AppLovin provides a full-stack service, pulling together creation, customer acquisition, monetization, analysis, and optimization.
Eleanor Chen, head of SparkLabs China, explained, “SparkLabs is a creative team made of designers and developers at AppLovin. The team aims at helping game developers design and produce high-quality advertising materials, including image ads, videos, and demos. SparkLabs tracks the advertising performance on AppLovin platform, iterating and optimizing materials based on data to achieve the desirable results of advertisers.”
KAYAC, a Japanese casual game developer, used AppLovin’s SparkLabs and revenue growth tools to make its game Park Master a chart-topping hit in the U.S.
AppLovin spoke with Yudai Hatasa, the producer, and Takashi Sato, the monetization manager at KAYAC, to share their success story with Chinese developers in the online session of AppLovin Connects last week.
Building emotional interaction with potential players
When KAYAC first designed advertising materials on their own, they had a small team of five and needed support from an experienced partner to reach their target audience. Later, AppLovin’s SparkLabs team optimized them to be simpler yet more effective, thus bringing Park Master to the top.
As shown above, the original design was more complex with multiple cars and graphics. SparkLabs simplified it by removing some unnecessary cars and background, making the experience more simple..
SparkLabs also added real-time facial expressions of a player in the upper right corner to encourage more engagement. The optimization helped:
- Increase the advertising IPM of Park Master by 50 percent
- Grew downloads by nearly 10 times
- It climb to the top of the charts
Yudai said, “The fact that mere optimization of creative materials can hugely improve the results has shown us the importance of advertising creativity.”
MAX and the importance of A/B testing
MAX has much more to offer other than fast access and an easy A/B test. Here are a few examples of what MAX can offer:
- Wholly bidding-oriented aggregation
- A larger third-party advertising network selection, cohort reporting
- SafeDK advertising monitoring
The KAYAC team built the MAX in-app bidding from the first day. The whole access process only took three hours and will be shorter for new games.
“It is difficult to manage SDKs connected to multiple platforms as there would be numerous potential problems. With MAX, that wouldn’t be a problem. The whole access process is easy and smooth,” Takashi said.
He added, “The Unity Integration Manager of MAX is really impressive as it allows us to integrate Unity and upgrade SDK quickly with just a few clicks.”
MAX’s A/B test has enabled KAYAC to conduct a lot more of A/B conveniently for each new ad space. Takashi remarked, “Without MAX’s A/B test, the results would’ve been unpredictable.”