Growth 11 min read  - June 7, 2023

Decrease Churn Rate - Strategies to boost your mobile retention

The power to transform your game's user retention strategies, delve deep into user behavior analysis, and explored innovative ad monetization techniques... lies at your fingertips.

Understanding the intricacies of user behavior, churn causes, and lifetime value is not just theoretical but a functional reality. This is the era of data-driven user engagement strategies and refined ad monetization.

Appodeal Stack empowers you with robust tools for understanding your user metrics, monetizing your mobile apps, and boosting users’ LTV (LifeTime Value). In this article, we're going to explore actionable insights that can have a transformative impact on your app's success and profitability.

Our intention? To spark curiosity and arm you with knowledge.

We have crafted this comprehensive guide with real-life scenarios, insights, and tools to assist you in maximizing your game's user retention and ad revenues. Ready to dive in?

Table of Contents

  1. Retention & Engagement still matters
  2. Calculate the Retention Rate of your mobile game
  3. Find out what makes your users churn
  4. Control your Ad Quality to prevent user churn
  5. Activating & Onboarding users: the key for a long-term Retention
  6. Retargeting campaigns to avoid User Churn
  7. Re Engage your users with Rewards and Incentives
  8. Use your Historical Data & Monitor your metrics
  9. Now is the time to boost your Retention Metrics
Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

1. Retention & Engagement still matters

In the dynamic app development world, user retention and engagement remain essential. Retention rates, representing the percentage of users who continue using an app over a set time, are vital to user satisfaction, engagement, and the app's revenue potential.

High retention rates mean users find the app valuable, leading to long-term usage and a stronger user base. This focus on retention helps developers build durable products and secure a competitive edge.

Key benefits of retention rates

  • Monetization: High retention increases the likelihood of in-app purchases and ad engagement, leading to steady revenue streams.
  • User Acquisition: High retention reduces the need for expensive user acquisition efforts.
  • Product Development: Analyzing retention rates helps app developers and game studios improve their products based on user feedback and behavior.

LifeTime Value (LTV): A crucial metric

LTV is vital for game studios and app developers as it shows the value a user adds over their lifetime engagement with the app. It helps developers identify their most valuable users and tailor their strategies accordingly to maximize revenue and profitability.

For game developers, LTV calculates the revenue a user generates throughout their engagement with the game. Non-game app developers, especially those with subscription-based apps, use LTV to optimize their subscription models and pricing strategies.

Focusing on retention rates and understanding LTV provide valuable insights for app developers to succeed in the competitive mobile app market.

2. Calculate the Retention Rate of your mobile game

Understanding the retention rate of your mobile game is crucial to assessing user engagement and satisfaction. Here’s a simplified way to calculate it:

Steps to Calculate Retention Rates

  1. Choose a time interval (daily, weekly, monthly, etc).
  2. Select a cohort of users, e.g., those who installed the game within a certain timeframe.
  3. Determine the duration for measuring retention within the chosen cohort.
  4. Divide the number of active users within the specified retention period by the total number of users in the initial cohort.
  5. Repeat the calculation for each period within the desired timeframe for continuous tracking.

Simple Formula & Cohort analysis

Retention rate = users retained at end of period / Total users at the start of the period

While the simple formula gives a general view, comparing the evolution of retention for the same cohorts gives a more nuanced understanding. Different users downloading your game at different times may have varying experiences due to changes in the product, onboarding process, pricing, etc.

And here's two other calculations that may be of interest to you:

  • Aggregate Retention Rate = MAU (Monthly Active Users) / Installs
  • Cohort Analysis Retention Rate = Users retained at the end of time period / Installs at start of the time period

Formulas vs. Cohorts

The retention rate reveals growth trends and potential revenue, showing the 'stickiness' of your game. It's more insightful than merely counting downloads or acquisitions. 

However, only tracking the aggregate retention rate may obscure the current trend. Cohort analysis, which compares retention rates by specific time periods, allows for a more accurate understanding of user behavior and retention trends.

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

3. Find out what makes your users churn

Understanding the motivations and behaviors of your user base is crucial for your app's growth. This includes not just pinpointing what drives user engagement but also uncovering the reasons why users might stop using your app or churn. 

Delving into User Drop-off Causes

Increasing the number of users who complete all the steps in your activation funnel is a key objective. To achieve this, it's essential to understand why users drop off in the first place and eliminate those friction points.

Appodeal provides a "funnels" feature that reveals the routes leading users to drop off. These pathways are labeled with the percentage of users following them, enabling the identification of common drop-off points.

For example, you may notice a significant user drop-off when multiple ads are shown in your app. This insight is valuable as it indicates a possible area for improvement to retain more users.

Activating New Users & Identifying Conversion Drivers

Another perspective on drop-off can be obtained by looking at conversion drivers. 

For instance, Appodeal might reveal that the "View Ads" step in the onboarding flow is a point of contention for userse. This could suggest that user experience during this step needs to be optimized.

In conclusion, identifying what your users love and what causes them to churn is a process that requires continuous monitoring and optimization. Using tools like Appodeal, you can understand user behavior more effectively and create an app experience that keeps users engaged and reduces churn.

4. Control your Ad Quality to prevent user churn

As we delve further into our topic, let's discuss an aspect crucial to user retention: managing ad quality. The mobile gaming landscape has shifted significantly over time, with In-App Advertising (IAA) transitioning from a hot-button issue to a crucial part of monetization strategies.

Effective ad technology plays a vital role in this endeavor by offering the necessary data to customize high-quality ads that align with user interests, thereby minimizing any potential disruption to the user experience.

The Ideal Scenario: What does “Great” Ad Strategy Look Like?

A successful ad strategy is characterized by transparent access to vital monetization data and user-friendly, high-performing ad templates. Publishers need ad data that reveals who's buying their ad inventory, the costs involved, and access to various demand sources. Additionally, understanding user interactions with these ads can provide valuable insights to identify why certain ads might lead users to discontinue playing the game.

Publishers can make informed decisions by enhancing transparency in the ecosystem and sharing all available data. They can pinpoint which demand sources and advertisers are linked to decreases in retention and modify their strategies accordingly.

Tools and Techniques for Better Ad Monetization

To effectively enhance ad monetization, publishers need access to transparent data that allows them to identify and isolate poor ad experiences. Additionally, they need tools to act upon this data to maximize game revenues.

Full control over your ad monetization stack allows you to identify problematic ad experiences, trace their origin, and analyze their impact on key game metrics such as churn, retention, engagement, and revenue.

By identifying these issues on a user-level basis, as a publisher, you can tie the negative ad experience to the behavioral and revenue impact on that particular group of users. This prevents the recurrence of these experiences for the affected user by removing the problematic channel or specific advertisement, thus preventing them from abandoning the game altogether.

5. Activating & Onboarding users: the key to a long-term Retention 

Fostering lasting user engagement hinges heavily on two critical components: activating users effectively and delivering an outstanding onboarding experience. If you're building for enduring user retention, these two aspects of your product funnel can't be overlooked.

Activation: A Cornerstone of Retention

A powerful activation strategy acts as the gateway to your product's potential. Without successfully introducing new users to the unique value of your product in a timely manner, overall retention is at risk. A product might be unparalleled in functionality, but long-term retention may suffer if activation doesn't happen effectively and quickly. By enhancing activation rates, you're fueling your product's growth engine.

Deciphering the phases of new user activation is key to designing a potent activation journey. With tools like Appodeal, you can track activation events and provide an understanding of the journey users take during activation.

Appodeal gives us valuable insight into our conversion rate at each funnel stage. It allows us to determine what percentage of users move forward from each previous step, the overall conversion rate of the activation funnel, and the average time users spend at each stage.

Designing an Exceptional Onboarding Journey

Designing a top-tier onboarding experience demands a thoughtful approach to several key elements. These factors are instrumental in boosting user retention, engagement, and satisfaction:

  1. Simplicity is key: Make your content clear, concise, and user-friendly to help users understand your app’s features.
  2. Get the users involved: Provide interactive and engaging activities to retain users' interest during onboarding. Highlight the most important features and actions users must perform during their initial interaction.
  3. Offer content that matters to your users: Clearly communicate the app’s purpose and benefits to encourage users to delve deeper. Prioritize introducing the key features and benefits that are most valuable and relevant to users.
  4. Be User-friendly & data transparent: CBe upfront about the onboarding process and data collection methods to foster trust and understanding.
  5. Relatable Communication: Use an eye-level tone of voice for clear, relatable, and user-friendly communication. Use animations to make onboarding more engaging and intuitive, thereby enhancing the user experience.

The Power of a Well-designed Onboarding Experience

Your onboarding experience's design significantly influences your app's success trajectory. Here's why:

  1. User Retention & Orientation: A well-crafted onboarding experience helps users understand the app's value and benefits, increasing engagement and retention. Which is our major goal for this article.
  2. First Impressions: The initial interaction with an app leaves a lasting impression. A seamless and engaging onboarding process can significantly enhance user experience, thereby encouraging continued usage.
  3. Lower Abandonment Rates: Users who face confusion or frustration during the initial interaction are more likely to abandon the app. Effective onboarding reduces this risk.
  4. Reduced Support Costs: A proper onboarding process reduces the likelihood of issues arising that require customer support, resulting in cost savings.
Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

6. Retargeting campaigns to avoid User Churn

In our journey to tackle user churn, we focus on retargeting campaigns. Retargeting refers to re-engaging users who've previously interacted with your app.

The Benefits of Retargeting

Retargeting holds a basket of benefits. It zooms in on users already acquainted with your app's value, negating the need for initial education. This increased familiarity often leads to continued app use. Additionally, retargeting cuts acquisition costs by focusing on users more likely to re-engage, making it a cost-effective approach compared to sourcing new users.

Retargeting mainly targets users who've previously installed the app, those who've downloaded the app on a different device, and inactive users. By reminding them of your app's value, retargeting boosts reactivation rates and drives downloads, potentially leading to higher ROAS and LTV.

Best Practices for Retargeting Campaigns

Crafting successful retargeting campaigns entails personalized messaging and relevant incentives. Highlight app updates or new features that may interest returning users. Utilize A/B testing to optimize your campaigns and set clear, measurable goals.

Track metrics like CTR and conversion rate, and monitor retention and revenue for a comprehensive view of your campaign's performance. And don't forget about the lifetime value of your users – it's a significant guide for ad spend allocation.

Note that returning users may have already completed actions like subscribing or purchasing. Hence, if your KPI targets unique events, returning users might not trigger them, skewing your performance metrics. Therefore, revenue should be your key growth metric, offering a more holistic perspective of your campaign's success.

7. Re-Engage your users with Rewards and Incentives

With a strategic and generous approach to rewarding your users, you'll retain existing users and transform them into brand advocates. Here's how you can harness the power of rewards to drive user engagement and loyalty.

Deploy Strategic, Timely Rewards

Encourage habitual app use with well-timed rewards that hold true value for your users. Daily challenges and trophies add an enticing element in gaming apps, while in retail apps, time-limited discounts or gifts could make all the difference. Consider offering rewards for consecutive daily logins, much like a loyalty "streak". Such incentives remind users of the advantages they stand to lose by churning.

Celebrate User Milestones

People love to be acknowledged. Use Appodeal's automated reward triggers to celebrate users' milestones. A little gift goes a long way, be it a birthday, an app-usage anniversary, or a significant achievement within the app. This keeps your brand relevant and creates a warm, personal bond with the user.

Keep Users in the Loop

If your app uses a tiered reward system, ensure your users know their current status and the rewards they stand to gain. Notifying users of their proximity to the next reward tier or any pending rewards could catalyze further app engagement. Make use of Appodeal's powerful data analytics to offer personalized reminders.

Reward User Feedback

Promote a culture of open dialogue with your user base. Encourage them to share feedback by offering rewards or incentives. This re-engages them and offers invaluable insights into their needs and preferences, thus enabling proactive churn management.

Entice Users with Exclusive Trials and Offers

Roll out exclusive, time-sensitive discounts or trials of premium features to select users. This creates a sense of exclusivity and urgency that could encourage dormant users to return and engage with your app. The key is to make the reward redemption process straightforward and user-friendly.

Host Free Events

Foster community spirit by inviting your users to free events like webinars, product launches, or networking meetups. Such events provide an opportunity to reacquaint dormant users with your brand while simultaneously strengthening relationships with active users.

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

8. Use your Historical Data & Monitor your metrics

Your gathered historical data is the compass that guides your journey. Here's how to leverage your data, key metrics, and a reliable platform like Appodeal to enhance your marketing prowess.

Decoding User Behavior to Counteract Churn

Decoding your users' behavior is instrumental in combating churn. With Appodeal, you can identify trends that may lead to app uninstalls and nip these issues in the bud to retain users effectively. As an extension of this, personalized interaction becomes key. Avoid blasting users with generic messages; tailor messages to each user's context for enhanced engagement and satisfaction.

Handling large-scale user behavior tracking and personalized messaging is a demanding task. Thus, you need a robust platform to swiftly manage millions of personalized messages. With Appodeal, you can do just that, ensuring your user engagement strategy is efficient and scalable.

Employing Historical Data for User Conversion

Using Appodeal also allows you to monitor the conversion of resurrected users. You can measure your re-engagement campaigns' success by comparing this metric with your dormant users' total count. Plus, it offers insights to identify roadblocks causing user drop-offs and opportunities for improvement. These insights guide you in adjusting your product to boost retention.

Unraveling your users' feature usage patterns can provide valuable insights into retention rates. A deeper understanding of how the frequency of use for specific features impacts retention can guide you in making decisions that boost user engagement.

Knowing your power users and the features they use, most is crucial for building effective engagement strategies. Appodeal's retention analysis tool aids in identifying these power users and understanding what makes your product appealing to them.

Tracking your top mobile app & game Metrics

Lastly, keep track of essential mobile game metrics such as DAU, MAU, ARPU, retention rate, LTV, session length, churn rate, CAC, virality coefficient, conversion rate, time to first purchase, app store ratings, reviews, engagement metrics, and network performance. 

These metrics, though varying in relevance based on your game type, target audience, and monetization model, provide a comprehensive picture of your game's performance and user experience, assisting you in optimizing your game and marketing strategies.

9. Now is the time to boost your Retention Metrics

We've navigated the maze of retention strategies, delved deep into user behavior analysis, and explored innovative ad monetization techniques. 

The power to transform your game's user retention and ad revenue lies at your fingertips. With our cutting-edge mobile growth platform, we can unlock growth opportunities that have remained hidden till now. Appodeal Stack is here to equip you with more than just theoretical knowledge; it's here to provide you with an all-in-one growth platform for your mobile app business.

In-app bidding, hybrid monetization models, enhanced eCPM, and improved ARPDAU are no longer elusive concepts. Appodeal Stack has already opened the doors for thousands of app creators and developers to leverage these powerful strategies.

Step into the future of the mobile gaming industry. Start your journey with Appodeal Stack today, and turn your apps into top-earning hits.

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

AppBeast is an innovative global mobile advertising agency. Established in 2017, we offer a wide coverage of media buying and creative thinking, allowing our clients to find top users all over the world. Our clients see performance based approach to every decision along the customer journey.
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Featured Professionals in the Mobile Gaming & Ad-Tech Industry
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Marc Llobet
Marc Llobet

Growth 7 min read  - May 17, 2023

How to Create the Perfect Playable Ad for your mobile game

By focusing on these aspects and leveraging the insights gained from in-ad metrics, you can create playable ads that resonate with your audience, increase brand awareness, and drive app installs.

A few weeks ago, I came across an article about a mobile gaming app that claimed to be getting a whopping 95% of its installs from a single playable ad. 

This staggering number piqued my curiosity and made me wonder if other mobile app publishers and game studios could achieve similar results by leveraging playable ads effectively.

And indeed, after extensive research, I found out that most use cases showed how playable ads could significantly enhance user acquisition strategies. We’re talking about an ad format that offers engaging experiences that drive high-quality installs and a high ROAS (return on ad spend).

In this blog post, I'll share some tips and best practices I discovered to help you make the most out of playable ads for your mobile games.

Summary

  1. Why Playable Ads are a Game Changer
  2. Playable ads benefits
  3. Create the Perfect Playable Ad
  4. In-Ad metrics
  5. Playable Ads today

Why Playable Ads are a Game Changer

Playable ads have been gaining traction for a good reason – they offer an interactive and engaging advertising experience for users, giving them a taste of the game before they decide to install it. The users you acquire through playable ads are more likely to be genuinely interested in your game, leading to higher retention rates and overall better ROI.

As I mentioned, a company like ITI Studio generated an astonishing 95% of installs for their game with just one playable ad. This single ad's success increased the in-view rate (IVR) on both operating systems by 77% and lowered the cost per install (CPI) by 56%. These impressive results led ITI to allocate a staggering 96% of its advertising budget to playable ads.

Considering the global mobile gaming market, projected to reach $338 billion by the end of the decade, it's no wonder that 28% of US agency professionals have found playable ads to be the most effective in-app ad format. Playable ads convert 2.6x better than other static formats and lead to a 53% average monthly impressions increase.

Moreover, recent surveys from Appodeal partners’ revealed that, when publishers and studios integrate playable ads into their user acquisition strategies, they get:

  • 70% more installs, 
  • 60% more clicks (CTR)
  • and 40% greater return (ROAS) 

Given the challenges of privacy constraints introduced to the market in recent years, the data strongly support the demand for playable ads.

So, if you're looking to boost your app downloads and user engagement, playable ads should definitely be on your radar. 

Playable ads benefits: attract engaged users, improve long-term retention, etc.

You might already be aware that playable ads attract engaged users and improve long-term retention. But why does this matter for mobile app publishers and game studios? Let's dive deeper into the benefits of using playable ads and how they can contribute to your app's success.

Users who install a game after engaging with a playable ad already know what to expect. They're familiar with the basic game mechanics and can start playing right away. This often leads to higher user retention and increased player lifetime value (LTV). According to Appodeal partners, playable ads can increase your retention rates by up to 40%.

Although the cost per install (CPI) for playable ads is higher than video or banner ads, the return on investment (ROI) is also higher, making it worthwhile. Moreover, since users have already experienced the game before installing it, those who might not enjoy it are already excluded. This allows game developers to focus on engaged and interested users, ultimately saving money in the long run.

Additionally, the performance of playable ads is easier to monitor, providing real-time insights into user engagement. This allows you to adjust and optimize the ad's difficulty or other aspects if it's underperforming.

In summary, playable ads offer numerous benefits, including:

  • Increased engagement: Playable ads shorten the customer journey through the sales funnel, leading to faster decision-making.
  • Valuable analytical information: Interactive ads provide real-time insights, allowing you to test, tweak, and optimize for maximum user retention.
  • Higher retention rates and reduced app uninstalls: Users who install the game after engaging with a playable ad are already familiar with the game mechanics, resulting in higher user retention and audience LTV.

However, playable ads have some cons, compared to other ad formats. Playable ads are more complex in terms of technical aspects. As a result, creating a playable ad demands a significantly greater amount of time, effort, and financial investment.

How to Create the Perfect Playable Ad

One of the most common things we’ve noticed in use cases featuring playable ads is that this ad format is not just one component in a larger user acquisition funnel; they serve as a funnel themselves. 

For this reason, when creating effective and engaging playable ads, professionals in the industry tend to break down the essential components.

The following section is a compilation of the most common elements, features, and best practices found in several use cases and success stories, many of which come from Appodeal partners. 

Context & Audience

Understanding the context and audience is crucial for creating a successful playable ad. 

Adapting the playable ad to your player’s motivations will help you develop a better campaign. For example, if you have a casual mobile game, you can create playable ads featuring different aspects of the game that appeal to various player motivations. 

If your mobile app is more complex, you may want to keep the playable simple. Don’t put all the eggs in the sack. Sometimes less is more.

And if your target audience is unaware of the specifics of your game, you can even combine multiple ad formats to provide users with the context they need. For instance, you can create an ad creative that combines videos, playable ads, and attention-grabbing end cards for a more engaging ad experience.

Tutorial

The tutorial briefly introduces the main game mechanics and should be short and simple. Similar to your mobile game, the tutorial should serve as a hook to engage viewers and get them interested in the game.

Remember that simplicity is key in most mobile ad formats, especially for non-gaming apps. A playable can be as simple as choosing a favorite among songs or movies for streaming apps or a short, interactive quiz for a news app. 

This is the ideal situation for concise, straightforward copy and visual cues like flashing hands. Communicate to the user that they must take action. Employ powerful action verbs such as "match," "tap," "strike," and so on.

Gameplay

Playables don't need to represent the full game experience but should showcase basic, early-game features and mechanics. Focus on demonstrating the gameplay experience, including different game assets, animations, music, and sound effects.

Unlike the tutorial, the player interacts with the game without much guidance. 

Think about how to represent your game in the best light, and consider all the selling points of your game. It's a good idea to divide the core gameplay into several elements, showcasing different selling points with each playable ad.

Call to Action

Most playable include a call to action (CTA), either embedded throughout the ad or appearing at the end. The goal is to invite users to download the game, leading to a conversion. 

The CTA should be clear and convincing, with creative copy and bold visuals directing users to download the app or act brand-appropriately.

While you can include the CTA after the viewers are done playing, it's better to make the download button available throughout the ad. That way, users can choose to install the game at any point.

Post-Install Experience

Align your playable ad creative with the authentic in-app experience. This approach is crucial for down-funnel metrics like ROAS (return on ad spend) and LTV (lifetime value). Working with an ad partner like Appodeal's Creative Studio can help you strike the right balance, make informed creative decisions, and create custom strategies to make an impact.

Rewarded approaches, such as giving players virtual currency or in-game items in exchange for viewing an ad, can also be effective. For non-gaming apps, rewards could include coupons, deep discounts on products or services, or gifts with purchases. 

Giving users incentives to complete the activity in an interactive ad increases the chance they'll see it through to the end and take the next action.

In-Ad metrics: New KPI’s to identify a successful playable ad

While standard ad performance metrics like CPI, CTR, CPA, and ROAS are relevant to playable ads, the interactive nature of these ads introduces additional, valuable "in-ad metrics." These metrics help measure the effectiveness of various elements within the ad and provide insights for improving future iterations.

Second 1 Retention (S1 Retention)

Unlike mobile games focusing on Day 1 (D1) retention, playable ads emphasize Second 1 (S1) retention. S1 retention ensures users understand the ad is interactive and requires their engagement. Utilize clear copy, engaging visuals, and strong action verbs like "match," "tap," and "strike" to guide users.

High S1 retention indicates a well-performing playable ad. If your KPI is centered around S1 retention, your campaign likely focuses on brand awareness, aiming to create a memorable ad experience and later converting users through retargeting.

Second 6 Retention (S6 Retention)

Optimizing the tutorial phase, which occurs within the first few seconds, is crucial for retaining users. Employ best practices like showing hands for swiping, highlighting key buttons, providing clear hints, and offering concise instructions to improve S6 retention. This metric measures the effectiveness of onboarding users into the ad, reducing the chance of user frustration and app abandonment.

Second 14 Retention (S14 Retention)

At around 14 seconds, users should be fully engaged in the ad. The gameplay, a vital yet challenging section to optimize, must balance difficulty and enjoyment. Guide users without revealing all the answers and keep them engaged. Consider the game genre when optimizing for difficulty, as it can impact user behavior.

S14 retention measures overall ad enjoyment, as users at this stage have shown interest in the gameplay and are more likely to enjoy the actual game.

Second 30 Retention (S30 Retention)

By S30, users have completed the gameplay, viewed the end card, and encountered the CTA to install the game. These users are the highest-quality acquired players. However, reaching S30 does not guarantee an install. Optimizing for S30 involves carefully crafting CTAs, using appealing colors and graphics, and considering the difficulty level of the gameplay.

Winning or losing the game can significantly impact S30 retention. Users who win are more likely to continue through S30 and ultimately convert.

Start with Playable Ads Today

Playable ads are revolutionizing the mobile advertising landscape, offering engaging and interactive experiences for users while providing valuable insights for developers and publishers. By understanding the importance of this ad format and implementing best practices, you can create the perfect playable ad that appeals to your target audience, effectively showcases your game's features, and encourages user interaction.

Key components of successful playable ads include understanding the context and audience, crafting effective tutorials and engaging gameplay, developing a strong call-to-action, and ensuring a seamless post-install experience. In addition to standard ad metrics, playable ads benefit from unique in-ad metrics such as S1, S6, S14, and S30 retention, which help measure and optimize various elements within the ad for maximum performance.

By focusing on these aspects and leveraging the insights gained from in-ad metrics, you can create playable ads that resonate with your audience, increase brand awareness, and drive app installs. With the right balance of creativity and optimization, you can make a lasting impact on users and elevate the success of your ad campaigns.

Take advantage of the power of playable ads in your future ad campaigns by partnering with Appodeal. Our expertise and advanced ad optimization solutions will help you create captivating, high-performing playable ads that increase user engagement and deliver impressive results for your app or game. Don't miss out on the opportunity to stand out in the competitive mobile market – start harnessing the potential of playable ads with Appodeal today!

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

AppBeast is an innovative global mobile advertising agency. Established in 2017, we offer a wide coverage of media buying and creative thinking, allowing our clients to find top users all over the world. Our clients see performance based approach to every decision along the customer journey.
Guest Author
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Featured Professionals in the Mobile Gaming & Ad-Tech Industry
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ASO & Organic Traffic 9 min read  - March 14, 2023

Cutting Ad Budgets without sacrificing UA Quality

Mobile app and game studios must be strategic in their ad budget planning to ensure they are not sacrificing quality user growth...

In today's fast-paced digital world, mobile apps have become an essential part of everyday life for many people. From social media to online shopping and gaming, there's an app for almost everything.

As a result, mobile studios are investing heavily in user acquisition to tap into their audiences. However, creating a successful mobile business requires more than just a great app. You also need a solid marketing strategy to reach and engage your target audience. One of the most critical elements of this strategy is advertising.

Advertising plays a crucial role in driving user acquisition and engagement for mobile apps. It's also one of the biggest expenses for app developers and marketers. With increasing competition, the cost of advertising is going up, making it challenging to balance ad spending with user growth and engagement.

The goal is to reach a large number of potential users while still maintaining the highest return on investment (ROI). To achieve this, businesses must be strategic in their approach to advertising, focusing on the most effective channels while cutting back on those that are less effective.

In this article, we'll explore strategies for cutting ad budgets without sacrificing the quality of user acquisition campaigns.

Summary

  1. Understand your Target Audience
  2. Analyze your Ad Performance
  3. Quality over Quantity
  4. Remarketing
  5. Optimizing Ad Creatives
  6. Influencer Marketing
  7. Monitor, Adjust & Iterate
  8. Follow Best Practices

1. Understand Your Target Audience

When it comes to mobile apps and games, understanding your target audience is crucial for creating a successful ad campaign.

cutting-ad-budgets-sacrificing-ua-quality-1-audience

Knowing who your users are and what they need will help you determine the best channels for reaching them.

How to Understand your Target Audience?

Here are a few ways to better understand your target audience for these types of products:

  1. Demographic Data: Collect information about your target audience's age, gender, location, education, and income level. This will give you a good idea of who your target audience is and what their interests and needs are.
  2. User Behavior: Analyze the behavior of your current users. Look at how often they use your app, what features they engage with the most, and how long they spend using it. This information can help you tailor your ads to specific segments of your target audience.
  3. Psychographic Data: Study the values, attitudes, and personality traits of your target audience. This information can help you create ads that resonate with your audience's values and lifestyle.
  4. App Store Data: Take advantage of the data available in app store listings. Review the user reviews and ratings to get an understanding of what users like and dislike about similar apps.

By combining this information, you can create a profile of your target audience and use that information to create ads that are more likely to engage and convert them into paying users.

Monitoring your target audience

It is also important to continuously monitor and update your understanding of your target audience. As consumer behavior changes over time, your target audience may evolve, so it is essential to regularly reassess and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Once you have a good understanding of your target audience, it is important to segment them into different groups based on their behaviors and preferences. This allows you to create more personalized and relevant ads for each group, increasing their engagement and the chances of conversion.

By understanding your target audience, using tools to gather information, segmenting your audience, and continuously monitoring their behavior, you can create ads that effectively engage and convert your target audience.

This way, you will finally be able to adjust your ad campaigns to improve their performance over time.

2. Analyze your UA Ad Performance

Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, it's time to analyze your ad performance.

Analyzing ad performance is crucial in determining the success of your advertising efforts. By monitoring key metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, cost per acquisition (CPA), and return on investment (ROI), you can get a clear picture of which ads are performing well and which ones are not.

cutting-ad-budgets-sacrificing-ua-quality-2-performance

One of the key benefits of analyzing ad performance is that it allows you to make data-driven decisions about your ad spend. By identifying which ads are generating the most engagement and conversions, you can optimize your ad budget to focus on those that are producing the best results. This helps you to cut your ad budget without sacrificing the quality of your user acquisition campaigns.

Understand your Metrics & Goals

To effectively analyze ad performance, it's important to have a clear understanding of your goals and metrics. This may involve setting up tracking and measurement systems that capture key performance indicators and provide you with detailed insights into your ad campaign.

Once you have a clear understanding of your ad performance, you can use this information to make informed decisions about your ad strategy. For example, if a particular ad is not generating the desired results, you can adjust its targeting, messaging, or creative elements to see if it improves performance.

By regularly analyzing ad performance, you can make data-driven decisions that optimize your ad budget, and ensure that your advertising efforts generate the best possible results.

3. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to mobile advertising, sometimes quality is more important than quantity.

Focusing on quality over quantity in ad campaigns is crucial for cutting ad budgets without sacrificing the quality of your user acquisition campaigns. High-quality ads can be more effective in engaging users, even with a smaller ad budget.

Rather than spreading your advertising budget across multiple channels, focus on the channels providing the best results. This will help you maximize your ROI while also reducing your overall advertising costs.

This way, you can reduce your ad budget while still achieving the user growth and engagement you desire. Remember to prioritize relevance, clarity, and visual appeal when developing your ad campaign to ensure success.

4. Use Remarketing

Remarketing is a powerful tool for reaching users who have already shown an interest in your product or service.

Remarketing is a powerful technique that can help increase user engagement and retention in mobile apps and games. It involves reaching out to users who have already interacted with your app or game in some way, such as downloading it, making a purchase, or simply visiting the app store page. By targeting these users, you can improve the chances of retaining them as active users and encourage them to continue engaging with your app or game.

cutting-ad-budgets-sacrificing-ua-quality-4-remarketing

Push Notifications

One way to implement remarketing in mobile apps and games is through push notifications. Push notifications can remind users about the app or game and offer them incentives, such as rewards or exclusive content, to encourage them to re-engage.

For example, if a user hasn't used a mobile game for a few days, a push notification could be sent with a message like "Come back and play to earn a special prize."

Targeted Ads

Another way to use remarketing in mobile apps and games is through targeted ads. For example, if a user has abandoned an app or game mid-level, targeted ads could be displayed to remind them about the app and entice them to come back and complete the level. By using targeted ads, you can ensure that your advertising budget is being spent on users who are most likely to re-engage with your app or game.

Control your Timing

Another important aspect of remarketing in mobile apps and games is timing. It's important to send push notifications and remarketing ads at the right time, such as when a user is most likely to be engaged and have time to re-engage with your app or game. For example, if your app or game is primarily used during the evening, you may want to send push notifications or display ads in the evenings when users are more likely to have time to engage with your app.

By reaching out to users who have already shown interest in your app or game, you can improve the chances of retaining them as active users and encourage them to continue engaging with your app.

Through targeted ads, and timing your remarketing efforts effectively, you can maximize the impact of your remarketing efforts and achieve your goals for user engagement and retention.

5. Optimize Ad Creatives

Another way to maximize the impact of your advertising budget is by optimizing your ad creatives.

Optimizing ad creatives is an important aspect of cutting ad budgets without sacrificing your user acquisition campaigns. Ad creatives refer to the visual and text components of an advertisement. When these components are not optimized, it can result in low engagement, low conversion rates and, ultimately, low return on investment (ROI).

cutting-ad-budgets-sacrificing-ua-quality-5-creatives

Steps to optimize ad creatives:

  1. Test different ad formats - Experiment with different ad formats such as interstitials, banners, rewarded videos, and native ads to see which ones perform best for your target audience.
  2. Use high-quality visuals - Ensure that your ad creatives have high-quality visuals that are eye-catching and relevant to the target audience.
  3. Keep the messaging clear and concise - Keep the messaging in your ad creatives clear and concise so that it is easy for the target audience to understand and take action.
  4. Use emotional appeals - Emotional appeals have been shown to be effective in boosting engagement and conversion rates. Consider incorporating emotional appeals in your ad creatives to tap into the emotional connection of your target audience.
  5. Personalize the ad creatives - Personalizing the ad creatives by using the target audience's location, interests, or behavior can increase engagement and conversion rates.

By following these tips and continuously monitoring and adjusting the ad creatives, you can optimize your ad spend and achieve quality UA campaigns. Regular testing and optimization of ad creatives can help to increase the ROI on your ad budget and drive better results for your business.

6. Utilize Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a cost-effective way to reach a large audience and drive user engagement. By partnering with influencers with a large following in your target market, you can leverage their reach to promote your app.

In other articles, we have already covered some tips for game studios that want to start working with influencers, and even some of the worst mistakes of influencer marketing from mobile game studios.

Influencer marketing can be a more cost-effective alternative to traditional advertising channels, especially if you choose influencers who are a good fit for your product or service.

cutting-ad-budgets-sacrificing-ua-quality-6-influencers

7. Monitor, Adjust & Iterate

To ensure the best return on investment for ad spend, it's important to continuously monitor and adjust campaigns. Data-driven insights and analysis of ad performance can highlight areas for improvement and inform optimization decisions. This can involve tweaking targeting, testing different creatives, or making changes to bid strategy.

One key aspect of monitoring ad performance is tracking the right metrics. The most important metrics will vary depending on the goals of each campaign, but common metrics to consider include cost per acquisition, return on ad spend, and the user LTV (life time value).

Use the data to make informed decisions

Once data is collected, it's important to use it to make informed decisions.

 For example, if a particular targeting strategy is driving high acquisition costs, it may be time to try a different approach. On the other hand, if a creative element is performing particularly well, it may be wise to double down and create similar creative for other campaigns.

It's also important to avoid getting too fixated on short-term performance. User acquisition is just one piece of the puzzle – user retention and lifetime value are just as important, if not more so. As such, it's important to keep the bigger picture in mind and make decisions that will drive long-term success, even if they have a temporary impact on short-term performance.

cutting-ad-budgets-sacrificing-ua-quality-7-iterate

Monitoring and adjusting ad campaigns is a crucial part of ensuring that ad budgets are being used effectively and efficiently. By tracking the right metrics, making informed decisions, and keeping the long-term in mind, businesses can cut ad budgets without sacrificing the quality of their user acquisition campaigns.

8. Cutting Ad Budgets while maintaining the quality of your UA Campaigns

In conclusion, mobile app and game studios must be strategic in their ad budget planning to ensure they are not sacrificing quality user growth.

By focusing on quality over quantity, optimizing ad creatives, analyzing ad performance, understanding the target audience, and utilizing remarketing techniques, mobile studios can effectively reduce ad spend while still acquiring high-value users.

Follow these best practices to attract high-quality users and keep them engaged, and you will find your way to long-term success and growth.

As the competition in the mobile app and game market continues to increase, it's important for developers to stay ahead of the curve and make informed decisions about their ad budget to ensure they are getting the best return on investment.

It is important to continuously monitor and adjust ad strategies to ensure optimal performance and return on investment. By taking a data-driven approach to advertising, mobile app, and game developers can successfully grow their user base without sacrificing their bottom line.

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

Written by Mobe Growth, app agency specializing in mobile marketing and user acquisition. Our goal is to help our clients achieve sustainable growth through effective and innovative user acquisition strategies, and to be at the forefront of the rapidly evolving mobile gaming market.
Guest Author
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Featured Professionals in the Mobile Gaming & Ad-Tech Industry
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Growth 6 min read  - February 20, 2023

Strategies to Boost your Mobile User Acquisition this 2023

The mobile gaming industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, and competition among game studios is fiercer than ever. Several mobile studios have seen explosive growth in recent years, and 2023 is shaping to be another year of rapid expansion. But with more games vying for users' attention, to succeed in this competitive landscape, […]

The mobile gaming industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, and competition among game studios is fiercer than ever. Several mobile studios have seen explosive growth in recent years, and 2023 is shaping to be another year of rapid expansion.

But with more games vying for users' attention, to succeed in this competitive landscape, it's crucial for studios to have a solid user acquisition strategy in place and find innovative ways to acquire and retain users.

In this blog post, we'll explore the cutting-edge strategies mobile game studios can implement in 2023 to boost their user acquisition efforts and stay ahead of the curve.

Summary:

  1. Expand your Ad Performance Marketing
  2. Research User Acquisition Trends
  3. Track your CPI & CPA
  4. Custom Product Pages in the App Stores
  5. Align your UA with your ASO
  6. Try alternative App Marketing Strategies

Expand your Sources of Ad Performance Marketing

Google & Facebook Ads are the most common platform for mobile app studios when they want to promote their games. 

However, there are other sources where you can purchase ads through automated programmatic advertising: the DSPs (Demand-Side Platforms).

DSPs allow mobile studios and developers to easily acquire ad inventories from many sources, making them among the best marketing automation tools. 

At Appodeal, we work with +70 DSPs to monetize your apps & games. Check out the list and use them to promote your game!

Marc Llobet, Sr. Product Marketing Manager @ Appodeal

When used in combination with Appodeal, you can manage all those sources and DPSs from a single dashboard, gathering all your metrics together and simplifying the process.

Major benefits of Programmatic Advertising

Most of the DSPs provide advanced targeting capabilities:

From creating hyper-target all ad campaigns to selecting specific demographics, locations, and user behaviors. This will get your mobile app or game before the eyeballs of real people who are most likely to download and install it. 

To help maximize the volume of high-quality impressions and ensure your ads have the highest chances of reaching your top users, DSPS also lets you use retargeting campaigns. This way, you can connect with users who’ve seen your ads but didn’t connect with them the first time. 

strategies-user-acquisition-2023-b

Additionally, you get granular-level insight from your user acquisition campaigns. 

Pro-Tip: From the Appodeal dashboard, you can view all your key metrics. This information will remain consistently up-to-date to keep all of the data relevant. Based on the information you collect about your campaigns, you can take the appropriate steps to optimize them further.

Marc Llobet, Sr. Product Marketing Manager @ Appodeal

One of the latest trends for UA (User Acquisition) in Mobile Apps is the emergence of artificial intelligence. Everyone is talking about it and creating apps based on AI. 

You can check it for yourself. All kinds of Apps are jumping on the train: from art creators, avatar generators, fantasy chats, AI companions, etc.

strategies-user-acquisition-2023

With the right strategy and action plan, you can use this trend in the app & gaming industry to boost your app UA traffic and even improve your ASO (App Store Optimization).

Explore and discover new trends with “Keyword Tracking tools. Check the Google Keyword Planner or any other tool you feel comfortable. There are plenty of them. Create new searches, check the metrics of each keyword, their impression shares, scores, and suggested bids, and start A/B testing with dedicated User Acquisition campaigns.

Pro-Tip: If you’re using Appodeal in conjunction with any attribution platform, you can predict the LTV of these campaigns and see future profitability and ROAS up to 1 year from now.

Marc Llobet, Sr. Product Marketing Manager @ Appodeal

And if you’re out of ideas, explore your competitor’s paid growth strategies. That’s also a great way to go.

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

Always track your CPI & CPA

To correctly measure if a User Acquisition strategy is successful and effective for your mobile app or game, it is mandatory to calculate your CPI & CPA (Cost per Install & Cost per Acquisition)

You can automate some steps of this process from your Appodeal Dashboard. When accessing your reports tool, you can forecast specific revenue metrics such as LTV or ROAS for specific ad creatives, ad sets, or campaigns.  

You can even split, filter, or segment which channels provide the best ROI or ROAS. 

Pro-Tip: When calculating the CPA & CPI of a UA Strategy, it is good practice to include the cost of producing the ad creatives, the allocated budget for the user campaign, and any other promotional activities linked to it.

Marc Llobet, Sr. Product Marketing Manager @ Appodeal

By tracking the CPI & CPA (Cost per Install & Cost per Acquisition), you will be able to identify areas for improvement, tweak your UA campaigns accordingly, and ensure that your investments are paying off. 

Create custom App Store Pages for specific Audiences

The same way you create dedicated landing pages in online ads, you can create Customized Product Pages (CPPs) in iOS & Google app stores.

If you have an app or a game with multiple functionalities that target different audiences, it is always better to create other ad creatives. 

However, many game studios drive all those leads to the same product page. When the Ad Creative is too different from the Product Page, the user may feel confused or, even worse, tricked. To avoid the adverse reaction, give the user what they want to see all the time, and connect the contents of the CPP with the ad creative you’re testing. 

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When we show ads to users about what they’re looking for, it should not shock us to see those particular pages performing better.

Align your UA with your ASO

When building a successful mobile app strategy, two pivotal elements must be aligned: Paid User Acquisition (UA) and App Store Optimisation (ASO)

You can benefit from more quality traffic and better downloads when Paid UA and ASO strategies are in sync. Building a solid foundation between them will likely increase your user engagement and revenue metrics. 

Both iOS App Store & Google Play Store are powered by algorithms that take into account the number of app impressions (users viewing your App Store Page) to place you in the top ranks. 

The more impressions & installs your App Store Page gets, the higher you’re in the search results & ranks. Therefore, when running effective Paid Ad Campaigns, the algorithm gets boosted.

Try alternative App Marketing Strategies

In this blog, we have recently featured some valuable knowledge on how mobile studios can work with influencers, and even compiled a list of top mistakes to avoid when doing influencer marketing.

When an influencer creates a conversation around a brand or a product, players and users, feel less exposed to an advertisement, and they react as if they were getting a piece of advice or recommendation from a friend.

While influencers do wonders for brand awareness marketing, mobile studios use them better when they perform “Influencer Performance Marketing.” This type of influencer marketing is focused on driving users to the app more than building brand awareness.

Rhea your influencers and give them trackers and creatives. Then, check its performance via an attribution tracking tool like you would with an automated programmatic campaign on DSPs (Demand Side Platforms)

This way, your influencers will integrate the right assets into their content or profile information, so you can later track the success of each channel and UA campaign.

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

Written by Mobe Growth, app agency specializing in mobile marketing and user acquisition. Our goal is to help our clients achieve sustainable growth through effective and innovative user acquisition strategies, and to be at the forefront of the rapidly evolving mobile gaming market.
Guest Author
Guest Author
Featured Professionals in the Mobile Gaming & Ad-Tech Industry
Monetization Desktop Column BlogBanner

Appodeal < 1 min read

Announcing a new modular Appodeal plugin for Corona: lighter version

The 2D game engine Corona shipped a new beta version of Appodeal’s plugin. Our plugin has always been widely and readily used by Corona’s developers. However, their feedback demonstrated that developers would prefer to manage ad type usage on their own. That’s the reason why Corona introduced a lighter beta version of the plugin. The […]

Appodeal < 1 min read

Marc Llobet
Marc Llobet

Ad Monetization 8 min read

Essential Metrics for Mobile Ad Revenue Success

Today we look at monetizing your mobile app through in-app ads as a given. Yet rapid market growth and resulting frequent changes keep mobile publishers on their toes. So in order to keep up, it’s necessary to learn working with metrics in the most efficient way to ensure revenue success.

Ad Monetization 8 min read

Marc Llobet
Marc Llobet

Interviews + Q&A 6 min read

Meet Ryan Morrison, the Legal Superhero Fighting for Game Dev Rights

Indie developers fight an uphill battle, often devoting spare hours to development after full-time day jobs, or quitting a steady income to stake it all on a dream. When you add issues like trademark infringement, confusing contracts, and the big players bearing down on the little guys

Interviews + Q&A 6 min read

Marc Llobet
Marc Llobet

Ad Monetization 6 min read  - December 16, 2022

Body shaming & sexualized mobile ads: a trend popular among mobile games that could die at any minute.

Despite all the harsh criticism, warnings, and sanctions, sexist ads remains as a popular option among developers and mobile studios looking to attract installs.

Body shaming & sexualized mobile ads are everywhere, yet, they could disappear at any moment.

Despite all the harsh criticism, warnings, and sanctions, the trend remains. Moreover, it has become a popular option among game developers and mobile studios looking to drive installs to their mobile games. 

Anyone browsing social media has likely encountered advertising for mobile games – and while some are quite naive, there's a new genre of ads drawing attention through stereotypical images that some people claim are promoting female self-objectification, body shame, sexualization, and reduced psychological well-being.

The trend describes itself pretty easily. Some ads show women - usually in revealing poses or clothing - in condescending situations towards men. Some ads highlight words like "slave", "master", and "you must avoid me" as part of their dialogue. Others bring back old beauty standards that relate body sizes to male acceptance, accentuating how men prefer a shapely feminine body with a correct bust-to-waist-to-hip ratio, over a curvy body.  

"Aren't we all over this already? Let's not go back to the "cutting carbs" era. 😅" is one of the most common claims from their detractors in social media.

The real enigma is not the content they show - but how they trigger users' emotions, convincing them to download the games they promote.

Table of contents: 

Decoding users' behavior - why do they click?

Love it or hate it - the strategy is brilliant. So genius that it makes you react. Despite widespread criticism, the underlying message of objectifying women does the trick for app marketers doing their work. 

The big enigma: why do they work? Shouldn't the emotion of disgust, anger, or repulse drive you exactly to do the opposite of downloading the app? Humans are drawn to what's different, prohibited, and scandalous. We Love Drama. And data proves this damn too well. 

Remember when you were young and your mom would stop you from watching horror movies, but you watched them anyway? You knew you weren't supposed to and yet, that didn't stop you.

The same thing happens with these ads. Some users that interact with them may even have opposite values and ideologies to those reflected in the ads. Still, interacting with what they consider "such an inappropriate and prohibited topic" drives them to satisfy their curiosity by downloading the games.

It's in our DNA and we can't help it. That's what got us into researching this topic in the first place after watching the ads.

What's the hype behind these ads

For this article, let's immerse ourselves in one polemic game: Project Makeover. This game invites players to give their characters makeovers to help them achieve their lifetime dreams. 

At first, the whole concept seems harmless. But the ads are quite controversial, relating successfully achieved goals to perfectly shaped bodies and old beauty standards. They show the main character - a girl - trying to look better for men she either wants or is already going out with. They point out her major physical flaws, like her body, hair, natural eyebrows, or acne, that need fixing and invite the user to do a makeover on her. 

sexualized mobile ads in mobile games

Events like that, trigger strong emotions and have the potential to make us look at something and stop from scrolling. Phrases such as "what should I wear tonight to get him to notice me" or "I'll shave my legs and wear makeup to win him back" are so shocking for some viewers that they feel way too tempted to download the game. 

But there's another catch to these ads: the failure-based creative strategy. For some, the character receives the makeover and achieves its goals. Others result in a failed makeover where the character ends up looking even worse than it did before. Such a disappointing outcome drives you into what the marketing team wants you to do: download the game to try again and do better. 

sexualized mobile ads in mobile games

Does the negative social media response affect downloads?

For the people not downloading the game, the displeasure feels so personal that it turns into comments sharing their disgust on social media. And then again, the goal is achieved. The mobile game gets free publicity without spending a cent, and new users install it to please their curiosity.

social media response on sexualized mobile ads in mobile games
We’ve hidden the real account names and avatars to respect the privacy

Other games worth mentioning are Game of Sultan and Episode. 

GOS is an empire simulation RPG mobile game in which you experience the life of a Sultan engaging in wars, managing your empire, and securing your legacy through your heirs.

The ads for this game display a powerful sultan that takes female hostages, and pushes them to lose weight and answer chauvinistic questions about their bodies and looks. For example, the sultan can say to one of his female hostages, "You gave birth to an ugly creature, I don't love you anymore, slave. What should I do?".

Again, it triggers a strong emotional response. And the viewers either interact with the ad looking for more similar content that can upset them or destroy the game on social media. Both actions do the job and the revenue scales. 

Another mobile app, Episode, is a storytelling network and platform that features interactive stories. Players start one of the stories and make choices as the storyline progresses. The attractive catch is its user-generated content creation platform, where players can also create their own stories. 

Episode uses sexual elements in many ads to attract customer attention. One of its ads shows a female character in a suggestive pose with a policeman looking at her. Another ad shows an even more mind-blowing situation: a man desperately needs to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately for him, the door is locked with his wife inside, who happens to fall asleep on the toilet. The ad gives you two options: pee in her mouth or divorce her. (Makes sense🤔)

sexualized mobile ads in mobile games

Call it humiliating, but the concept works.

And once again, the data speaks louder. Users engage with the ads, and downloads start to rise. The buzz for these ads was so big that even Youtubers like Danny Gonzales with 5.87 million subscribers got to make a video reviewing them. The result? A video with 8.2 million views and a strong viral effect for the mobile app, Episode.

Whether it is just people cringing at the absurdity of the ads or showing genuine interest, ads like these, and more to come - are getting the attention they need to reach new users and promote downloads. Just check it out for yourself: Project Makeover has over 50 million downloads on Google Play, Episode - 100 million & Game of Sultan over 10 million.

Advertising Standards Authority sanctions and warnings

Sexualization in advertising is as old as time. Back in the so-called "golden era of advertising" (1950-1980’s) it was a popular strategy among advertisers portraying women in situations that today are considered out of fashion.

Societies evolve. In some countries, such as the UK, what was perceived as normal before, is now being banned by advertising and regulatory bodies such as the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority).

Today’s ASA rulings include several decisions on mobile games using sexualized ads to attract new users, removing them where needed, and flagging advertising standards to developers. The ads must be careful when showing violent or sexual imagery, and segmentation should avoid specific audiences.

Game studios planning to market their games in the UK are aware of it. Over time, more and more advertising regulators may take a similar stand against body shaming and sexualized ads. 

Will you use sexualized mobile ads?

Tell us what you think about this trend in the comments, or reach out to us on social media.

Be aware that, although sometimes sexualized ads may bring good results, regulatory entities seem to want to regulate them.

So play it smart. Regardless of your ads' content, always check your data, understand your audiences, and look into each country’s advertising regulations to prevent any sanctions.

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23
Patricia Weil
Patricia Weil
Monetization Desktop Column BlogBanner

Appodeal 2 min read

SDK 2.6 Officially Released: Update Now for Top Revenue Performance

Great news! After over 3 months of testing, our dev team has just shipped the last code to upgrade our SDK 2.6 out of beta. Be sure to update to SDK 2.6 sooner rather than later to get the best revenue performance possible.

Appodeal 2 min read

Marc Llobet
Marc Llobet

Growth 19 min read

How Word Pizza Scaled Monthly Profits 6x

By going through Appodeal’s Accelerator Program and using its growth platform, Word Pizza, a popular mobile game, was able to scale its monthly profits -- by 6 times!

Growth 19 min read

Marc Llobet
Marc Llobet

Ad Monetization 5 min read  - November 29, 2022

TOP 5 Worst Mistakes of Mobile Games in Influencer Marketing

Avoid these mistakes to ensure your Influencer Marketing Campaign turn into impressions, downloads, and installs from a quality audience.

When Game Developers want to start an Influencer Marketing Campaign to target their mobile games, certain common mistakes are easy to fall for.

TIP: Check our previous blog post talking about “Tips for Game Devs working with Influencers”.

Influencer Marketing has been on the rise during the last few years. Influencers present themselves as a great & reliable source to acquire users with a vast reach. They can bring thousands -if not millions- of impressions from users that will be more likely to install your game.

Influencers also provide highly engaged users. Players and users react to influencers as if they were getting a piece of advice or recommendation from a friend.

Therefore, if you are looking for new ways to acquire users for your mobile apps and games and don’t want to leave unattended social media channels, keep reading!

Summary:

#1 - Be transparent with your Goals

Influencers value a lot when their partners are transparent.

When they promote new products to their audience, they put themselves at risk of losing them and being alienated. The last thing they want is to lose all the followers they’ve acquired through years of hard work.

If the partnership between the influencer and you goes sideways, they may not be as willing to participate in collaborations.

For this reason, as a brand, it is of the utmost relevance that you are sensitive, and tolerant of their pain points.

The greatest commitment of an influencer is to keep their audience’s loyalty. If you betray that, it may even backfire on you.

#2 - Give them some Creative Freedom

People get hooked on compelling stories, and influencers know how to give that to their audiences.

If the story relates to your app, the influencers’ audience will most likely connect with it.

To tell a compelling story, you must find the proper influencer that matches the style and ideas you want to communicate. This way, the influencer does not have to change their style as much, and the audience is already receptive to the kind of content you want to push.

When you find an influencer that matches your style, it’ll be easier to give them the creative freedom they crave.

Worst mistakes mobile games make when working with influencer marketing

You will have to put your trust in the influencer you decide to partner with. Still, do not worry. Over the last few years, there have been more influencers so dedicated to becoming stars that they have invested in courses and programs to improve their “creative” skills.

Try to find the perfect equilibrium between clear guidance and staying open-minded to the influencer’s suggestions and requests.

In the end, the influencer has been working for years to understand which content resonates better with their followers. They want the promoted content to be digested as quickly as possible. They are also invested in getting the best possible outcome from your collaboration.

When speaking with influencers, do not treat them just as a source of traffic, but also as creative consultants. They excel in user engagement, and once they understand the benefits of your app or game, they will find many ways to showcase your brand in the best possible way.

#3 - Find influencers with matching Audiences for your mobile games

In previous sections, we have mentioned that it is crucial that the influencer’s audience matches with yours.

However, for that to happen, first you must know what is your audience. Try to picture in your head, two or three “ideal players” of your app/game. Imagine what they do, their hobbies & interests, and their day-to-day routines. There are plenty of resources on the internet to help you create what is called a “user persona”.

Influencer PewDiePie recommending a game

This will help you save money and avoid rookie mistakes when signing off expensive contracts with influencers.

Understanding your audience, therefore, must be done before reaching out to the influencer you (probably) have already scouted.

And once you’ve already sorted out who are your top audiences, and you’re building your sales pitch to get the influencer’s interest, you also must check:

  • The influencer’s audience: follower count, content quality, ratio of view/interaction, etc.
  • The influencer’s main platform: most of them are on Youtube, Instagram, TikTok… but maybe you can find opportunities in small forums or communities.

Depending on the platform where the influencer has influence (forgive the redundancy 😆), the engagement rate may vary.

#4 - Checking the Influencer’s Engagement Metrics

You must take into consideration how engaged & receptive is the audience of the influencer you’re about to become partners.

There are plenty of metrics that you can take into consideration:

  • The number of subscribers
  • The Average Views (per each publication)
  • Ratio (%) of content likes/comments/shares vs. views
  • The curve of impressions through time (of individual publications)
  • The audience’s reaction to sponsored content in the last months
Why checking influencers' metric matters

The first two can be useful for quick scouting, but it is unwise to focus only on them when deciding to work with a specific influencer.

Dig deeper into engagement metrics, and even check quality metrics such as the sentiment of the comments. Those are the real deal and will help you make sound decisions when allocating your budget for marketing actions with influencers.

#5 - Track & Monitor your Results

We already mentioned this in the previous article. However, since this is one of the most common mistakes that game developers make when strategizing their influencer campaigns, we cannot stop ourselves from remarking on this point.

Tracking in real-time the performance of your influencer’s campaign on all your channels may be time-consuming, but it is worth the effort.

You must properly set up your monitoring system and track what newly acquired users are doing in your mobile app or game. This will help you in several ways when the influencers’ campaign is active, and after it finishes.

Some examples where you can benefit from tracking your influencer's campaign are:

  • To optimize the campaign and fix, in real-time, any issues your users are facing.
  • To detect which messages, tones, or styles are working better, and more aligned with your audience's mindset.
  • To keep track of the audience sentiment.
  • To improve in-game features or enhance services that the audiences find most valuable
  • To track which influencers are reaching the goals you have negotiated with them.
  • To use that info for, later on, negotiate better deals, or stop working with influencers whose activities have not generated ROI (Return of Investment).

And the list goes on and on.

#6 (Bonus!) - Start your Influencer Campaign!

It’s time to use all the concepts and ideas gathered in this post on Influencer Marketing - and our previous one, with tips to work with influencers -. Start growing your apps with other sources, in addition to only paid User Acquisition Campaigns.

If you get to partner with the right influencers, you will find that they are a valuable resource to reach many people and generate some hype around your app.

Start applying these tips in your Influencer Marketing Strategies, build a sound strategy for your mobile apps and games, and reach out to new audiences!

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