card games
accelerator
NewPubCo’s Spades is a captivating word game that keeps players glued to their screens. Designed with engaging gameplay mechanics and appealing aesthetics, it caters to a diverse demographic, primarily women and men aged 45 and above.
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From Indie to Top-3 Game Studio: Hitting the Mobile Gaming Jackpot

Turning an app into a million-dollar business with the Appodeal Accelerator.

The Success

Spades: Building a Meteoric Rise

As a newcomer in the fiercely competitive mobile gaming market, NewPubCo faced a daunting challenge. The company's brainchild, the word game Spades, had potential but needed the right tools and strategies to shine.
The turning point came with Appodeal's Accelerator Program. This program offered comprehensive guidance, strategic insights, and a tailor-made monetization strategy that resulted in an extraordinary growth trajectory for Spades.
x3
DAU (Daily Active Users)
+42%️
ARPU
Top 3
Position in US Word Category
The game's immersive experience and optimized ad creatives successfully attracted a broad audience, propelling NewPubCo to the top ranks of the word game genre in the US.

Challenge #1: How to Prototype a New Game?

How does a mobile game company navigate the labyrinthine mobile gaming market? With a dream in his eyes but no relevant experience, Vlad Gurgov was up against this monumental challenge.
The mobile gaming landscape, fraught with competition, is an arena where only the fittest survive.
NewPubCo, an ambitious startup with no record in the sector, was tasked with launching, and scaling its debut mobile game, Spades.
Spades needed to generate significant revenue within the first 3 to 6 months of launch. 
The company needed to gain the insights to reach its desired audience effectively.
Their user acquisition and monetization strategies were yet to be tested and optimized for maximum returns.

The 1st Solution

Benchmarking the App & Exploring Categories

How does a mobile game company navigate the labyrinthine mobile gaming market? With a dream in his eyes but no relevant experience, Vlad Gurgov was up against this monumental challenge.
The mobile gaming landscape, fraught with competition, is an arena where only the fittest survive.
NewPubCo, an ambitious startup with no record in the sector, was tasked with launching, and scaling its debut mobile game, Spades.

Conceptualization & Creativity

Engaging in brainstorming sessions, Vlad and the Appodeal team conceptualized several prospective games, testing them using ad creatives that displayed different gameplay versions.
We A/B tested elements ranging from style and protagonists to color scheme and gameplay logic. 
Before product development, Appodeal conducted prototype tests to evaluate how the public perceived the game.

Data Collection & Performance Metrics

Appodeal created a landing page mirroring the Google Play page to gather statistics. This website had a Facebook pixel and featured a "Thank you" banner.
The Appodeal team emphasized relevant metrics for Google Play and the top-performing ad creative from the previous stage that drove users to the landing page.
Ensuring the landing page's art and style matched that of the ad creatives was imperative to ensure potential players were clear.

Launching UA Campaigns

We launched several Facebook Ad Campaigns leading to the landing page. We tracked conversion rates and CPC (cost per click). We chose the winning ad creatives with the lowest CPC and highest conversions.
According to our "Concept Test" results, only two prototypes won. Those laid the foundation of NewPubco's most successful games: Spades and WordMaker.

Сhallenge #2: How to reach to the Top Charts?

Once the game launched, a pressing question loomed: how could the studio scale its audience and drive higher revenue?
Despite the rapid pace of game development, from testing mechanics and concepts to finally launching it in the app stores, let's remember there was an expectation for the mobile game to start generating revenue within the first 3 to 6 months.

The 2nd Solution

Harnessing Vibrant, Data-Driven Creatives

Recognizing user acquisition and monetization as potential bottlenecks when scaling a game, the Appodeal Accelerator team focused on specific strategic priorities.
We aimed to continuously test various effective user acquisition (UA) creatives, optimize the monetization strategy linked to game mechanics, and accurately define the audience.

Testing the Audience

By testing ad creatives with diverse audiences, we identified the game's potential target demographics:
56% of women and 44% of men aged 55+ for Android,
and 70% of women and 30% of men aged 45+ for iOS.
A series of ad creative sets were prepared and tested on Facebook Ads, with the best-performing concepts identified by targeting small audiences.

Scaling Up with Top UA Creatives

Appodeal tested over 500 ad creatives, ranging from videos to static pictures. Many showed impressive test results, but when targeting larger audiences, the focus was on achieving a Result Rate >= 1% (the ratio of installs to impressions).
The tested creatives were then rolled out on Google Ads, increasing the ad spend on Facebook Ads.
Two concepts that resonated particularly well with the audiences and drove Spades' growth included:
Showcasing Spades Gameplay with Playable Ads: gave users a sneak peek of the game before they installed it, motivating them to follow through the conversion funnel.
Bright, Eye-Catching Themes: Skulls and elements reminiscent of action games sparked discussions in mobile gaming communities and attracted organic installs.

Aligning Monetization Strategy & User Acquisition

A well-optimized monetization strategy with a thriving user acquisition plan is critical to attracting new users to any mobile app or game. The team was more than prepared with Spades, balancing these two crucial areas.

The Results

Appodeal's Accelerator Program has been a critical driving force behind this success, enabling NewPubCo to ascend to unprecedented heights and establishing Spades among the top three-word game studios in the US.
Within months, NewPubCo's Spades experienced a triple surge in installs in the US, alongside a positive ROAS of D365 = 105.6%. This exceptional growth in revenue and user base can be primarily credited to the significant improvements made to ad units, market targeting, and ad format optimization.

Revamping Ad Units for Boosting Revenue

By implementing nuanced changes to ad units specifically for different Demand Side Platforms (DSPs), Appodeal enhanced the game's Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) by 15%. One of the impactful changes included adjusting the number of ad units for Admob.

Precise Market Targeting

Through the strategic customization of low-cost waterfalls for markets like India and Bangladesh and the ad pricing tweaks for the US, Appodeal achieved an additional 12% ARPU growth.

Ad Format Optimization

Another 15% further improved Ad Format Optimization The ARPU through minor yet effective changes in the frequency of ad impressions for banner & interstitial ads and by turning off ad pre-caching.

The Game: NewPubCo Spades

NewPubCo's Spades is a captivating word game that keeps players glued to their screens. Designed with engaging gameplay mechanics and appealing aesthetics, it caters to a diverse demographic, primarily women and men aged 45 and above.
Spades is loved by users in the United States, where it has gained massive popularity, but its appeal spans various international markets.
Vlad Gurgov Video
Vlad Gurgov, NewPubCo

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