Spades: Classic Card Game
card games

Spades: Classic Card Game

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Getting 200% ROAS in UA, like a Gangsta’ – Spades Success

Find out how a new concept for your ad creatives can triple your installs, boost your RoAS, and bring unprecedented growth to your mobile business.

The Success

NewPubCo's "Spades: Classic Card Game" reached new heights of success through a meticulously crafted User Acquisition (UA) campaign, exclusively tailored by Appodeal.
Thanks to Appodeal Growth Platform -with ad mediation, user acquisition, and business intelligence- NewPubCo has launched one of the most successful UA campaigns. Their mobile casual game, Spades, has improved the player experience and boosted its top KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
RoAS on Day 365
IPM (Installs per Mille)
The UA campaign introduced new ad creatives that resonated deeply with Spades' target audience in the USA, featuring African-American players, reminiscent of famous artists. That enhanced the idea of "gangster" and "money" in the game's narrative. 
This strategic choice was pivotal, not just in attracting attention, but in forging a strong connection with potential players.

The Challenge

There are plenty of “Spades: Classic Card Game” mobile games in the app stores, and Studios like NewPubCo face monumental challenges when trying to reach their niche. And it’s even more challenging for top-tier markets like the USA and West-EU. The journey of Spades is emblematic of David vs. Goliath.
Despite Spades engaging gameplay and loyal user base, before Appodeal's intervention,the mobile game struggled to scale its audience and revenue. 
Chose Your Spades Style
The core issue of the user acquisition strategy is that Spades paid campaigns lacked the dynamism and sophistication required in such a competitive mobile landscape.

Metrics before Appodeal:

Install Growth Rate: Plateaued, with incremental increases failing to meet aspirational targets. We would focus on the IPM (Installs per Mille impressions) metric.
Cost Per Install: the CPI of previous campaigns was healthy. While it’s very usual to look for a reduction in the CPI, this UA campaign's goal was to maintain the current CPI. NewPubCo planned to shift Spades’ theme, and expand its user base in top-tier markets, focusing on long-term revenue metrics. There would be plenty more opportunities to work on the CPI front.
Long-Term RoAS: Current Spades’ players were positive RoAS on Day 365. Still, there was still some margin for improvement.
NewPubCo's initial approach to user acquisition was hampered by limited reach and creative fatigue. The ads failed to capture the unique essence of Spades, rendering them indistinguishable in a sea of mobile game promotions. This lack of differentiation resulted in stagnant growth rates and a decreasing RoAS, directly impacting the game's ability to reinvest in growth initiatives.
Moreover, the Spades theme and presentation on the app stores also had to be connected to the paid campaigns, to attract or retain the interest of potential players. While ASO and organic reach also got boosted thanks to this initiative, we will solely focus on the paid acquisition for this success story.

The Solution

Spades: Solution
Appodeal's approach to revitalizing "Spades: Classic Card Game" centered on implementing a new theme and visual style to its UA strategy. 
Introducing the Gangsta style with innovative ad creatives and meticulous testing, Appodeal created a new game position. The new User Acquisition campaign would capture attention and resonate deeply with the target audience.

Step 1. Innovative Ad Creatives

The pivotal element of the new UA strategy was the introduction of ad creatives that featured African American players, inspired by iconic figures like Snoop Dogg, De'Aaron Fox, and 50 Cent. Since Spades has already consolidated its base of users and tons of historical data, we also targeted top-tier markets (USA, Australia, West-EU, etc.). 
The new ad creatives tapped into the "gangsta" theme, a concept that aligned perfectly with the game's spirit and appealed to a broader demographic.
Video Creative 1
Video Creative 2
The creative direction was bold, aiming to differentiate "Spades: Classic Card Game" from a crowded marketplace by connecting with users on a cultural and emotional level.

Step 2. Phased Testing and Optimization

The rollout of new ad creatives had a planned six-week initial phase. During this period, the creative team set a plan to deploy, improve, and iterate on dozens of ad sets. That would allow them to gauge user response and gather actionable data.
The UA campaign was released in top-tier markets, on various ad networks, such as AppGrowth, Google, AppLovin, UnityAds, Meta (Facebook), Moloco, and many more. In this first stage, the ad spend was over a million USD. Still, we kept a balanced CPI.
With such volumes, the testing phase was critical. Based on engagement metrics and performance indicators, the previous metrics allowed Appodeal to identify which ads resonated most with the audience.

Step 3. UA Automation

To scale the UA efforts efficiently, Appodeal implemented its UA Automation technology. This system dynamically adjusts campaign parameters in real-time, based on performance data and pre-defined KPIs. 
UA Automation enabled NewPubCo to target potential players more effectively, reducing manual intervention and maximizing the impact of each ad dollar spent.

Step 4. App Store Synchronization

To complement the UA campaign's success, NewPubCo updated the app store visuals and theme to mirror the ad creatives. This strategic alignment ensured potential users experienced a cohesive journey from ad to app, reinforcing the game's unique identity and appeal.
Spades: App Store Synchronization
The synchronization between ad content and app store product page significantly reduced the cost per install (CPI), enhancing user recognition and trust and improving conversion rates.

Step 5. Scaling the top-performing Ad Creatives

With the insights from the initial six-week phase, Appodeal refined and scaled the UA campaign, moving forward only with the top-performing ad creatives.
Video Creative 3
Scaling the UA campaign was to concentrate the spend and resources on what was proven to work. Not only were the best ad creatives pushed forward, but we also determined which ad creatives were more effective on each channel and ad network.
That enhanced the efficiency and maximized the impact of the whole campaign. The result was a marked improvement in user acquisition metrics, demonstrating the efficacy of targeted, data-driven advertising.

The Results

Appodeal's user acquisition campaign for NewPubCo's "Spades: Classic Card Game" marked a pivotal moment in the game's growth trajectory.
RoAS on Day 90
For the first stage of the UA campaign, we observed substantial growth in the number of weekly installs from top-tier countries, as well as the IPM (Installs per Mille Impressions) as shown in previous charts. But that was not the end of it.

Immediate and Mid-Term Results

The second stage of the UA campaign led to a doubling of the ROAS on both Day 7 and Day 30. 
A notable milestone was RoAS on Day 90, which exceeded 100%. This achievement is critical, illustrating that the users acquired had already contributed more to the revenue than the total expenses incurred to acquire them.

Long-Term Financial Impact

Perhaps the most telling metric of all, the estimated ROAS over 365 days, showed a staggering increase of over 200%.
These figures were not only indicative of the immediate effectiveness of the ad spend but also a predictor of sustained long-term gains. This long-term outlook confirms that the users acquired through the campaign are expected to generate double the revenue of the acquisition costs.

Campaign Management Excellence

Beyond those remarkable metrics, managing this multi-million dollar user acquisition campaign is a statement on the sophisticated capabilities of Appodeal's Growth Platform. 
With tools like UA Automation and comprehensive dashboard functionalities, the team adeptly navigated the complexities of large-scale advertising, ensuring optimum allocation and utilization of the budget for maximum returns.

Next Steps: Business Growth

Integrating the RoAS on Day 90 as a new milestone for the UA campaigns has an immediate impact on Spades’ success and its sustained growth on NewPubCo's financial health.
This comprehensive approach to user acquisition —marked by strategic ad creatives, automated campaign management, and a keen focus on long-term revenue generation— has propelled "Spades: Classic Card Game" to new heights of profitability and market presence.
And still, this was only one side of the cube. In other success stories we will cover other fronts of this Spades visual overhaul, such as the Organic reach and ASO (App Store Optimization).
The synergy between effective campaign strategies and Appodeal's growth platform features has proven an effective combo for NewPubCo’s business and paved a new way to impulse their growth.

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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