We love mobile games. We play them, we market them and we help them grow. We even have a sister company – AGN labs – that acquires good potential hyper-casual games including popular Google Play games like Kart Rush Racing, Slithering Worm, River Sand Excavator Simulator 3D, ATV Max Racer, and Military Helicopter 3D.
As an app marketing agency, we are often asked:
“How do you make game apps successful?”
From our experience, we have a few tips to share here. Of course, your mobile marketing approach will vary depending on the type of game you have. AGN games are not brand-focused, so our primary paid user acquisition goals are app downloads (large volume) and positive ROI. Given these marketing goals, we take the following steps to increase our Google Play games’ success:
1. Google Ads App Campaigns
For our paid user acquisition strategy, we focus on Google Ads App campaigns. Google Ads provides great reach and are fairly straightforward to structure. This isn’t to say that they don’t require the proper expertise to maximize their value. The key to Google Ads success is knowing how and when to dial the bidding up or down, optimizing creatives to the game app’s metadata, and other important steps that many marketers fail to master.
So how do you run Google Ads App campaigns effectively? We keep the UAC structure simple for our app games. To make our Google Ads app campaigns as effective as possible, we follow these three guidelines:
1) Run max install campaign for driving volume 2) Add in-app action campaigns when a minimum of 10 in-app events occur per day 3) Adjust bids gradually and budgets based on campaign performance and app lifecycle.
Again, Google UAC suffices for our mobile app games paid user marketing efforts because our primary goals are obtaining app downloads and maximum ROI. For game apps that are more brand-focused, other channels like Facebook ads can also be valuable, as they let you do hyper-targeted ads based on users’ likes/preferences.
2. Improve in-app user experience + engagement
To get to a positive ROI, we continuously monitor and take steps to improve the user’s in-app experience. These range from UI/UX updates – like fixing bugs and changing background colors – to Gameplay features for increased user engagement – like adding rewards and more customization options.
For Google Play games – and all app store games in general – the user experience is key, as it leads to those extremely valuable app store ratings.
3. Implement and monitor a solid push notification strategy
To help increase user retention, we also implement strategic push notifications to re-engage the game app user. The key here is to test, identify top-performing communication and refresh. Each game’s push notification strategy is planned out by in-app event type and the exact moment that each message should be sent. Timing is key in determining whether a push notification is a hit or a miss.
For example, we’ve seen success with the following push notification messaging:
- Long time no see. We miss you, our tracks are empty 🙁
- You’re losing your leaderboard spot! Time to show who’s the fastest once again!
- Psst…want free coins? Leave us your feedback and we’ll reward you handsomely.
By implementing the above-mentioned strategies – and remaining consistent in our monitoring and optimization efforts – we have achieved notable results.
- We reduced the CPI for Google Play games, Kart Rush Racing and Slithering Worm, in Nov/Dec by at least 2-3x. The average net revenue for the Kart Rush game slowly increased week over week, and for Slithering Worm went from negative to positive and keeps climbing.
- We achieved an eCPM of $7 on one app and $11 on another. According to Business of Apps average eCPM for Android was $2 in 2018. Appodeal shows an average of $5 eCPM for full-screen ads in 2020.
Growing your app seems straightforward – but there are many working parts that require special attention in order to create a well-oiled machine. First, it’s important to recognize what kind of game app you have, which category it fits in, what the best platform-specific strategies are for user acquisition – and what your primary business goals are.
If you decide that Google Ads is the best avenue to meet your goals, be sure you’re adept at managing UAC campaigns the right way to make them actually work for you. If you’re not sure about your level of expertise there – or with other growth and retention strategies like push notifications – please contact us and we’ll help you get started!