Grow Revenue Like Top Grossing Apps

By Ran Milo

As a game publisher and marketer, your key priority is increasing game revenue. So, you probably wonder how top game companies like Zynga and Kongregate scale their growth so easily by investing millions into user acquisition campaigns.

Is it because they have a huge budget or is there a clear strategy you can follow and repeat for your app as you scale? It turns out the key lies in how you optimize your app’s LTV.

The higher your LTV, and the better you measure it, the more aggressively you can bid. Eventually, you’ll beat your competition that auctions for the same type of users. With more calculated and aggressive bidding, you get higher value traffic and more volume as you scale your app growth.

Growing your app user base is hard

Today’s world seems a perfect world for a mobile marketer – everyone stares at their screen 24/7. But, for any game marketer who has tried to launch a game, it is still pretty hard to get to the level of top grossing apps.

You have to figure out your creative, targeting and bid strategy before you get to play well at the top – that paradise of high paying users – where top grossing apps exist.

The fact is the game app market is crowded, and this makes it hard to grow your app’s user base.

LTV-focused user acquisition is faster and smarter

Newbie app developers and marketers fall into the trap of low CPI buying. They assume the cheaper they can acquire users, the bigger their profits will be. However, this is far from the truth.

The volume of traffic available at such costs soon gets exhausted, and soon it will lead to decreased LTV. Which means you need to lower your CPI even more. You’re stuck trying to bid for low-quality users with lower CPIs, unable to increase your app’s LTV.

Facebook is an auction where top grossing apps pay well for their users. In essence, you get what you bid for. Quality users cost more, so, you have to raise your bids to continue raking in high-value users. Knowing your CPI range for various kinds of users allows you to execute media-buying effectively without slowing down.

Your LTV defines how much to pay for various users

When you know your LTV precisely, you know the exact CPI range you can buy traffic profitably at. You will be able to spend money to make money. To track LTV accurately, you need a purpose-built tool like Soomla.

If you get your CPI from a random industry benchmark, you are taking a harder road. By factoring in LTV as well, you are on a high-speed plane with tools and info required to compete at the paradise of high paying players, where the top grossing apps compete for user attention and wallets.

Once you start tracking your LTV accurately, you need to know how to increase it so you can bid higher.

5 Tactics to grow your LTV

If you keep growing your LTV, you can bid more aggressively for a long time as you scale app revenue.

Here are the top 5 tactics to grow your app’s LTV:

1  Optimize and A/B test your creative and target lower funnel KPIs

Creative drives conversions. A random strategy not backed up by research and testing will result in failure and wasted spend. You need a strategy for your creatives. We suggest you start with mass testing from a wide range of concepts, zero in on the top performing variations later, directed by A/B testing results, and finally, focus only on those creatives that contribute most to the lower funnel KPIs.

Bidalgo creative team does just that to deliver quality creative that performs per agreed KPIs. We start with 10 to 12 of promising concepts. Then, we run them through wide-scale A/B testing process and select the ones that deliver the best lower funnel results.

In our experience, a well-performing upper funnel creative might have lower conversions, and we want to optimize for the right outcomes – events. Using this tactic you can greatly boost your ad performance, and in turn, LTV.

2  Prioritize targeting based on the highest impact

It’s important to focus on the different buckets like placement, mobile, etc., and optimize your ads for each segment. You start with the buckets that give you the highest ROAS (Return On Advertising Spending) and move to other buckets.

At Bidalgo, we prioritize our targeting for client campaigns based on the performance data. We first look at placement with the highest impact, then creative type, then the ad type and so forth. This way we see a more significant improvement in the quickest time.

3  Adopt new ad formats early

Tapping into new Facebook products is all about seizing the opportunities that Facebook presents time and time again. You have to be fast in adopting new ad formats. Bidalgo clients take advantage of new ad formats within hours, so they get the benefits of early adoption right away.

You have less competition when you adopt new features/formats, and these are great opportunities to add to your bottom line.

For example, when Facebook released the app event optimization feature in July, five of our clients took part in it. They saw a 400% lift in ROAS and a 4X improvement in payer rate. One client made 370K of marginal revenue in just one week.

4  Practice re-engagement campaigns and do so correctly

Practice your re-engagement campaigns with the precision of a pilot. If you balance your spend well, your total acquisition costs will decline while the number of paying users rises significantly.

Also, make sure you segment the paying and non-paying users into cohorts. You can then personalize ads based on the source and user behavior and lead to much more effective ads.

Make sure you also measure the uplift precisely – use control groups to isolate natural behavior and seasonality.

And, the most important part – keep your lists dynamic. Managing your lists manually is insane and offers tons of room for human error. You’ll be able to re-engage users faster than your competition if you use sophisticated algorithms and ad automation tech such as Bidalgo. Let the tech do the complex part and focus on creative and bidding strategy instead.

5  Automate and use power tools

Automation is a key tactic that differentiates the winners from the losers. Bidalgo clients typically automate as much as 90% of their ad campaigns using bidding and optimization algorithms. Using such a platform lets you bring automation to every stage of the ad management process.
Thus, to grow quality users consistently and at volume, focus on LTV and find ways to grow it.

You may not have the big budgets like Zynga and Kongregate marketers have, but with tools like Soomla and Bidalgo, you can have a clear path to grow revenue and become a top-grossing app faster.

Want more details and an actual example of a scalable media plan? Watch a record of our webinar on such a topic, with bonus tips to do the same on networks like Chartboost.

Published on January 25, 2017
Written by
Ran Milo

VP Marketing @ Bidalgo.

Get Started With Bidalgo Today