Monetization, User Acquisition
Did you catch the latest Ask The Dev? We featured Green Panda Games, the creator of chart-topping hyper-casual games such as Mining Inc. and Idle Human. With 12 million monthly active users the studio knows what it takes to make successful games in today’s market.
Green Panda, based in France and Ukraine, historically created mostly idle and hyper-casual games. The team worked closely with AppLovin for about four years to help grow and test the marketability of their games.
Cyril Caël, AppLovin’s Director, Business Development, spoke with Green Panda Games’ Senior UA Manager, Pierre Nicolas, who shared his experience and knowledge for scaling games with an effective UA plan. Specifically, he talked about how to measure LTV-focused (lifetime value) metrics such as return on ad spend (ROAS), which is critical for game developers to understand so they can allocate and spend their budgets efficiently.
Here’s what Pierre had to say about UA and the role he plays in monetizing for continued future growth and stability. Also, don’t miss his rapid-fire answers at the bottom!
When Green Panda first entered the hyper-casual space, the market was already on an upward trajectory. The team researched what kind of business model made the most sense for them, and after a lot of testing, they felt very enthusiastic about building hyper-casual idle games.
Pierre explained, “This genre is really cool because you can feel your progress at each session. Our team still gets still super excited about coming up with new ideas for hyper-casual and casual idle games.”
In order to reach their millions of users, Pierre explained that the team uses all of the classic metrics, such as CTR [click through rate], CVR [conversion rate], CPI [cost per install], and IPM [intalls per mille], to name a few. Then they take a look at a second round of tests. Pierre added, “We test on one ad network first, then we expand to others to ensure we have potential for success, traffic, and good learnings.”
Pierre smiled, “We are really lucky to work with such great people at AppLovin. Initially, we did CPI campaigns and had good learnings from the beginning. Now, we’re using AppDiscovery, which adds more value for bidding. Thanks to those optimizations, we can have modifications at the source-level.”
Pierre, who once had to set up campaigns manually, appreciates how easy it is to automate campaigns with MAX and AppDiscovery. Before using MAX or AppDiscovery, his recalls the challenges of not being able to reach the right users.
He used this example, saying, “You will set your CPI limits at, say, 50 cents, which means that unfortunately, you will never reach users who are at 55 cents and have maybe three times better LTV. On the other hand, if you can create a ROAS campaign with AppLovin, you have the ability to reach both users at 50 cents or one dollar—which means you’re triggering the right users for the campaign and your game.”
Because the Green Panda UA team no longer needs to set up time-consuming manual campaign refreshes several times a week, Pierre said, “The extra time can be cleverly reinvested in more strategic tasks such as creative A/B tests, trying new emerging ad tech networks, or testing new tools.”
When it comes to boosting ARPDAU, Pierre offers up one very useful piece of advice. “Never stop testing! Moreover, as the market changes quickly, you have to be able to pivot very fast.”
We asked Pierre a series of fun, rapid-fire questions to get to know his interests outside of work.
What studios or games do you follow closely?
Personally, I’m a huge fan of Supercell and Clash Royale! Also, I’m really impressed with our partner studio Funcell with whom we do 9 Months and Idle Human.
What would you be doing if you never had to worry about money again?
Travel the world to discover new landscapes and cultures. The Lofoten Islands [in Norway] is my favorite spot so far!
What’s your favorite beverage?
Apricot juice, but I never say no to a cold beer.
Name something on your bucket list.
A road trip in the western part of America through the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Death Valley.
Tell us something unique about you.
As a child, the first time I shook hands with someone was the French president. But being left-handed, I did it with the wrong hand! He was not expecting it and it made him laugh a lot.
For more on user acquisition and growing your apps, check out our entire Ask The Developer series. Or learn more about what AppLovin can do for your business.