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Q&A with Huuuge Games: Determining UA KPIs for IAP games

ironSource sat down with our partner Eyal Elad, mobile user acquisition manager at Huuuge Games, to pick his brain on user acquisition trends, best practices for managing campaigns across a range of ad sources, and the effect of ad monetization on UA. Keep reading for a transcript of the conversation and more of Eyal's insights.

Tell us about Huuuge Games and the games your company makes. 

Huuuge Games is an international games developer and publisher focused on the fast-growing multi-billion-dollar mobile gaming market.

Our vision is simple - we want to change how gamers play mobile social games by offering superior real-time social experiences on a global scale. We make games that are easy to play, great for small breaks, and are a lot of fun to bond over with your friends.

The first game we developed was Huuuge Casino in 2015. We focused hard on building a world-class real-time technology that made social casinos truly social. More than just some fun chat features, this has allowed Huuuge to do things that other casino apps cannot and helped us be where we are today. From 2015 until today we released two more successful social casino games, Billionaire Casino and Stars Casino Slots, and are about to release a new promising title, so stay tuned.

In 2019, Huuuge decided to expand the business and create a new business division called Huuuge Publishing. This division partners up with free-to-play business model apps already live on the app stores, and together take the games to the next level. We published a Match 3 game called Traffic Puzzle, and a new IP bubble shooter game called Trolls Pop - as a result, we’re extending our portfolio to genres other than social casino.

Lastly, we have Coffee Break Games, which are classic games like Dominoes, Solitaire, Checkers, and Chess Stars.

What audience/demographic is Huuuge focused on acquiring? 

Huuuge is operating worldwide and trying to reach every single player that might like our games. However, I can say that the US is our biggest market, like most social casino apps.

Which KPIs do you optimize your campaigns against? 

There is no one specific metric we aim for. We have many different games in different stages of their life span, and it is impossible to set one metric to measure the success of them all.

We measure mature social casino games such as Huuuge Casino and Billionaire Casino by short-term ROAS targets decided according to long-term performance. In other words, our KPI targets are based on long-term performance, and from that our business marketing team decides the short-term goals that allow us to hit our longer ones, and return the investment as predicted. We differentiate these short-term ROAS goals between each activity type, game, OS and country tier. It is important that we constantly validate our data and adjust KPIs after every Q accordingly.

Meanwhile, we measure new games in testing mode by looking at basic metrics like retention, conversion rate, IPM and the CPI they generate in the chosen market. These change as the game matures. 

How do you balance working with so many types of ad sources? 

The variety I mentioned earlier allows us to dive into the information and data about the market trends and how we can capitalize on it. It generates more wiggle room for us to make smarter, data-driven decisions, and the right budget allocations for our top-performing media partners at that specific time.

Two years ago, rewarded videos were a big portion of our social casino games’ monthly ad spend, but this has drastically changed, and now we invest our money in other types of activities that have better performance for the type of games we have.

Adtech is always evolving, and when you have data, it is easier to keep up with it and even sometimes enables you to be responsible for the progression of the genre, as Huuuge Casino did.

What trends do you see affecting user acquisition managers today?

Apple's recent announcement will have a major effect on our industry. It will be interesting to see how Facebook, Google and DSPs will handle this challenge.

With Huuuge Games venturing into ad monetization, how do you expect your user acquisition strategy to be affected?

Huuuge is one of the leaders within this recent trend of social casino apps increasing their share of revenue generated from ads. Traditionally, social casino apps generated revenue from in-app purchases. So, if in the past all we wanted to see was whether the ROAS exceeded our goals - now the rules are changing, and we will have to balance it carefully.

This opens us up to more options that we can do on the UA side. Now we can promote our games in markets that could not meet our ROAS targets before. For example, Latin America is one of the fastest-growing markets by installs for social casino apps and we do get installs from there, but the IAP based ROAS was not meeting our targets with most partners so we could not scale.

After you define smart, data-driven user segmentations and understand the right balance between the ads every user segment sees, if at all, it generates a possibility for us to make money from users that we couldn’t monetize in the past.

Has the recent COVID-19 situation affected your user acquisition strategy? How?

Our creative team, in cooperation with the marketing team, made new creatives associated with the pandemic to get users’ attention and provide them with a platform where they can play together with friends, but in a safe, remote way.

This is the first time that our industry has faced this kind of challenge and we could not assess precisely enough the situation, due to lack of data, if this would come to our advantage or not. In 6-12 months, we will look at our data, take insights and have a much better understanding how this kind of event has affected our business and what actions we should take next time.

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