Tracking the fastest growing apps across different download ranges, ironSource’s Fastest Growing Apps platform is a great indicator for changes, trends or disruptions deeper down in the mobile ecosystem.

Looking at the list of April’s Fastest Growing Apps, a few game sequels made it onto the list of Fastest Growing Apps, with lots of them – such as Bubble Witch 3 Saga and Cookie Crush 3 – seeing fast growth over the last month.

We’ve picked three of the month’s movers and shakers and asked: what lessons can other developers take from the success of these games?

Roll the Ball by BitMango

Release date

May 1st, 2015

Where can you play?

Google Play and iOS App Store

Rolling to the top

Roll the Ball puzzle game works by sliding blocks to create a path for the ball to roll from start to finish.

All the levels follow the same format and the difficulty slowly increases as users progress. There is no time limit on levels so users can play at their own pace. The developers have also allowed the game to be played offline – useful for areas with patchy or costly mobile internet. When in offline mode, no ads are served to users. Hints, level restarts and an “undo” button all encourage the user to stay in the game, and go some way to explain this game’s popularity.

How do they meet users and monetize them?

Roll the Ball, made by BitMango, is utilising playable ads as part of their user acquisition strategy. This will help them to achieve higher install rates followed by higher retention rates from engaged users who tried the mini-game in the ad and wanted to continue playing. Once playing the game, there are both inter-level banner, interstitial, and video ads shown to users. IAPs offered are: the chance for users to go ‘ad-free’, hints for game play, and packages of new levels. This combination between IAPs and ad-based monetization is a strong strategy, since just 5% of app users make IAPs, and it’s risky to make it the dominant plank in a monetization strategy. Game apps generate the most Google Play revenue, so it still makes sense for BitMango to have an array of IAPs of differing prices in their Android game – a boost to their main revenue from monetization through ads. This is a good lesson, especially if your users are from traditionally not high-IAP spending geos like India.


Recommended Reading
Supercell Talks Unique Company Culture and Winning Game Design Strategies 
Weighing the Benefits of Reward-Focused UA
What the Hell Are Playable Ads and Why Should You Care?


Bubble Witch 3 Saga by King

Release date

December 3rd, 2016

Where can you play?

Google Play, Amazon App Store and iOS App Store



Bewitching strategy

Bubble Witch 3 Saga is a casual match-3 game from King, with some special boosters to complete levels. The game also offers the option to play against friends, or alone. Similar to King’s other match-3 success stories, Bubble Witch 3 Saga levels are move-capped, so users will need to keep trying to complete each one. In addition, power ups, unlimited lives and other goodies make for a winner move from King.

How do they meet users and monetize them?

Once in the Bubble Witch 2 Saga game, there are no ads, but instead a wide range of IAPs – a strategy that has clearly worked for King before in other games. Levels have a capped amount of moves, and the ability to compete with friends encourages users to keep trying to win, and in some cases they might need extra moves, e.g. IAPs, to do so. Because of their monetization model, King may be focusing on UA campaigns with iOS users, who spend more on IAPs than their Android counterparts – $1.08 compared to $0.43. Developers who rely on IAPs to drive their monetization strategy should keep this in mind.


Cookie Crush Match 3 by Ilyon

Release date

November 26th, 2016

Where can you play?

Google Play, Amazon App Store and iOS App Store

Sweet tips 

Cookie Crush 3 is a match-3 game with prizes and special points to be won through gameplay. Power ups are awarded to users as they move through the thousands of levels. The game can be played with friends and is also able to be played offline – a great win for users with weak or expensive mobile internet, or of course for those times where mobile data isn’t available – like on a plane. During this offline mode play, no ads are served to users.

How do they meet users and monetize them?

There’s a range of IAPs available, for example users can spend money to buy gold coins to be used for extra moves to complete a level, or to skip to the next level. In addition, there are inter-level ads shown to users. The game is described by reviewers as ‘addictive’ – by just running out of moves or being challenged by a friend, users are encouraged to continue playing to the next level which might be necessitated by IAPs. 


Want to see more of the month’s Fastest Growing Apps? Check out the movers and shakers on our platform

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