Podcast
How to make hyper-casual games, part 3: Marketing

In our final chapter of LevelUp’s hyper-casual series, Ryan Davies, Digital Marketing Manager at Kwalee, shares his thoughts on running successful user acquisition campaigns for hyper-casual games.

Read on for edited highlights from Davies’ podcast:

Failing

“Failing is critical, especially for hyper-casual games because you’re dealing with such a fast rate of content. You have to fail to learn.”

Entering APAC

APAC is a hard market to enter. But it’s much easier as a hyper-casual game, because a lot less thought and effort has to go into localization. That makes it easier to increase volume.”

Snackable creatives

“You can gear the creative how you want. But it’s about how easily people can understand the game when they first see it. Voodoo has said it before: that something snackable, understandable, YouTube-able - seeing yourself playing it, understanding it, relating to it - that is the crux of what makes marketing work for hyper-casual.”

What’s the most important user acquisition metric?

“IPM, IPM, IPM. So much of what we do is defined by the quality of the creative and the effectiveness. Obviously, we behave like a normal UA department in that we look at LTV, CPI, and ROAS. But creative effectiveness is the most important element for hyper-casual.”

Cross-promotion

“Because of Ketchapp, there’s the idea that cross-promotion is massive part of the puzzle for hyper-casual. But I don’t think that’s necessarily true in every case. At Kwalee, we don’t implement cross-promotion as much as other studios. We have ambient ads, which are ads on the menu or on the screen or within the game with a small square playing a video. The grunt and the power is from UA and cross-promotion is more like a bonus.”

Keep UA simple

“Methods in marketing for hyper-casual can be very simple. I thought at first that I was doing it wrong or not well enough - because that’s how simple our techniques were. Just ask: What’s the CPI? What’s the LTV? Can we acquire?”

User-level ad revenue

“Over the past few months, ironSource has really adapted to the hyper-casual landscape - in some ways more than other companies. That means producing technology that deals with the difficulties we face, like what I mentioned about our methods being somewhat simplistic.

“For instance, having access to user-level ad revenue data is crucial. For IAP games, you have access to how much money a user is making - it’s easy to track. But for ad revenue games, it’s a much more complicated beast. The methods we used in the past are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination: how many ad impressions people are seeing therefore this is how much revenue they’re driving. But that’s not realistic, that's not how revenue works. People are of different quality - there’s ad whales just like IAP whales.

“In the same way an IAP developer will look at which sources bring better quality users, and which are driving whales - now ad revenue developers can start to drill down at the source level and see which ones are driving us the better quality users. For many developers, it’s obvious. But only recently it’s is an easier and more reliable process for us.”

“ironSource is bringing us tools that let us see user-level ROAS data - actual numbers on CPMs that individual people are bringing us and contributing.”

Automation

“ironSource at the moment is our first real proper foray into automation. The new tool now on ironSource lets you set a ROAS target and automatically bid towards it - which has so far for us worked brilliantly.”

 

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