Casual Connect Round Up
Casual Connect Round Up
It will come as no surprise, that conferences are a great use of time, and are at the heart of all our monthly, quarterly and annual PlayIgnite plans. After a busy 12 months of conferences, and travelling from city to city, it was a luxury to attend Casual Connect in our home town London.
Casual Connect proved to be the best conference so far in terms of meaningful, actionable, conversations. We had 28 organised meetings, of which 19 were immediately relevant for what we can offer. We realise more and more, that our insights on UA methods, agencies, networks, analytics and VGTR are really valuable, as we are totally impartial and see such a wide range of offerings. We also had a chance to meet the Indies in the Dev Showcase hall, and even snuck in a play on a great VR game - which I struggled to pull myself away from. Snap held a great event on the Thursday night, as the conference drew to a close, and the drinks were hugely appreciated by everyone there.
We also managed to find a bit of time to hear some great talks from key players in the industry. Among the highlights were AppAnnie, Ironsource, Jagex, and Mopub, and our main takeaways are below:
First of note was Paul Barnes, Territory Director for App Annie, discussing what it takes to triumph in the Asian market. It’s not a surprise that its a key market, with over one billion mobile devices and 20 billion hours of in app usage time. In 2017, four games generated over $1 Billion revenue in china, but 950 games generated more than $5 Million spend.
App Annie suggest that leveraging local partners, understanding the current gaming trends in Asia, and having strong market knowledge are the key requirements to succeed in the region.
Iron Source held a talk on the benefits of Rewarded Ads. As they’re initiated by the user, they have great eCPMs (effective cost per impression) and make for a great user experience. They don’t hurt retention, they don’t hurt session length, they can actually help improve both by 10-25% and 10-13% respectively. That said, it’s important to know what to measure with regards to rewarded ads, as data should always be in the forefront of your mind. Iron Source recommend Impressions x eCPMs as a calculation to determine the effectiveness of rewarded ads. If you have 1 million DAU (daily active users), 400,000 of which are engaged (actively initiating rewarded ads) and see around 6 rewarded ads a day, that’s 2.4 Million impressions, not too shabby!
Rewarded ads should be considered from day 1, and woven into your games’ economy. That said, you must be careful to ensure that this does not cannibalise your IAP spending, make the reward valuable, but different from the IAP. Consider capping the amount of rewarded ads a user can initiate, in a 24 hour period, for example. Another thing to think about is the timing of the rewarded ads, it’s been proven that they work better in a clean environment or at the end of a session, rather than disrupting game flow.
Matt Casey from Jagex discussed how they modernised their monetisation techniques to transform the performance of a long-established game. Their key message was about how to maximise player value,which they do in a number of ways. Firstly, through subscription, users get access to a huge amount of member only areas, skills, items and exclusive quests. On the sign-up page there is a recommended purchase option, and the savings are clear to the user. Otherwise there's cosmetics and consumables, ie the ability to buy pets, special visual effects, outfits, animations and emotes. As an example, selling limited edition items on the store led to a big increase in sales initially, but in the long run a less glamorous pet that was always available to buy, always did better! Matt also touched on Loot crates, tradeable currencies and time limited events; we took lots of notes if anyone wants to go into the detail.
One super interesting tidbit around monetisation, that many wouldn’t realise, is the simple assumption that special offers mean higher revenues. Frequent special offers lead to higher spend initially, but in the long run, it’s not always a good strategy, as people end up spending less, due to having leftover currency from the previous offers.
Diana Boiteux, from MoPub, spoke about their Advanced Bidding system, their take on header bidding for the mobile app environment. Header bidding is a big deal in the digital advertising space, and is a technique in which publishers let multiple demand sources bid on the same ad inventory. This traditionally occurs in a waterfall model, resulting in issues such as unnecessary complexity, inaccuracy, and even missed revenue.
Advanced Bidding aims to flatten the waterfall, giving ad networks and exchange buyers a fair look at the impressions and creating opportunity to bid in real time. Though the industry is not quite there yet, and there will likely be a hybrid of the two systems in the near term.
Everywhere you looked, there was so much to glean from a UA and monetisation perspective, and given that’s the focus of PlayIgnite, it was like gold dust! For us, the fact it was a very compact conference suited us really well, and now it is all about the follow-ups, of which there are many! Looking forward to the next one…