The perfect blend

Feb 23, 2023

Reflecting a common trend in the mobile games industry, it was interesting to see this month’s Gamesforum event in Barcelona switch to a two-day format, with a daily focus on User Acquisition (UA) and Monetization.

This makes total sense in the context of how commercial teams are blending in our industry.

Previously, the teams responsible for acquiring new users and monetizing existing players were separate and sometimes at odds with each other; but this dynamic has been shifting for a few years now. Policy and regulatory changes around privacy directly impacting traditional business models and in particular Apple’s overhaul of ATT (App Tracking Transparency) have put pressure on sustainable growth opportunities for publishers and have propelled these teams to become more closely aligned, with UA and ad monetization managers both reporting into the same management and sharing common KPIs.

Retention versus User Acquisition

One of the main reasons for this team alignment is the increasing importance of player retention. In the early days of hyper-casual publishing, high churn rates were tolerated since UA costs for hyper-casual were relatively low, so maintaining an overall profitable LTV (lifetime value) to CPI (cost per install) ratio was relatively easy. 

Across all gaming genres but especially in the saturated hyper-casual sector, UA costs have increased significantly in the last year, meaning even more focus on identifying the most profitable players to acquire, and ensuring those players stay in the game economy longer.

By working more closely together, UA teams are able to identify what makes players stay or are at risk of churning, and monetization teams can use that information to create opportunities to better understand how different monetization methods impact retention and optimize accordingly. 

Hybrid Monetization

This neatly follows the rise of hybrid monetization models which combines more than one model among In-App Advertising(IAA), In-App Purchases (IAP) as well as subscription models, rewards, and more.Combined UA and Monetization strategies also deliver better  and more seamless experiences for players. AdInMo’s IAPBoost feature is designed with this hybridization in mind – enabling developers to use their own in-game placements to convert players to payers!

Sharing Data Between Teams 

Clearly, in the last 5 – 10 years data analytics has become a science and absolutely essential for the mobile gaming industry. Product and Commercial teams can now see exactly how players are interacting with games and use that information to improve both user acquisition, retention and monetization strategies. 

Enhanced analytics tools and techniques underpin data enrichment strategies to increase monetization, by providing more relevant and targeted experiences to players. By collecting and analyzing player data, game developers gain a better understanding of player behavior and preferences, allowing for personalized in-game offers and advertisements. 

As an example of the value of deep data in gaming, AdInMo’s CrossPromo feature uses machine learning to predict when the value of showing a player an ad for another game in the publisher’s portfolio will be higher than the value of showing a normal, CPM-monetized ad.  

User Acquisition and Monetization teams can and should work in close alignment to create a better experience for players while seeing the revenue benefits of a more holistic approach. It’s exciting to see how these teams will continue to evolve and drive the mobile gaming industry forward.

Kristan Rivers

AdInMo, CEO & Co-founder

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