As the person responsible for growth, retention and monetization at Cupcake Sweet Entertainment, I’m quite proud of this achievement, but more still about the ways we’ve found to get there.
Being a company that does casual brain puzzle games (see Letters of Gold and Words of Gold) and works mostly with women over 35 years old, regular game dev distro tactics like dev blog won’t work for us as our audience don’t read blogs. At the same time, media where they are active, such as Facebook, is crippling our reach through unpaid posts and we have to get creative to reach and retain our existing users, as well as get new ones.
We had to found balance between paid and organic user acquisition to get profitable while growing.
We’ve decided to focus on two main growth channels, Ads and Organic Growth.
And by Ads I mean Facebook Ads. I spend most of the last 6 months testing and tweaking Facebook Ads campaigns for our two games. The biggest learning I got so far from advertising is that there isn’t certainty on what you do, it’s a neverending test necessity in order to get the best ROI.
We have tested two different approaches to user acquisition through ads:
Cheapest user you can get, help organical growth plus some paying users;
Most expensive paying users who have a history of spending money in games.
Ideally you’ll get a combination of both. A cheap users that will convert into payers. Tons of tests are necessary in order to get there.
Don’t forget to test different audiences, countries, interests, behaviors, images, text, etc. Create lookalike audiences and track conversion through conversion pixels. Don’t guess it, the image I liked the least was actually the best performer...
We also tried AdWords, both for paid search and Youtube video ads. They were both most expensive and less effective than Facebook ads, bad ROI for us even though we used their coupons (Google it). Might want to test it again when we launch Words of Gold on mobile next month.
About 200K of our users came through advertisement. Prices have grown lately, but we managed to make our games more profitable so that we can cover costs.
Here comes the Facebook share and invites many people hate, as well as content we post and user interaction. We try to make it as positive experience as possible so that we don’t push users away and still give them something positive like fun images and beautiful messages. By the way, that’s something we learnt by getting to know our users.
I’m personally friends with many of our top users. They reach out when they have questions, I help, they get happy and invite their friends to play. Word of mouth is the best marketing you can get. Be nice to your users.
We also improved cross promotion of our own games, which helped improve user’s LTV.
Organic is where most of our users, about 300K, have come from. They are usually more engaged than ad users, but require a different kind of effort than advertisement. When you are advertising, all you need to do is spend more money. Organic requires more creativity, more effort, as well as tweaking your product, but it’s worth it.
- PR - As well as not reading dev blogs, our audience don’t read gaming blogs. Most PR features have given us recognition, but not users. We might need to look into the sorts of Oprah, cooking shows, newspapers and more traditional media.
- Twitter - We haven’t focused too much on Twitter yet, but it seems like a nice opportunity to grow and get more users, especially by interacting with people. They also don’t cripple your reach like Facebook is doing on page posts.
- SEO - We’ve been investing on creating landing pages for our games with focus on keywords such as word search, crosswords and scrabble. I’m also working on link building hopping to get visita coming from search engines.
- Other types of ads - Chartboost, Google ads, video ads, etc. Facebook is working well for us, but relying on a single source of advertisement isn’t ideal.
Let me know what you think about our tactics, I would love to hear your feedback on how we can improve it, as well as if you are planning to use the same tactics yourselves.