The top 5 things we are always asked
On our travels, we’re meeting a lot of great games studios, and are noticing that many face common challenges, and ask similar questions. Our focus at PlayIgnite is funding the User Acquisition (UA) and marketing for growing games, that’s what forms most of our dialogue; so why not share this feedback with you all?
It’s clear that UA isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. If you’re a AAA Studio and have a huge UA team, all the systems in the world and fantastic data – then you’re lucky(!), but you’re in the minority. If you’re a smaller studio on a tight budget, managing cashflow day to day, juggling the game development and doing the UA, then it’s important to get to the right answers as quickly as possible.
These are the Top 5 things we get asked – which we hope may be of some use to you at some point in your journey.
1 – What systems, networks etc do I need to set up?
There’s a huge range of vendors out there, and we’ve looked at them all. Our sister company PlayStack is a publisher, so we have first hand experience of using them too. In short, you will need a combination of analytics tools, attribution systems and more-than-likely an ad mediation network or two. There are a lot, and you can spend forever looking at them all. I’d say pick 2 or 3 to look at, make a quick decision and move on. Too many people seem to evaluate their options endlessly. I’m happy to share my experiences, and interactions with all these systems, from costs to UX to data integrity – you name it. We’ve seen them all!
2 – What is the right CPI for my game?
All games are different, but if we’re talking mobile, then there’s a ballpark CPI (Cost Per Install) to strive for if you’re looking at FPS, Casual, Social Gambling, mid core etc. I’ve looked at a lot, and there’s definitely a trend here. It depends on a lot of factors, such as, territory, device and monetisation, so these are just averages. Roughly speaking, casual CPIs run from 10c-80c in Tier 1 countries; and if you have a good monetisation strategy you can break even after 1 month. Social Gambling varies from $3-8, and LTVs (Lifetime Value) are higher as a result; but they can be huge; I’ve seen $5-15. Mid Core games are between $1.20-$3 generally.
3 – What Return on Investment (ROI) makes sense to spend UA on?
When most people look at ROI (for mobile), they talk about LTV vs CPI. This is essentially your revenues versus your costs, all that matters is how much you make out of an install.
The return on investment is LTV divided by CPI, and if that ratio is above 100%, then it makes sense to spend on UA. Funding that is a whole other question, but we’re adamant that if it’s profitable, then you want to debt fund it, and not equity fund it.
4 – What UA channel is best?
There are many UA channels – from Facebook, Google, SNAP etc to all the ad mediation platforms, Ironsource, Applovin and Appodeal. Every game is different, and the only way to find out the right channel for you is to test each one. You should make sure you can use them all, as signing up to one doesn’t mean you’ll be able to monitor the others; so it has to tie in with your attribution platform.
CPIs and ROIs will be different on each, so make sure you test and test and test them all. Remember to find an attribution platform that can deal with them all – some simply don’t, and too many people we meet make that mistake.
5 – What do most people miss?
You need to have the right assets to market your game – its critical. By that, we mean, you need strong graphics, characters, and videos to feed the UA channels. Just look on Facebook or Instagram at the quality of what people like Ubisoft or SpaceApe use for their games; that’s something to aspire to (but we know it doesn’t come cheap!). This means that the hard work doesn’t just stop once the game is made.
You may need an agency who can handle the UA on your behalf; some do this well, some overcharge and some are great value. This takes a lot of digging but we have some great partners who have got some great case studies. If you can’t do the UA yourself, there’s no shame using an agency, you focus on being creative, they can focus on getting you the installs (and we can give you the money to pay for it!).
ONE LAST THING (alright, it’s actually a Top 6!)
I’m still absolutely amazed at how few people are on top of VGTR. If you’re making a game in the UK, then there’s a high chance you can get money back from the HMRC. If you aren’t doing it, you’re leaving money on the table. We can help guide you here if you’re unsure how the process works.
This is by no means the end of the questions we get, and we’d love to speak to you if you have any others. We’re eager to share our experiences, because we’re impartial at PlayIgnite, we can give a totally honest view.