After months and months of planning and hard work by the conference organizers, developers, speakers, sponsors and many (many!) volunteers, it’s hard to believe Casual Connect USA is behind us. What an exciting and action-packed week it was!
Our team was privileged to spend time with several of our partners, and meet with many new publishers and developers. These face-to-face conversations lead to valuable insight sharing and growth all around. I personally had the opportunity to emcee at the Market Navigation Track on the final day of the conference. After spending time with some of the industry’s leaders, a number of themes emerged.
It’s All About Retention
While UA continues to be an ongoing battle, this year the focus was centered around player retention. John Rankin, Managing Director of Bee7, showcased some incredible stats from parent company, Outfit7. Their hit game, Talking Tom, has generated nearly 3 billion installs, clearly having developed an enviable UA solution.
Drawing on insights from their 250 million MAU, John shared that they’re driving retention and monetization by integrating mini-games and using cross promo to keep players engaged longer. Bee7 is taking their learnings from Outfit7’s success and sharing them with the industry to propel monetization, engagement and retention.“After years of concentrating purely on user acquisition, we’re now seeing the maturation of our industry and the focus now being placed on retaining users. Retention and DAU drives all other metrics including the all-important monetization. Systems that are native, that the users choose to engage with, particularly high quality video are being shown to be the most successful methods. Users are voting with their fingers.” says John.
Joe Tartaglia, VP Sales & Business Development at Appsaholic, a division of Perk.com, is tackling retention from another emerging angle. Perk’s approach is to leverage loyalty and rewards in order to keep players retained longer. Their unique offering creates a win-win for the player and the publisher. The players stay engaged by earning points they can redeem for gift cards, prizes and cash, while the publisher benefits by earning revenue every time their players claim rewards. An interesting segment from Joe’s talk was “Perk Plastik,” their prepaid debit card that you can instantly load with real money from converted Perk Points. It gives players the ability to spend their points virtually anywhere. In addition to monetizing players with IAP and ads, Perk Points add a brand new revenue stream for game developers with the added benefit of increased retention.
Mobile Advertising and Mediation
Adam Corrado, Sr Director of BD from Heyzap, organized a brilliant panel of industry experts to tackle the 18 billion dollar mobile ad industry. The team included; Kenneth Wong from Hothead Games, James Peng of Match.com (formerly Storm8) and Spiros Christakopoulos, of Sega. All four gents are leading experts on player monetization through ads.
It was a lively exchange as the panel discussed what’s working and where they’re finding success monetizing players with ads. A particular topic that had the entire panel in agreement was the idea that attempting to build in-house mediation is a losing proposition. The conclusion was that publishers are far better off working with an ad partner that specializes in driving ad revenue by optimizing with a combination of technology and ad expertise.