Unlike ASO, in-app advertising is a paid way of user acquisition that many experts recognize as the most effective approach to UA in mobile games. Advertising inside mobile apps and social advertising on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat can both considered as in-app ads. This way, a UA manager is provided with a wide range of tools and a large variation of advertising spaces.
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Today we will show you how running in-app advertising can greatly increase downloads in mobile games using the example of casual game Slap Kings by Lion Studios.
Step 1: Launch
The app was released on February 25 and immediately reached the App Store Top Chart, only a week ago Slap Kings become the best game on Google Play, US. Such a rapid success is impossible without strong advertising support. Look at the ad distribution diagram below: the publisher launches the in-app advertising campaign immediately after release and that gives a strong boost of downloads and Top Chart growth as well.
According to many experts, the week after launch is the most important time for advertising. Investments in user acquisition at the very beginning of the game's lifecycle are crucial to support the release. Although this applies more to casual and hypercasual titles since there is more competition among them and no brand or fan support.
Step 2: Targeting
Choosing the right audience based on user behaviour, device preferences, and purchasing power is one of the challenges the UA manager faces in his daily routine. This process involves testing different geos, trying on creatives, and carefully optimizing user acquisition strategy for every region.
It’s no secret that the choice of country depends on iOS or Android devices prevalence. We see that ad distribution share in the US, India, Russia is higher for Android app. As for the iOS game, here much attention has been paid to the US, France, Japan.
Step 3: Creatives
Paid-UA is all about testing and optimizing ad creatives. As for any other ad, you should find creatives that show the highest conversion. Unfortunately, even the best creatives outmode one day, so the UA department is in an endless chase for converting ad creatives. According to the latest research, video is the most popular advertising format in social media and in-app. More than 70% of all mobile advertising is video. Among video ads, rewarded video shows the highest conversion rate.
📚 The comprehensive guide to newest ad formats on social media
While advertising hypercasual games, publishers usually choose simple video ad that demonstrates gameplay with a CTA button. Social media advertising often refers to popular news topics, songs or memes.
Step 4: reap the benefits
A well-thought-out advertising campaign gave Slap Kings app a bunch of downloads: from March 1 to March 15 amount of downloads increased by 15 times.
Hypercasual games typically have a short popularity cycle - a month or so after the release the game dominates Top Charts and get the most of downloads and revenue. Then the popularity of the game goes down and it gives way to another hypercasual title.
In sum, in-app advertising is a very important part of user acquisition, especially for casual and hypercasual mobile games. The focus should be on the first few weeks after release since it's the very time to get the most out of hypercasual title. While testing ad creatives stick to the simple gameplay videos, exploit pop culture elements in social media ads. Subscribe to the blog to get more case-studies!