Our very own Director of Business Development, Sumit Mahawar, and TapNation’s Head of UA and Monetization, Anouar Benattia, had the opportunity to chat and discuss all things hyper-casual in 20201 at the Hyper Games Conference. They talked about UA, creatives, ad monetization, the current state of hyper-casual, and more.
The Hyper Games Conference is an online event that was held from May 27th, till May 29th. It counted 3,350+ participants, 500+ gaming brands, 70+ speakers, 90+ member countries, and about 150 hyper-casual games studios. Needless to say, the conference was a tremendous success, and the information, insights, and the feedback from each panel and presentation was incredibly positive.
TapNation launched 2 years ago and has quickly become one of the leading hyper-casual developers in the space, responsible for popular titles like Giant Rush and Ice Cream Inc. TapNation and Mintegral have a great partnership history, with the companies first starting their work together when TapNation released their first game, Ice Cream Inc. Mintegral was instrumental for the game’s success both in terms of UA and monetization – same can be said about TapNation’s new success Giant Rush. We were excited to join a fireside chat with our friends at TapNation so in case you missed it, here’s what we talked about there.
Question 1: What is the state of the hyper-casual market today and how do you find new opportunities within it?
Anouar Benattia: The hyper-casual market is hotter than ever and continues to adapt to today’s ever-evolving mobile gaming ecosystem. Last year the market had a record-breaking 103% increase in global hyper-casual installs, and sessions grew by 72%.
Today, it is very important to recognize potential trends in order to succeed in the market; a way of doing that is by always checking the top charts to see what kind of genres are working well. Runners are doing very well since last year and are still growing significantly since they are quite easy to scale. We have seen lots of success with titles like Giant Rush, for example. On the other hand, we have also seen a growth opportunity with FPS (First Person Shooter) games even though they are not as easy to scale.
There is also great potential in the bidding process. Bidding will be the new way of optimizing user revenue. A second opportunity is in UA, as companies should go beyond just targeting Android and iOS to increase volume and margin. They should also look at entering tier 2 and tier 3 countries like India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, etc.
Question 2: What are your thoughts on the current state of mediation/bidding platforms? How does this evolve with companies like Zynga acquiring platforms like Chartboost’s Helium?
Anouar Benattia: It is definitely strange to see a platform that used to be our partner now be owned by a competitor. But since bidding is a totally transparent process where you can’t really hide anything we don’t think that this type of acquisition will have a huge impact, but it will be a trend we might see more and more, large publishers acquiring ad technology platforms.
Sumit Mahawar: It is definitely an interesting time for developers using or transitioning into in-app bidding. There are more platforms in the market now, and that provides more choices for developers.
Question 3: We can tell that the mobile gaming market is getting more and more competitive every day, and having a strong UA strategy plays a huge role in the success of a game, especially new titles. What are a few launch strategies you could share that have worked well for you in the past?
Anouar Benattia: The first step is to test the game early on Facebook for example or any other network to check things like CPI. After that, you should do a soft launch; before iOS 14, soft launches would be quite easy, but things got a little more complicated after iOS 14. Now you have to check what network you want to run your soft launch on and check the results from each of them. I am happy to say that we have had great experiences with Mintegral, even after iOS 14 Mintegral is still very strong on the UA side, maybe even stronger than before.
After your testing and soft launch, the next step is to select the style of creatives you want to advertise your app with. For us, we have seen great results with playable ads. Today the key thing is to improve the interactions you have with your targeted user, and playable ads are perfect for those types of interactions. That is one of the reasons we are happy to be partners with Mindworks, Mintegral’s creative studio. We have had great results from their playable ads.
Sumit Mahawar: That is something we are really happy to hear coming from you and our other partners. The fact that Mintegral can still provide great experiences even after recent iOS changes is great to hear and we’ll continue to work hard to ensure our partners find sustainable success.
Question 4: What are your thoughts on the new UA pricing models for you and your ability to scale?
Anouar Benattia: iOS 14 has made it more difficult to track and attribute users correctly. So for us, the CPI model is still the best model to work with, we can estimate the cost, forecast, and it brings more accurate data. There are some networks where the tCPI model has worked well, but at the end of the day, the one thing we look at is the CPI.
Question 5: Companies like Vungle have acquired creative branches like Tre-Sensa, whereas other platforms like Mintegral have built creative branches like Mindworks internally. Where do you see the importance of creative services in the future?
Anouar Benattia: At TapNation, all of our creative efforts are with partners, the reason for that is because they already have the market knowledge and have worked with many different titles. So we think that working with the right creative studio can play a big part in the success of your game. In the case of Mindworks, we know that when we work with them we will receive the right strategy for the genre of game we will be launching or promoting.
Sumit Mahawar: We have noticed that more companies have acquired or created creative divisions. Like you said, Mindworks have been doing this for a while and created a mature ecosystem where they know what ads work best for each genre, geo, and so on.
Question 6: Going back to playable ads, do you see a big difference between playable ads and video ads?
Anouar Benattia: Like I mentioned before, we do have a better experience with playable ads. One of the reasons for that is the fact that when users watch a video ad, they can sometimes mistake your game for some other sort of app. But when they interact with your game they know what they are downloading and we can see an increase in retention.
Question 7: We have covered a lot of interesting points today. The last question is, what does the future look like for the hyper-casual market?
Anouar Benattia: From the way that the hyper-casual market has been growing, I see a more competitive market in the future. Also, I see a change of focus on the Android side, because companies will expand their business into tier 2 and tier 3 countries that we previously mentioned, and in those countries, the Android market is much larger than in geos like the US and EMEA.
As the hyper-casual market continues to grow companies need to stay focused on market trends to stay ahead. Keep in mind that the best way to track that is by constantly checking the changes on the top charts. Before launching your game you should test it on different networks and collect data on CPI and see what your areas of improvement are, especially since the launch of iOS 14 has made it more difficult to track and attribute users correctly.
Selecting the right style of creatives can be a big part of your UA strategy, playable ads can have huge returns, especially in times like today when user interaction is everything. Do not focus only on iOS, since the hyper-casual market keeps growing and you might have to expand to different geos where Android will be bigger than iOS.
If you’re looking to boost your hyper-casual game’s ROI, then make sure you contact the Mintegral team today. Whether you’re interested in user acquisition, monetization, or creative services, our team of experts can ensure you find sustainable growth in today’s mobile ecosystem.