Ebony Nicole Simone
May 27, 2020
We published our latest case study with ITI on how they found success using Tenjin and Apple Search Ads. We discuss with ITI Developer, Kosei Saegusa, how they began publishing hyper-casual games worldwide, and what optimization techniques they use to increase their Apple Search Ads install volume by six times.
ITI’s journey started with the development of casual games and other gaming apps for Japan’s local market. ITI began to look at the rapid international growth of hyper-casual gaming apps after reaching a point where they felt their user growth was limited. They decided to give the hyper-casual genre a try to attract more users outside of Japan, specifically the U.S.
The team focused on organic growth for two years before deciding to take on paid user acquisition (UA). There is currently a team of two who manages UA, with one of them dedicated to Apple Search Ads (ASA) campaigns.
With little experience in UA, the team decided to look for an advertising channel that would provide quality app downloads at a predictable cost.
Also, the ITI team needed to find an attribution tool to measure the return of ad spend (ROAS), which would include not only in-app purchases (IAP) and revenue from showing in-app ads. It was also important that this tool would be available at an affordable price. Hyper-casual games typically have a low cost per install (CPI), and publishers cannot afford to pay an even slightly higher CPI.
This led the team to launch their first ad campaigns in the U.S. using Apple Search Ads and measurement of campaign results using Tenjin.
ITI worked with the Apple Search Ads team to discover what keywords helped drive lower costs. Following the app’s release, ITI added Apple Search Ads keyword sets related to popular casual games near the top of the U.S. charts. Once Rescue Cut started to rank at or near the top of charts, bids were increased on brand keywords to maintain the app’s ranking. The team, working with Apple Search Ads, knew that there was fierce competition among top apps in this category, which affected their ranking. It was decided to add new competitor terms every week and increase bids more on some useful keywords relevant to the app, which brought new users with both a higher retention rate and ROAS.
ITI managed their campaigns efficiently while using Tenjin’s Dashboard to measure the ROAS for targeted keywords.
With their first game promoted with Apple Search Ads, ITI was able to increase the number of installs by six times in only three months. Along with the substantial volume of installs, CPI for the same period was cut in half. As a direct result, Rescue Cut – Rope Puzzle was able to get to 100 million downloads in just six months after releasing the game.
ITI’s UA team credits Tenjin’s access to crucial data on cohort ROAS and average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) for their campaign success.
For the ITI team, the Tenjin platform’s flexibility and affordability played a significant role in their growing success. With a shout out to Tenjin’s Success team, in particular to Makoto Taguchi, for working closely with the team every step of the way.