June 27, 2023
What are the best channels to advertise hyper-casual or hybrid-casual games in 2023? And should your strategy be different depending on what type of game you’re running? The answer to this question depends on which metric you are taking into account. Based on our data in 2022, the ad networks with the highest average LTV were ironSource on Android, and Apple Search Ads on iOS. We delve into detail on the best ad networks to advertise hyper and hybrid casual games based on different metrics such as Ad LTV, IAP LTV, total installs, D1 and D7 retention in this blog post.
In this blog post, we expand on some of the highlights from our video interview with Korhan Cabalar – Founder of Voyager Growth.
Which hyper-casual industry trends from our report have been the most surprising?
“I am actually surprised that the number of IAPs increased by 34%. Due to the recession in the US, I would have expected to see a decrease in IAPs. I also think that this is a strong indicator that mobile gaming companies should switch to hybrid-casual games. I would expect IAPs to continue increasing in 2023.”
The illustration above depicts the trend of IAPs based on Tenjin’s 2022 data set. See the full report here.
Tenjin’s 2022 data set not only indicates a rise in in-app purchases (IAPs), but it also highlights a declining trend in eCPMs. This reinforces the need for gaming companies to transition from hyper-casual to hybrid-casual games in 2023.
The illustration above depicts the trend of eCPMs based on Tenjin’s 2022 data set. See the full report here.
What advantages does increasing your IAP share offer in your monetization strategy?
“Increasing your IAP share in your monetization strategy would mean you should go for blended ROAS campaigns, which account for both ad revenue and IAP revenue. This would allow you to scale more in terms of your ad spend – which is a really good indicator for mobile games. ”
Which channels should hyper-casual studios utilize in 2023 to expand the reach of their mobile apps?
“If you have a really low CPI, I suggest that in the first stage you should go for TikTok. This would help you scale a lot. Meta could sometimes also be a good option for this stage, but TikTok works better. You should also support this UA spend with SDK networks such as Applovin, ironSource, Unity, Mintegral, and so on. In my experience, TikTok and Applovin are the best combination. But it depends on your metrics.”
Would there be significant changes in the user acquisition (UA) channels for those transitioning from hyper-casual to hybrid-casual games?
“In my opinion, the first thing you should do when transitioning from hyper-casual to hybrid-casual games is to change your campaign structure. As I mentioned earlier, if you have revenue from advertising and IAP, you should start with ad ROAS campaigns in the first stage. If you are generating a lot of revenue from IAPs, you should go for blended ROAS campaigns that focus on both IAPs and ad revenue. There are many channels in the market that you can advertise on. As long as you have a positive ROI, you can launch these games on any platform. One big difference between the two genres is that with hyper-casual games, it is less likely for people to spend on Apple Search Ads (ASA). However, with hybrid-casual games you can find an opportunity to spend on ASA as well.”
What are the most common mistakes developers make when they transition from hyper to hybrid-casual games?
- Focusing only on CPI numbers“Previously, with hyper-casual games and their low CPI, money could be recouped within 4 days, sometimes even within 2 days. However, the landscape has changed. Now, it typically takes 15 to 45 days to regain the investment. When transitioning, it’s crucial to shift focus from CPI alone and prioritize retention metrics. Rather than making a hasty decision to abandon a game based on slightly higher CPI, developers should examine retention metrics such as D7, D10, D14, and D30. If these metrics show strong retention, the higher CPI can be offset. Multiple factors, including Retention, Play time, the difference between Ad revenue and IAP revenue, among others, should be carefully considered before deciding whether to discontinue a game.”
- Putting too many interstitial ads within a game“Another mistake is to put too many interstitial ads within a game. The aim is to have a good retention to sustain strong growth over time. This means you need to adjust the time between interstitials. Rather than putting too many interstitials in the first few days, people should focus on the long term return.”
- Underestimating the power of creatives“I also see that many mobile gaming companies also underestimate the power of having a creative strategy. I think creatives are one of the most crucial aspects in the mobile gaming industry. Hiring an experienced creative professional can do wonders to your mobile games profitability.”
Which genres should be explored beyond hyper-casual games?
“I believe hyper-casual games are not dying, but evolving. You just need to adjust your focus strategically. If I was a publisher, I would definitely go for hybrid puzzle games. A good hybrid puzzle game can sustain growth and income for more than 3 years.”