Is witchcraft really a forgotten practice? What would our ancestors think if they saw us working in front of bright machines and repeatedly tapping and clicking on a board with buttons and changing the stuff on a screen with our actions? I can’t help but wonder how many of us would be burned at the stake.
Even if the witches of the past have become a story, the game marketers sure are today’s substitute for them, turning numbers and words on a screen to profits and actual money like an alchemist or a magician. However, one thing the stories of witches have taught us is that working with magic is tricky, choose one wrong ingredient and the potion turns into poison.
In this article, we asked UA managers and game developers about their potion to poison moments and the nightmares that kept them awake at night. Do you have the heart to read them all? Beware as the terrors of the hyper-casual gaming world unravel before you.
We prepared a little treat for the readers as well; a playlist to keep you company as you scroll through these frightful stories. Click here to listen now.
Dream a little dream of 3x more CPIs
Our first story comes from Publishing & User Acquisition Consultant Ceyhun Bayel. He was brave enough to visit one of his spookiest memories for us, getting the chills even telling us about it.
"When I first jumped into the mobile game marketing world, there was a period when I worked through a week with only 3-4 hours of sleep a day as we launched our first aggressive iOS campaigns in the US, Western Europe, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. I ran optimizations every day and continuously monitored how the campaigns were performing. Due to the time difference between each geo, I ended up waiting until the wee hours of the morning to see how our optimizations worked for each market, which resulted in me barely getting any sleep. During this stressful and intense working period, one night I fell asleep while working. It was probably just a 10-minute snooze, but I had the worst possible nightmare. Yes, that’s right, I literally had a nightmare! I dreamt that my campaigns were broken and the installs we were getting had CPIs that were 3x higher than our LTVs, causing the company to go bankrupt. When I woke up, I had to check every network and campaign one by one before I was convinced that it was just my exhausted brain playing tricks on me. 🙂"
Ceyhun Bayel, Publishing & User Acquisition Consultant
The creepy nightmare of Ceyhun demonstrates how the mind can play tricks on you… Or was it the sleep demon Batibat that caught him that night to feed on him? No matter the reason for that experience, we’re relieved to hear that he survived the terror of the night and everything turned out just fine.
Fiber Games’ visit to inferno
"We’re a game studio focused on hyper-casual and we published our first global hit “Weld It 3D” about a year-and-a-half ago. This is the story of how we’ve been to hell and back. As we all know, hyper-casual is an ever-changing genre, where the test processes and models change constantly. When the hyper-casual genre was first being adopted, we were there to live through its transitions. In these early days, we were testing the CPIs of the prototypes by creating a video that showed the main mechanics and the game-play experience of the game before transferring it to our publishers. We were looking at the day 1 and day 7 retention rates for the prototypes and checking the CPIs of the test campaigns. At that time, it was typical for us to be testing around 5 prototypes at any given time. And one of those prototypes, the one for Weld It 3D achieved CPIs that were so low, they could only be dreamed of. Of course, we were ecstatic with the results. However, that’s also where we began getting the chills since the prototype was bringing very low CPIs but there was NO GAME TO PUBLISH YET! Since we’re talking about a time when the regulations were still loose and it was very easy to crawl, find and use the game ideas that were bringing good results, we had to be fast before the idea was used by other studios or publishers. The next two weeks resembled a horror movie. We were in crunch mode, working against something we couldn’t see but felt was close. In the end, we managed to create the vanilla version of the game and left inferno behind with a global hit."
Faruk Akıncı, Founder of Fiber Games
Fiber Games’ Founder Faruk Akıncı’s story demonstrates inferno for game developers in the fast-paced world of hyper-casual and shows us that with the right team and idea you can arrive at paradise even in the darkest of times.
Ghost of the #1 on Top Chart
Alp Akiska, a Publishing & UA Specialist at Netmarble Turkey, shared his experience which is possibly scarier than a haunted house for any UA professional; being haunted by the decreasing performance of the campaigns of a chart-topping game.
"Every UA Manager has living nightmares, and they usually creep up when everything is on a run. A perfect state for chaos. It starts with positive progress, an app or a game becomes easily marketable considering KPIs. Then you start to give more volume to the campaigns and add more geos to them. After the euphoric state where whatever you do doesn’t affect the campaign’s performance negatively, there comes the downhill. The performances of creatives, ad sets, and specific geos start to fall and you can’t afford to run those campaigns on budgets you were running before. This is the state where most people tend to make huge mistakes and listen to their gut feelings with an unrealistic amount of optimism that the run will continue. This is what we had to be very careful about while promoting “Crate Challenge 3D!”. When you are in first place for the most downloaded game on App Store Rankings, the voices in your head start to haunt you, but you have to stay calm and objectively read what the data is telling you."
The Imp of the Perverse: iOS 14.5+
Since the announcement of iOS 14.5, we’ve been living in a UA Manager’s hell where it’s harder to make decisions based on the collected data. It’s as if reality is warped by one of the eldritch terrors, the Imp of the Perverse. Below are the deep dark fears of Alp Akiska on iOS 14.5+. We believe his words speak for pretty much every UA manager out there.
"Since iOS 14.5 was announced, notably everyone in digital advertising knew how challenging it would be to run campaigns with equal performance compared to the pre-iOS 14.5 era. But I’m pretty sure no one thought about the reality we live in right now. Marketing In-App Advertised games require analyzing data and taking actions in an agile way. However, with ATT, Apple really chopped all of IAA monetized game publishers’ heads off. To take sensible actions you need sensible data. And what happened to my customers’ LTV data with iOS14.5? Poof! I cannot see them. Even when I do, it is for a small fraction of people who gave consent to ATT pop-ups. Surely a common solution would be integrating values to app events to predict the customers’ revenue. However, how can you do that when your revenue source (eCPM) is dynamic and the values you use to predict LTV are static? So many questions, so many unanswered… The horror continues while only time will tell how this will end."
Alp Akiska, Publishing & User Acquisition Specialist at Netmarble
Your dreamcatcher for all UA nightmares; UAhero
One way or another, every bad dream comes to an end. But why should you deal with them when you can eliminate them once and for all? While the whole mobile marketing scene is adapting its ways to make peace with the monster under our bed, iOS 14.5+, for most of the nightmares, UAhero is here to be your dreamcatcher.
UAhero’s compact dashboard shows all campaigns from different ad networks in one place and reduces the time spent on campaign management, which is usually done by juggling between tabs and struggling with the detection of actionable items. Seeing all data in one place with visual components reduces the workload and eases the decision-making process of marketers.
In addition to the reporting benefits, by applying the AI-powered recommendations of UAhero given on the most granular level for each ad network, mobile marketers can adjust the bids and budgets of their campaigns with a few clicks to increase and maintain the performance of their campaigns.