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Case study: How Supercent’s games made it to the top in a stagnating hypercasual market

A closer look at Supercent’s games reveals some best practices to gain a competitive edge in today's challenging market
Case study: How Supercent’s games made it to the top in a stagnating hypercasual market
  • The hypercasual games market has been on a downtrend in terms of total downloads after its peak month of January 2022
  • In 2023 Supercent was the only publisher to launch a new hypercasual game that cracked the top 50 worldwide downloads ranking
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This guest article comes courtesy of AppMagic

In our previous reports, we highlighted Supercent’s new games as standout products that were making it to the top of the downloads charts after only being out on the market briefly - and despite the trend of evolving older games that we had noticed in earlier periods.

Also, in contrast to the typical dynamics of hypercasual games, with rapid peaks and declines, most of the publisher’s new titles manage to sustain user interest for a decent while.

Intrigued by its success, we invited Supercent to share its journey and strategies behind the game's sustained popularity - including those backed up by insights from AppMagic.

Hypercasual games: Market dynamics

As we all know, the hypercasual games market has been on a downtrend in terms of total downloads after its peak month of January 2022. In 2023, it was down 11% on a similar period in 2022.

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If you’ve been following our quarterly hypercasual games reports, you already know about the trend we highlighted back in 2023, with studios evolving their strategies to include the development of their older titles by refining their mechanics and creatives. Even Azur Games, in the Q3 2023 report, shared that it had become considerably more expensive to create a new hit game than it had been several years ago, as it had become more challenging to get into the rankings due to the sweet spots being occupied by mature, well-known titles.

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We can indeed confirm those words just by studying the graph above. In 2023, there was only one game released in that same year that made it into the worldwide top 50 free ranking, which is only one-fifth of that in 2022 and, in fact, one-tenth of the amount back at the peak of 2021! And this only game was Supercent’s Burger Please!

Supercent’s hits overview

For the sake of comparison, we will focus on two Idle Arcade titles by Supercent, Burger Please! and Outlets Rush, and try to find out how exactly they were able to stand out among other Hypercasual titles.

Burger Please!

The game with the biggest number of installs over its lifetime in Supercent’s portfolio is Burger Please! It has amassed 84M downloads so far, and while its monthly installs continue their slow downtrend after a few peaks, the game is still successfully acquiring about 2M users monthly.

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Supercent shared several approaches they used to push Burger Please! to the top.

The UA strategy

In terms of UA, Supercent starts with a weekly analysis of their competitors’ creatives, hunting for insights about their target audience and looking for creative inspiration. The team prefers to mix Video ads and Playable ads featuring several of them simultaneously, as the former captures the game's essence quickly, while the latter offers an interactive experience. Indeed, looking at ad creatives for Burger Please!, they’re mostly video ads with a sprinkle of playability on top.

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The publisher also tries to go beyond colour and UI, paying closer attention to more subtle aspects like user experience in the initial few seconds and the emotions evoked.

Sub-source optimisation approach

Supercent enhances ad campaign efficiency through sub-source optimisation. This involves adjusting ad exposure across various apps (sub-sources), focusing more on high-efficiency apps with better performance metrics like LTV, ROAS, retention, and playtime. Optimisation requires setting different CPIs per app with individual configurations for each country.

Supercent analyses returns from ad networks and sources with their BI, using metrics such as revenue and eCPM, and unloads conclusions about A/B testing hypotheses on mediation and investment in specific media sources.

Small-scale ad networks

Supercent leverages small-scale networks for advertising to effectively reach diverse player groups while managing costs. They prioritise broadening ad exposure to attract new users, focusing on reach rather than immediate installs and believe these networks offer a safer environment for campaign optimisation. Managing these campaigns involves frequent communication with network account managers and continuous monitoring to align with KPIs.

Outlets Rush

Another big hit from Supercent’s list of released games is Outlets Rush, which acquired 52M installs over its lifetime. While the game began to lose its monthly installs shortly after the peak in December 2023, it's still generating 6M downloads monthly.

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Theme and mechanics

Outlets Rush and Burger Please! are quite similar in terms of the mechanics they use: both rely on simple mechanics, such as stacking and movement control, with virtual joysticks.

What is very different between them is the choice of themes: somewhat evidently, Outlets Rush revolves around clothes rather than burgers. According to Supercent, the theme can both make or break the game as it has a major impact on its CPIs. Thus, prior research is essential.

Conclusion

In 2023, Supercent was the only publisher to launch a new hypercasual game that cracked the top 50 worldwide downloads ranking, bucking the trend of a slowing market and a focus on updating existing games.

Supercent's unique approach gives its games a competitive edge. By leveraging small-scale ad networks, Supercent manages to target diverse player groups while maintaining low costs. Additionally, it exploits specifically adjusted sub-source optimisation strategies for each type of media source. The result? One for the textbooks, probably.