Giuseppe Lapenta, the co-founder of Balzo, talks to PocketGamer.biz about the studio's journey in the hypercasual genre and why it is working with mobile games ad expert Growzee.
PocketGamer.biz - Tell us more about Balzo and what you've worked on to date.
Giuseppe Lapenta: Balzo is a hypercasual mobile game publisher and developer. Since 2020, we have published more than 50 games across the iOS and Android stores, which have either been developed internally or come from development partners across Europe/around the world. These include titles such as Stick Trip, Song of Pan, Color Parking, Color Your Stress Away and Alien Garden.
PG.biz: How did the relationship with Growzee come about?
Giuseppe Lapenta: Balzo first integrated Growzee's solution in 2022. We included it within several of our games, including Mars Coloniser, Swerve Run, Swipe 'em All and Shotrun, to optimise monetisation. This helped us to increase the revenues for many of our published games and thus the profits of the developers behind those games.
PG.biz: How did working with Growzee benefit you as a publisher and the developers you work with?
Giuseppe Lapenta: The gaming market is incredibly fast and very competitive. Initially, we tried launching a new game for a month and work on user acquisition at the same time. It was not so simple, especially when it came to conciliating the retention rate and a good level of monetisation.
We found it fast, simple and efficient. Hugely different when compared to other monetisation platforms we've tried in the past.Giuseppe Lapenta
We tried many of the standard in-house and internal solutions that developers and publishers tend to reach for. The integration process was also problematic: each platform has its own tech requirements and the online documentation is often incomplete.
It takes a lot of time to integrate the software development kit (SDK) and despite having several highly skilled developers in our team, we still found it difficult to get the game and regular updates out the door.
What game developers and publishers need in today's challenging mobile market is not only excellent monetisation but a guarantee of solid technology underlying the game and assistance where it's needed on both sides. Growzee has been wonderfully helpful with all of these areas.
PG.biz: What is Growzee's technology like to work with?
Giuseppe Lapenta: Growzee's SDK is drag-and-drop, which means we've not had to learn any new code in order to implement it. The whole team can focus on integrating this new monetisation platform. This is a huge win for us because it cuts down on the number of resources required for each update, saving time and money. This combined with the support and assistance available throughout every part of the operation was very valuable.
We found it fast, simple and efficient. Hugely different when compared to other monetisation platforms we've tried in the past.
PG.biz: Did you find any benefits in terms of marketing and usability?
Giuseppe Lapenta: For each game, at every step, Growzee's team helped us to choose the right placement in order to give the best possible viewability and user experience.
The placement and customisation of each placeholder can have a huge impact in terms of the image shown before the ad is served. This means that we can preserve the environment of the game and ensure the best possible user experience.
An important feature of the platform that we’re using when we have to launch a new game is cross-promotion. We can decide for each placeholder which ad to show, what percentage of impression we wish to reserve for our own ads and which to open to Growzee’s advertisers.
PG.biz: How have you found the fill rates and revenues working with Growzee?
Giuseppe Lapenta: Growzee works on open real-time bidding (RTB) and has worked with the Instal.com, RTB network since 2013. For a developer like Balzo, this means having a high fill rate and the guarantee of a sales team which works for covering the optimal countries within the global gaming market.
Moreover, we receive 90 percent of revenue, which is one of the highest shares within the market. This is only possible with very tight collaboration with Growzee's sales and marketing team, which is always looking for new strategies to increase revenues.