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Five tips for scaling your mobile game in a post-ATT market

SuperScale CEO Ivan Trančík offers advice on running effective user acquisition campaigns and improving monetisation in a challenging market
Five tips for scaling your mobile game in a post-ATT market

In an ever changing and complicated market it’s difficult for many to scale their games successfully. With changes to app tracking transparency studios need to evaluate and adapt their strategies to overcome these emerging challenges.

In this guest post CEO and founder at SuperScale, Ivan Trančík shares some insight into how to best scale your mobile game in a post-ATT market including keeping an eye on the competition and optimising your app store presence.

Apple’s changes to the accessibility of its identifier for advertisers (IDFA) upended the mobile market, sparking a massive shift in how users are acquired and games monetised. The post-app tracking transparency (ATT) landscape, combined with post-pandemic and macro-economic dips, saw global mobile game player spend drop by 5% year-over-year (YoY) in 2022 – the first ever yearly decline.

Two years ago, you’d plug in Facebook and an MMP, hire a freelance UA manager and watch your game reach 80% of its potential on a shoestring budget. Fast-forward to 2023 and the reality couldn't be more different. It’s harder than ever to launch and scale mobile titles, with marketers now needing to sift through complex datasets to find the best users. Successfully growing a high-quality mobile game can require 10-15 specialist roles and a multitude of tools, and even major publishers are concerned. One big name, Playtika, even took an unprecedented step to temporarily suspend new releases “until the ROI for new games is economically viable”.

Despite these challenges, all hope is not lost – far from it. It’s still possible to successfully scale good games using tools available to the masses. Below we've provided five of our top tips for the post-ATT landscape.

1. Have a clear roadmap and build predictive models

If you’re planning a UA campaign, you should plan at least three months ahead. Your strategy should include which ad networks you want to be visible on, with backups in case some of your chosen strategies and channels don’t work out. You need to get marketing, data and creative teams working to the same roadmap, so everything’s synchronised. It’s not just about the marketing department.

Alongside your roadmap, you should build predictive models for every campaign channel. Each network has a unique audience that will behave differently, and having an accurate prediction model allows you to set budgets and expectations to give an idea of when you should expect a return on investment. If a network then doesn’t deliver the number of expected users or high-quality paying players, it will be more straightforward to replace it – particularly if other networks are performing well. At SuperScale, we run prediction models for as far as one year ahead, refreshed each day.

2. Run campaigns in tandem with LiveOps

Your UA roadmap should work in tandem with your studio’s LiveOps. Big updates, new gameplay features, events and potential partnerships will inform the future creative strategy. With various teams working closely together, you can start testing ideas early for those key milestones, so they can make as much impact as possible, improving the success of UA campaigns and, ultimately, monetisation.

This works in-game too. If all teams collaborate, you can run A/B tests on engagement and monetisation ahead of big game design updates to ensure they’re as effective as possible. All of this will help increase overall revenue and ensure your LiveOps maximises your game’s potential while informing UA.

3. Track your competitors

While it’s important to have clear aims and objectives of your own, tracking how your competitors’ campaigns are engaging your target audience is vital. This is a critical area where even the largest publishers can fall down if they’re not benchmarking performance beyond their own games.

Developers can use mobile analytics tools to monitor which channels are most popular with other publishers, as well as keeping an eye on the creatives they’re using. You can also track changes to their app icon and store page, giving you valuable insights and inspiration for your creative strategies. As well as UA, monitoring competitors in your market regularly can also help inform game design, monetisation and LiveOps for the long term.

4. Regular creative testing

Good creatives are critical for a successful marketing campaign. You can have the best performance marketers in the world, but your UA efforts won’t be as profitable without the right approach to creatives. Ideally, you should aim to test new creatives every week.

The reason is simple: many creatives simply won’t work, while some will perform better than others. For the best ROI on UA campaigns, you’ll need to go in with the best possible, proven creatives. You’ll still need to refresh these to keep up with new trends, so you can squeeze out as much upside from them as you can.

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to plan ahead. If you can prepare creatives ahead of time and with an eye on key holidays and celebrations, this will put you in a better position to run successful campaigns throughout the year.

5. App Store Optimisation

Alongside good creatives, it’s also critical to look at your app store optimisation (ASO). If your store page is low quality, has poor screenshots, a boring description, or doesn’t relate to the ads you’re showing, you’ll get fewer conversions to install your game.

If you’re part of a large team running a successful game with lots of organic traffic, it’s worth optimising and iterating on your store page every week, testing new ideas for screenshots, icons and marketing copy regularly. For smaller teams, optimising your ASO strategy at least every three months will help drive better conversion rates for organic and inorganic traffic.

Grow your game

A post-ATT market has made successfully scaling mobile games from a UA and monetisation perspective more challenging than ever. But it’s far from impossible. With teams working together – from design and data to marketing – and regularly iterating on performance and campaign creatives, developers can set themselves up for success.

Edited by Paige Cook

About SuperScale
Founded in 2015, SuperScale helps developers and publishers of all sizes grow their mobile games through user acquisition campaigns, predictive analytics dashboards, and other key services aimed at maximising their potential. The company, which has offices in Slovakia and London, has supported over 150 mobile titles, generating more than two billion downloads worldwide. SuperScale has helped games industry leaders including Electronic Arts, Lego, Big Fish Games and BoomBit expand their player bases, increase revenue, and create engaging experiences for gamers around the world.

About Ivan Trančik, CEO and Founder of SuperScale
Ivan Trančik founded SuperScale in 2016, with the mission to support publishers in growing their mobile games through user acquisition and predictive analytics dashboards. He has spearheaded the company’s growth, which has helped ‘SuperScale’ over 150 mobile games, generating more than two billion downloads worldwide. Under Ivan's leadership, SuperScale has helped games industry leaders including Electronic Arts, Lego, Big Fish Games and BoomBit grow their player bases, increase revenue, and create engaging experiences for gamers around the world. Prior to founding SuperScale, Ivan founded multiple tech companies, including the e-commerce real-time analytics platform Exponea, which raised over $35 million in funding and was acquired by Bloomreach in 2021. As a lifelong gamer, Ivan also serves as an advisor and mentor to numerous startups and emerging companies in the games and technology industries. In recent years, Ivan and SuperScale have been awarded several notable accolades including Forbes 30 under 30 and Slush’s top 100.