Interview

How automated app ads allowed Rec Room to achieve their business goals

How Meta’s Automated App Ads helped Rec Room improve efficiency, decrease CPI, and achieve their business goals

How automated app ads allowed Rec Room to achieve their business goals

Automated App Ads (AAA) are a new way to run app install ads on Facebook that enable advertisers to achieve more with less, and deliver: better performance, greater scale, and more efficiency. It’s built with powerful machine learning and automated systems to maximise the power of marketing compared to manual campaigns.

AAA was built to help businesses grow through better performance, greater scale at sustained performance, and streamlined campaign and creative management to make it even more efficient than our current app advertising solutions.

As AAA have become more prevalent in the industry, now might be the time that you or your company begin to adopt them. Lorelay Carvalho of Facebook Gaming at Meta, sat down with Sabrina Chen, Senior User Acquisition Manager, and Brian Sapp, Head of Growth, at Rec Room to discuss AAA best practices and reasons to adopt.

Rec Room started experimenting with ads on Facebook and Instagram in July of 2021. Within a couple of months, the team started testing campaigns and rapidly shifted to in-house user acquisition (UA) management.

Audacious plans

With a lean team and audacious plans to increase the number of installs for the mobile version of their game, Rec Room relied heavily on Meta’s automated solutions to be able to scale fast and control costs.

Following initial tests with AAA, the company was able to increase investment significantly and are also hiring for five new positions on the marketing team.

Lorelay Carvalho: How can AAA help to scale campaigns with sustained performance?

Sabrina Chen: When I joined the Rec Room Team, Facebook was only a small part of our user acquisition strategy due to high cost-per-installs (CPIs). One of the first tests I decided to carry out was evaluating if Automated App Ads can drive the CPI down, given previous success and experience on other titles.

After a few weeks of running manual and AAA campaigns side by side, we noticed that the AAA campaign not only required much less effort in terms of updates but also reduced the CPI drastically.

...the AAA campaign not only required much less effort in terms of updates but also reduced the CPI drastically.
Sabrina Chen

Efficient and effective

Carvalho: Has AAA made it easier for Rec Room to achieve your goals more efficiently?

Chen: We managed to sustain low CPIs as we scaled our budgets, leading to a significant increase in investment. We have now extended the AAA campaign structure across all geographies and platforms for our title.

Carvalho: How have you used AAA in terms of automatic tests and delivering high-performing creative.

Chen: We were able to run tests in a few Tier two geographies in conjunction with a manual app install campaign to understand which optimisation and creatives would perform better to then scale to Tier one countries. We tried to include the maximum amount of creatives given AAA provides opportunities to include up to 50 assets. This included different video lengths, asset dimensions, and creative types for full coverage.

Reduced workload

Carvalho: How has AAA impacted your day-to-day digital marketing and campaign management?

Brian Sapp: As advertising algorithms and tools mature, marketers enjoy a reduced workload on manual optimisations and updates. This allows us to put additional effort into differentiating ourselves from other advertisers in this competitive landscape. For us here at Rec Room, it leads to constant and data-driven creative refreshes, as well as iterative testing across different audience cohorts.

We are constantly analysing our marketing and in-game data to identify the potential players who are not only going to convert but also enjoy and stay engaged with our game. Once we have a hypothesis of who these users are and what they are looking for in our game, we move forward with creating assets that address their desire and deploy quantitative tests to understand the effectiveness.

One of Rec Room’s main values is “Ready, fire, aim, repeat”. We encourage quick action and constant iteration based on what our customers and the numbers tell us.

We encourage quick action and constant iteration based on what our customers and the numbers tell us.
Brian Sapp

Long-term connections

Carvalho: One of the main things we hear from clients is that AAA helps to scale a sustainable strategy.

Sapp: As a social game company, we care about users who not only install but also engage with the game content as well as other players. Another one of our core values is “It’s a small world”. We respect our players and value long-term connections over making a quick buck.

Therefore we don’t use exploitive monetisation methods but rather focus on retention improvement and consistent growth in our Daily and Monthly Active Users. While a large part of it is driven by product improvement and live-ops. On the UA side, we have a key performance indicator (KPI) threshold for cost and retention for us to better gauge budget allocation and further investment opportunities.

Carvalho: What has been the impact of automation for you?

Sapp: Automation to us means saving time on manual, redundant tasks. Our last core value is “When in doubt, build it”. We have a bias towards action. By letting the algorithm/program do what it’s better at, we are able to build out efficient tests promptly to validate our hypothesis. It also allows us to spend more time on what humans are better at, namely interpreting the data, translating insights into actionable action and refining our marketing strategy.

Stress relief

Carvalho: Any final words on AAA?

Chen: AAA not only helped us achieve our KPI’s efficiently, but it also relieved the stress on our small team from constant manual updates, which led to the significant increase in investment mentioned previously.

Check out Facebook Gaming for more information and resources on Automated App Ads.


PocketGamer.biz regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.

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