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Soft launch to worldwide launch: Now it’s time to go big

How to optimize your strategy
Soft launch to worldwide launch: Now it’s time to go big

This is the second of three articles from Brian Bowman, the CEO of Consumer Acquisition

In our first post, we covered how to complete the pre-launch phase of launching a gaming app and structuring your account.

We’ll now shift into the worldwide launch with tested creative, optimal campaign structure, and a monetization strategy that gives you the payback window you want.

In other words, now it’s time to go big.

But we don’t just flip a switch and unleash the pre-launch campaigns worldwide.

Global launches take careful planning.

We start by casting a wide net with different campaign structures so we can identify top-performers and scale them quickly.

We’ll also focus on:

  • Which geographies to use

We’ll test worldwide, the United States only, and Tier 1 minus the United States to see which performs best. Then we’ll drill down further as soon as we have enough data to decide which option to prioritize.

  • Testing audiences

We’ll test different interest groups, and we’ll also do a ton of work with lookalike audiences as soon as we’ve got enough purchases to start working with that data.

“We don’t just flip a switch and unleash the pre-launch campaigns worldwide.”

We do so much work with audience selection that we built a tool to make it easier. Now our Audience Builder Express tool lets us create hundreds of super-highly targeted audiences with just a few clicks.

  • Which optimization goal works best

We did this in the pre-launch, but it has to be re-tested again now that we’re advertising in dramatically larger markets.

Typically, we’ll choose Mobile App Installs (MAI), App Event Optimization (AEO), or Value Optimization (VO).

  • Developing a campaign structure grid

 These are spreadsheets that block out campaign structure and different campaign settings including ads sets, the budgets for each campaign, and more. They’re basically a blueprint of the entire launch.

Here’s what one section of a campaign structure grid might look like:

Sometimes we’ll have two campaign structure grids – one from our team, and one from Facebook.

Generally, Facebook’s recommended best practices are the right way to go. Those are well summed up in the first post in this series, in their Power5 recommendations, and reviewed in detail in their Blueprint certification training.

We agree with this approach, but every company is a little bit different. So, while we usually follow (and always endorse) Facebook’s best practices, it’s critical to understand the backstory and the technical side of why those best practices work. 

Bending best practices (a bit)

When you look at the underlying principles and the new features we have to work with, every so often, for a particular client situation, we’ll bend those best practices a bit. 

For example, heavy mobile app installs are recommended for the first week of a launch.

“We aim to balance budgets within one to three days of launch so we can then shift spend to top-performing segments.”

 We’ve seen success with this strategy, and we’ve also seen some games scale more profitably with Value Optimization in week one than they did with Mobile App Installs. This is why we recommend casting a wide net instead of exclusively optimizing for Mobile App Installs.

We also want to get the campaigns out of the learning phase as quickly as possible because it tends to suppress ROAS by anywhere from 20 to 40%.

Getting out of the learning phase typically requires 50 conversions per ad set per week.

Keep it simple

Once we’re out of the learning phase, we’ll also avoid any “significant edits” to top-performing campaigns and ad sets, as those would put those campaigns back into the learning phase.

Facebook’s system defines a “significant edit” as a campaign budget change of 40% or more or any bid change greater than 30%. 

Then there’s the issue of budgets. We aim to balance budgets within one to three days of launch so we can then shift spend to top-performing segments.

We do that by first reducing the spend from underperforming geographies and optimization goals, and then reallocating it to top-performing geographies and optimization goals.

Once that’s all balanced out, we can safely increase the budgets for CBO campaigns and ad set budgets. We can also launch new campaigns with these same optimized settings.

We’ll have achieved a successful worldwide launch – the exposure will have gone global. The campaigns will be profitable and operating with the best efficiency we can deliver for now.

The next step is to fine-tune that efficiency and try to scale up further with audience expansion.

You can read that here