On Friday, I had the honor of moderating a panel of impressive speakers and Chartboost partners at the LOGIN conference in SF. Industry veterans Lou Fasulo (CEO of Z2 Live), Christian Limon (Vice President of Growth & Advertising at Glu), and Erlend Christoffersen (Marketing Lead at Supercell) discussed how mobile marketing and monetization has evolved and where its headed. I summarized the highlights of our discussion below.
What is the future of mobile marketing?
The panel agreed that data-driven performance mobile marketing is their primary focus and where the industry is headed. ?Christian said that the definition of ?performance marketing? has evolved from ?Install to Engagement to Transaction? over the last several years and that the goal is simply to have users transact at a higher level than it cost to acquire them. ?He sees developers building advanced attribution models to continue to refine performance. ?Lou also mentioned using data to pursue highly targeted audiences, and that retargeting existing users is another key component.
Erlend mentioned that the media mix is become more important for Supercell. ?In addition to using performance driven networks, they are starting to run branding campaigns across TV and other offline channels. ??Social channels are also becoming increasingly important for success. The other panelists, however, raised concern that Supercell was in a unique position and that branding isn?t relevant for most smaller developers.
There was a comment from the audience that they feared acquisition costs would continue to increase, especially for games, in a manner similar to how internet costs evolved. ?At least on the Chartboost network, we?ve haven?t seen this to be the case over the last several months.
How do you evaluate mobile marketing partners?
The panelists agreed that scale, transparency, and automated tracking are key factors in selecting their marketing partners. ?They are also looking for consistent data sets so the data is actionable. ?Glu and Z2 Live each use over 20 networks, and are willing to experiment to find the best performance for a given campaign and optimize. ??Christian mentioned that if you don?t have specific marketing expertise, it is worth consideration an agency, like Grow Mobile, to maximize the value from your spend.
Glu creates a marketing plan with 5 distinct phases throughout a game?s lifetime: 1) beta markets, 2) burst and discovery, 3) the search for ROI, 4) active ROI to extract value, and 5) passive ROI for efficiency. Their marketing goals vary depending on the phase from learning in the test market phase, to broad awareness at launch, to strict ROI goals after the game has been live.
Erlend said that Supercell stays away from incentivized networks to help protect their brand image. ?They also look for partners with differentiated value, as many networks utilize the same inventory and don?t add much value.
What is your monetization mix?
Both Z2 Live and Glu have seen the percentage of revenue from ads decrease in favor of IAP over the last several years. ?Lou stated that ads generated about 40% of Z2 Live revenue in 2010 while today it is closer to 25%. ?He also mentioned that ad revenue is less predictable than IAP and tends to fluctuate throughout the year.
For Glu, the monetization mix varies considerably by title. ?Today, ads generate roughly 10-15% of overall revenue for mid core games, down from about 30% only 3 years ago. ?Accordingly, they have shifted the key metrics they focus on from daily active users and number of impressions generated toward a set of metrics more tightly aligned toward IAP revenue.
Erlend mentioned that ad revenue is negligible for Supercell in comparison to IAP. ?However when implemented correctly, advertising can bring value to players in different ways. ?He gave the example of the video or newspaper in Hay Day that are deeply integrated in game play and are a natural place for promotions. ?In addition to ads, Supercell uses the promotional opportunity for other content including cross promotion, or tutorials, or direct partnerships.
The evolution continues…
Mobile marketing has come a long way in a short time. I’m excited to be working at Chartboost alongside great partners such as Z2 Live, Glu, and Supercell to help understand their marketing goals and build the tools to help connect players to new games they love.