Mechanist Games Breaks into the US Market with Tapjoy Rewarded Engagements
Mechanist Games, one of China’s fastest-growing mobile game publishers, has consistently generated impressive revenue with its flagship title, Game of Sultans. Mechanist Games had seen most of its success in countries such as Turkey and Russia. To launch its next growth stage, it decided to take on the industry’s most competitive market: the United States.
Given the high cost of user acquisition in the US, Mechanist decided to leverage rewarded advertising. It had found that this strategy to yield positive ROAS in other regions. With a high bid and a big budget, the Mechanist team was optimistic that they could capture valuable, engaged users, even in this competitive space.
When Mechanist first launched Game of Sultans, the US wasn’t a primary focus. However, the publisher recognized the region’s potential. As a mature market, the US typically generates significantly higher revenue for mobile games, both from In-App Purchase and In-App Advertising. What’s more, recent data from AppsFlyer suggested that revenue from US users grows over time. Meanwhile, in markets such as China and Russia, the LTV curve typically plateaus or drops after the 30-day mark.
Given the stiff competition in the US market, Mechanist understood it would need a nuanced strategy to achieve sustainable growth. Downloads alone would not equate to a steady US presence, nor would they bolster the game’s long-term revenue. The team zeroed-in on ROAS as its main KPI, followed by retention as a secondary KPI. They wanted to capture engaged, high-LTV users that would create more revenue than it had cost to acquire them.
Mechanist partnered with Tapjoy to meet its ambitious ROAS goal. To identify the optimal strategy, the team began by testing multiple ad formats, including video and incentivized app engagement. Tapjoy’s CPE (cost-per-engagement) ad unit proved highly successful, yielding superior ROAS compared to video. Next, they collaborated to produce four different ad engagement creative variations, each offering players rewards for achieving progressively deeper gameplay milestones.
Offers that required users to advance into the intermediate stages of the game proved most effective, and leveraged the latest Tapjoy features including an animated offer icon. Lastly, they performed an A/B test to determine whether video or gallery offer instructions were superior. The test revealed that gallery instructions generated an 11% higher CVR than video (results below). After the testing phase, the Tapjoy team optimized the ad unit to achieve scale.
PRIMARY OFFERWALL PLACEMENT
Throughout August and September 2019, Mechanist’s Game of Sultans had two CPE offers occupying the top ten offer spots on Tapjoy offerwalls.
The Game of Sultans CPE offer delivered an influx of high-value users. The campaign exceeded the publisher’s ROAS goal and generated impressive new revenue for the app. It also met Mechanist’s retention targets — a minimum of 10% 7-day retention and 6% 15-day retention among new US users.
TOP APP STORE PLACEMENT
Throughout the campaign, Game of Sultans consistently ranked among the top 15 role-playing apps in the US Google Play Store. It was also featured prominently on the store’s homepage among the role-playing collection. Today, Mechanist Games has reached a revenue milestone: According to data from App Annie, it’s consistently ranked among the top 20 highest-grossing Chinese publishers for the past six months.
• 2 PPE offers occupying the top 10 offer spots.
• Achieved a minimum of 10% 7-day retention among new US users.
• Top 20 highest-grossing Chinese publishers.
WHAT THE CLIENTS HAD TO SAY
“CPE is absolutely one of the more effective ad forms we have used so far, based on the performance we have plans to introduce it to our new games going forward.”
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