Don’t forget to make room in your schedule for these fascinating sessions from leading publishers and platform providers.

GDC is almost here. If you’re anything like Tapjoy’s team members, that means you’re currently attempting to cram as many sessions, meetings, and parties into a ludicrously crowded schedule. GDC 2019 has an excellent line-up on that front, but mobile monetization professionals will definitely want to check out these sessions for some particularly valuable insights.


The ‘Flappy Bird’ that Laid the Golden Egg: Success in Hyper-Casual

Speaker: David Fox (CEO, Double Coconut)

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 4:40pm – 5:10pm

Location: Room 2016, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits

Hyper-casual is mobile gaming’s fastest-growing genre, and its success traces back to the hugely successful Flappy Bird. In this GDC feature session, Double Coconut’s David Fox will highlight this mobile classic as a case study for today’s hyper-casual market. Along the way, Fox will emphasize the importance of polished gameplay experiences, and define the elements required of a high quality mobile game design.


Gone in 15 Seconds: Acquiring Sticky Players in an Instant World

Speakers: Eleanor Haeg (Head of Creative Strategy, Unique Influence), Taylor Lundgren (Sr. Digital Manager, Unique Influence), Conrad McGee-Stocks (Growth Lead, Uken Games), Rose Agozzino (Sr. Marketing Specialist, Ludia), Alex Pan (Director, Performance Marketing, Seriously Digital Entertainment)

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 11:20am – 12:20pm

Location: Room 2000, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Indie Games Summit

With thousands of apps launched each day, attracting new players is a pressing challenge for developers and marketers. This session will outline Unique Influence’s testing process for ad creative, offer suggestions for iterating findings, and make content suggestions for rising inventory sources.


Design by the Numbers: Using Data for Good

Speaker: Evan Losi (Lead Game Designer, Scopely)

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 1:20pm – 1:50pm

Location: Room 2016, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits

Mobile games are overwhelmingly popular, but user data can make them even better. Scopely’s Evan Losi will describe the launch for Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem while highlighting design insights generated from ongoing data tracking. With this data in hand, developers can use analytical tools to find and correct any potential design flaws.


Top 3 Mistakes of ‘Angry Birds 2’

Speaker: Mans Wide (Executive Producer, Rovio)

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 2:10pm – 2:40pm

Location: Room 2016, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits

Rovio’s Angry Birds was a smash hit that defined mobile gaming, but Angry Birds 2 had a more tepid critical reception than the original. Executive Producer Mans Wide will candidly explore the bad calls that impacted Angry Birds 2, highlighting three design lessons that took over four years to learn.


Three Technology Trends That Will Shape the Next Generation of Gaming

Speaker: Erik Smith (Head of Account Based Marketing, Arm Treasure Data)

Date: Wednesday, March 20

Time: 10:30am – 11:00am

Location: Room 3020, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Indie Games Summit

The video games industry has undergone dramatic changes over the past decade, but we might not have seen anything yet. Arm Treasure Data’s Erik Smith will review the latest trends in mobile gaming, AR technologies, and streaming audiences while suggesting ways the three fields might soon converge.


Making Games That Stand Out and Survive

Speaker: Nick Popovich (CEO, Monomi Park)

Date: Thursday, March 21

Time: 11:30am – 12:30pm

Location: Room 2016, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference

With increased competition in the industry, how do you make your game stand out? Slime Ranger director Nick Popovich will share hard truths about making your game stand out without breaking your marketing budget.

GDC 2019 will run from March 18-22 at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center. We hope to see you there!


You could have the most engaging, innovative, and revolutionary marketing campaign at your fingertips, but it’s the end installs that matter. Find out more in our latest strategy article, “What Is CPI Marketing?

When working in mobile app development, there’s a whole world of acronyms to memorize in order to understand evolving sales processes and whether your monetization efforts are effective. One such acronym is ARPPU, and it’s especially vital for increasing revenue. Not sure what all of those letters mean? Not to worry, we’re here to help.

What does ARPPU stand for?

ARPPU is short for Average Revenue Per Paying User. For free-to-play games and apps, or those that depend heavily on in-app purchase revenue, only a fraction of a users will spend money on a regular basis. While there are other important metrics used to measure overall consumption and activity, ARPPU is specifically for tracking the percentage responsible for the most revenue.

How is ARPPU calculated?

To find your ARPPU, you must first isolate the number of paying customers, and then divide your total revenue by that number. It will likely be higher than overall revenue per customer. So, for example, if your revenue over a given period of time is $5,000 and you have 100 paying users in that time period, your ARPPU will be $50.

$5,000 / 100 Paying Users = $50 ARPPU

Be sure to note the period of time you’re analyzing, as ARPPU can vary wildly in daily and monthly calculations. That’s not necessarily cause for alarm — even your biggest whales probably won’t make purchases every single day.

Why is ARPPU important?

According to an article by Vasiliy Sabirov on Gamasutra, “ARPPU is a reaction of precisely paying users to the value that brings your project. This metric shows how much a loyal paying user is willing to pay.” In other words, ARPPU shows you if your efforts to land the whales are working and whether you’re garnering enough revenue from your most loyal customers.

On top of that, ARPPU can help determine whether your pricing structure is effective. It’s easier to make decisions about revenue by isolating the customers spending the most money, rather than appeasing  the ones who will likely utilize your app for free no matter how you adjust and advertise.

Improving ARPPU

How can I improve my ARPPU?

If your ARPPU is underperforming, your first instinct may be to raise prices. And while this could boost your average revenue from paying users, it might also reduce the number of paying users your app has, also known as your conversion rate. As with every metric, a balanced approach is needed.

There are other methods that successful app developers use to improve ARPPU as well. Celebrating your biggest paying users is a great way to get them to keep spending–if they’re regularly rewarded, they’ll feel appreciated and stay engaged. Make an effort to provide perks to your biggest spenders, such as early access or playtesting privileges, shoutouts in company communications or the app itself, and special items or actions customized for them.

Of course, even with a loyal paying user base, you’ll still want to nudge non-paying users into higher spending territory. Adding more social or personal options can encourage users to take the plunge, or offer special deals to first-time paying customers to make their decision easier. Once they’ve made their first payment, even if it’s less than a dollar, it becomes easier to make future payments; you just need to motivate them past this initial barrier.

CIO’s article ”Why some people are willing to pay for a mobile app” states the types of people most likely to pay for apps are impulse buyers, extroverts, and–surprisingly–bargain hunters. While that last stat seems contradictory, it’s useful to know that showing the haggle-prone users a good deal makes them more likely to pay for a premium version of the app outright. Use this information to target your strategy and watch your ARPPU rise!

While there are many ways to measure success in an app, developers should prioritize ARPPU early and check it often. With the information outlined here, you’re well on your way to understanding how your regularly paying users generate revenue and how to keep that metric healthy.

To find out more about ARPPU  and other proven in-app monetization strategies, get in touch with Tapjoy’s talented team of experts.

Interested in learning more from the alphabet of mobile marketing acronyms? Be sure to also check out: What is ARPDAU?

The wonderful world of mobile game and app monetization is full of fun acronyms, and ARPDAU is one of the most important ones to understand. Short version: it’s a metric to determine how much revenue the average user is bringing in. Simple, right? Well, not quite. Read on to find out more about how understanding ARPDAU helps keep your monetization goals on track.

What does ARPDAU actually mean?

ARPDAU is short for Average Revenue Per Daily Active User. In other words, it’s a measure of how much money every regular user is bringing in on a daily basis. The money earned can be from ads, in-app purchases, subscriptions, or whatever your particular application uses as a monetization model.

How do I calculate ARPDAU?

You can find out your ARPDAU, which may change from day to day, by dividing the revenue earned in a 24-hour period by the number of active users in that same period of time. It’s important to note that ARPDAU calculates income from all players, even the ones who don’t make any purchases. (There are metrics that measure revenue from paying customers specifically, but that’s a topic for a different day!)

Why does ARPDAU matter?

ARPDAU is an important metric for app developers for a few reasons. While it’s not the only abbreviation that matters, it is a good way to analyze an app’s income, as well as whether your monetization efforts are working as intended. For example, if you have an influx of new users and the ARPDAU remains steady, it’s a good sign that the newbies are spending or generating income consistently, as intended. If the ARPDAU drops every time a new wave comes in, that means only the same small percentage of users are actually generating money, and it’s time to rethink your strategy.

This is particularly critical for free-to-play apps, which require frequent analysis to ensure that monetization is maximized in an environment where many users won’t be paying a cent. In-app purchases and advertising strategies need to be visible and balanced, and ARPDAU helps get a sense of whether or not you’re achieving that balance.

My ARPDAU is lower than expected. What do I do?

If you’ve analyzed your average revenue per daily user and you’re not quite thrilled with the results, not to worry. There are a few proven ways to engage these users and encourage them to generate revenue, either through ads or purchases.

If you’re not already using reward videos, you really need to start. As reported by Rubicon Project, “rewarded video earns a 79% completion rate,” which is “1.5 times greater than the mobile industry benchmark of 52%.” Post-video click-through rates are higher as well. Plus, reward videos tend to beat ad blockers, and users willingly engage with them, instead of avoiding them.

As for more traditional advertising, it might be time to assess how and where you present ads to users. Are they visible enough or too obscure? Are they too invasive? Are they relevant to your user base? A good mobile advertising partner (like Tapjoy!) can help you with the answers to these questions.

Finally, wherever applicable, nudge non-paying users toward in-app purchases. Make sure your prices are fair, and reward players (through videos or other methods) with a few premium options, just to show them what they’re missing. A free trial or currency sales pricing on certain days also goes a long way towards encouraging users to drop a few bucks to heighten their enjoyment of a product they’re already using.

By now, you should have a firm understanding of ARPDAU and what to do with that information. The concept can be a little intimidating, but a comprehensive grip on your app’s ARPDAU is vital for keeping revenue streams high and users engaged.

To learn more about how Tapjoy can help you increase ARPDAU by using the most effective  in-app advertising strategies, get in touch with our talented team of game and app monetization experts.

PlayStack’s HELP: The Game brings us new games from Rovio, Gameloft, and more to support War Child UK.

Mobile gaming is all about fun and play, but sometimes it can also be used to support a noble cause. That’s why Tapjoy hopes you’ll check out HELP, a mobile gaming app that supports two very special children’s charities.

HELP: The Game brings together five addictive new puzzle games from critically-acclaimed developers. Everything in the HELP package can’t be found anywhere else, and offers hours of engagement for players of all ages. The app costs $3.99 to purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store, with 100% of net proceeds going to War Child UK and Children in Conflict.

HELP is supported through the Tapjoy network, which means we obtained a first-hand look at what Rovio, Gameloft, Wooga, Featherweight, and Sports Interactive put together. So trust us — whether you enjoy matching games, physics sims, or casual swipe-based puzzles, there’s something for everyone here.

Now let’s take a look at the games:

Rupert Sell ‘Em, Don’t Break ‘Em

by Wooga

From the creators of Jelly Splash, meet Rupert Sell’ Em, Don’t Break ‘Em. Rupert is a porcelain store assistant. He’s also an elephant. You can see how this could go wrong…

All day customers come into your porcelain shop. Fulfill their requests fast, but don’t break too much or your job is on the line! Find the item the customers want and bring it to the counter. Their satisfaction will determine if you can travel on to later levels.

Mediocre Housekeeping

by Featherweight

From the creators of Rodeo Stampede, welcome to Mediocre Housekeeping, a lazy physics game where you attempt to throw as many items of clothing onto the shelving without it falling off!

Swipe to throw the items of clothing on to the shelving units, be careful that the clothing doesn’t fall off!

Fifty Buddies

by Gameloft

From the creators of Asphalt Racing, Fifty Buddies places you in control of 50 jelly buddies, race around the loop as many times as possible without losing the Buddies, dodge past wrecking balls, ejector buttons and more to rack up a high score!

Press down to race the Buddies around the loop. Race around as many times as possible without losing the Buddies, dodge past wrecking balls, ejector buttons and more to rack up a high score!

Inish Ciúb

by Rovio

From the creators of Angry Birds, Inish Ciúb is a delightful puzzle game where you use bees, flowers, weeds and bears to create your own flourishing Inish Ciúb. Combine different tiles to remove tiles from the board. Remove as many tiles as possible with as few tiles as possible in the time period to score!

Combine different tiles to remove tiles from the board. Remove as many tiles as possible with as few tiles as possible in the time period to score!

Tickets Please

by Sports Interactive

From the creators Football Manager, Tickets Please puts you in charge of a ticket inspector on a busy train service. Correctly check as many tickets as possible in the time limit to progress!

Swipe left or right to deny or approve a passengers ticket. Correctly check as many tickets as possible in the time limit to progress!

HELP: The Game is available now on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store.

This month’s app spotlight brings us SuperStar BTS by Dalcomsoft, an exciting, console-caliber rhythm game based on a K-Pop sensation: the Bangtan Boys.

The Scoop

K-pop fans rejoice! The production team behind one of South Korea’s most popular boy bands has partnered with Korean game developer Dalcomsoft to create an addictive mobile rhythm game that will test your skill — and your devotion to the Bangtan Boys, or BTS. SuperStar BTS brings console-caliber rhythm gameplay to mobile devices, which has historically been a big ask for many other developers. Let’s take a look at how they did it.

The Buzz

With an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on the App Store, it’s safe to say SuperStar BTS has been well received, even among seasoned mobile gamers who’ve seen their fair share of mobile gaming brand partnerships. Popular YouTubers have wasted no time in mastering the game’s highest difficulty settings and posting their achievements online, garnering hundreds of thousands of views in the process. Although the game does have an English translation version available, players in some English speaking countries may need to look into a workaround, as the game is not currently available in all markets.

The Gameplay

SuperStar BTS features a carefully structured difficulty curve that invites players in before gradually turning up the heat, leading to one of the most satisfying gameplay experiences available on mobile. Devoted fans of the band can collect virtual trading cards featuring each of the band’s members, though building a complete set will take time and skill. For serious players, the game features a competitive mode that lets them compete against their peers to climb the rankings and earn rewards. New missions released daily give players plenty of reasons to come back and try to level up.

The Economy

SuperStar BTS employs a tiered currency system to drive its virtual economy. Players can purchase “Diamonds” through in-app purchases or earn them through Tapjoy’s in-app advertisements. The Diamonds can then be spent on packs of collectable trading cards, which come in three varieties: normal, signed, and prism. Each variety offer players gameplay bonuses and increased points multipliers, improving their ability to earn currency organically. Cards of lower rarity can be used to upgrade other cards in a style reminiscent of the digital gachapon mechanics made famous by successful mobile titles Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and Fire Emblem Heroes.

The Sizzle Reel

The Skinny

With solid gameplay and an intuitive brand partnership to back it up, SuperStar BTS succeeds where many other mobile rhythm games have failed. It’s an intuitive, enjoyable title that offers all players a wealth of enjoyment while leaving room for the band’s most devoted fans to indulge their passion.
We here at Tapjoy are pleased to announce that we have acquired Tapdaq, the ad mediation and app monetization platform! This partnership is part of our continuing mission to provide app and game developers with the industry’s most cutting-edge tools to monetize mobile content and audiences.
Since its founding in 2012, Tapdaq has partnered with the industry’s top demand sources to enable access to the world’s leading advertisers. It helps mobile developers maximize revenue through ad mediation, and retain valuable users through cross promotion campaigns. Its platform uses real-time bid data from SDK-based demand sources to offer unbiased and fully transparent ad mediation, ensuring that the highest paying campaign wins every available impression for developers.
By joining forces with Tapdaq, our ultimate goal is to integrate its impressive services with our Maximum Impact Platform – benefitting all of our users!
“Tapdaq is leading the way for programmatic ad mediation that puts the developer’s needs front and center,” said Steve Wadsworth, CEO of Tapjoy. “Tapdaq’s philosophy of providing an unbiased and transparent auction is crucial to building developer trust and fits perfectly with our own goals and beliefs. We are excited to welcome the entire Tapdaq team to the Tapjoy family, and we look forward to rolling out a unified solution that benefits the entire developer community.”
“Tapjoy was an important partner of ours as we built the ad monetization platform that came to be trusted by so many leading app developers,” said Ted Nash, CEO of Tapdaq. “We are thrilled to join the Tapjoy team and to work closely with them to bring the most powerful and sophisticated app monetization tools to the market.”
Moving forward, the company will be known as “Tapdaq by Tapjoy”. Its London HQ will join forces with our Tapjoy London team to integrate their services with our full-service Maximum Impact Platform.
The Tapjoy team has enjoyed working with Tapdaq in the past, and are thrilled to welcome its London office to our network!

The 2018 edition of’s Top 50 Developers list is out, and it offers a revealing look at what it takes to succeed in today’s mobile gaming landscape. The developers on this year’s list offer exciting games, true innovation and smart monetization strategies. And if you look closely, you’ll notice that a good number of them also offer Tapjoy’s rewarded advertisements.

We’re not saying that they got into the Top 50 because of us, but we are suggesting that maybe the same ingenuity, resourcefulness and smart decision making that got them there might have played a role in leading them to partner with us as well.

This year’s list features a mix of app developers from throughout the world and from a variety of categories. It’s got big names like Ubisoft, Zynga and Tencent (all Tapjoy partners), as well as developers across a spectrum of games — from casual and casino games to role playing and sports games.

We extend our heartiest congratulations to all of the developers named to the list, and to those who are Tapjoy partners, thanks for choosing us! Here’s a quick look at just a small handful of the many Top 50 developers working with Tapjoy:

Epic Games (#1)

Jonathan Lau, Director of User Acquisition at PLAYSTUDIOS, chatted with us about the evolution of mobile UA, advice for breaking into the gaming market and the story behind his extraordinary picture.

Tapjoy: Hi Jonathan. Let’s start by having you tell us a little about PLAYSTUDIOS and what you do there.

Jonathan Lau: PLAYSTUDIOS is a 7-year old social casino app developer based in Burlingame, California. We combine our roots in traditional, land-based casinos with the best slots games in the industry while offering our users real, earnable rewards. I’ve been with PLAYSTUDIOS almost three years and my current role is Director of User Acquisition.

TJ: PLAYSTUDIOS has a really unique rewards program that ties virtual gaming to real-world rewards. How crucial is that program to the success of your games, and how does it affect the gameplay itself?

JL: It’s really our key value proposition that sets us apart from our competitors. There are a lot of options for our users to choose from considering the ultra-competitive market of mobile slots. However, PLAYSTUDIOS is the only company that offers robust and diverse rewards along with our best-in-class slot games. It’s a win-win for mobile slot players.

TJ: How would you describe PLAYSTUDIOS’ overall UA strategy?

JL: We strive to maintain ROI profitability. If we look at the overall UA spectrum, at one end we have growth without any regard for profitability. On the other end, we have profitability without any regard for growth. Depending on the life cycle of each app, you may find yourself leaning towards one end or the other. At PLAYSTUDIOS, we try to find a balance between each, which isn’t always easy. Mobile fraud and the changing ad landscape keeps us on our toes. ROI profitability can also be defined differently depending on each company’s aim. Should we look at paid-only options, or should we consider looking at profitability on a blended basis? There is no right answer. Rather, each company has to determine their own short and long-term goals.

TJ: And what is your overall monetization strategy?

JL: It is simple, we’re always trying to find ways to monetize ALL users within our app portfolio.

TJ: You spent the first part of your career as a banker and financial services officer. What made you get into mobile gaming in the first place, and what do you think you bring to the field that has made you successful?

JL: Traditional banking is very rigid. Products rarely change, get repackaged and/or resold as something new. I wanted to work in an industry where the landscape is in constant flux, where we actually create new and exciting things for our consumers. I love being on the cutting edge of consumer ad tech and seeing what is coming over the horizon before anyone else in the world. Mobile is roughly a ten-year old industry, and mobile UA is only about 7-years old. There are still many things to come in the evolution of our landscape. What we do today will shape the products that will be offered tomorrow.

TJ: You studied International Economics and Globalization at Berkeley, and now you work in one of the most global industries in the world. What did you learn at Berkeley that prepared you for your work today?

JL: Sure, I am happy to discuss ancient history! My studies have allowed me to better understand what I do on a macro level. From analyzing the basic economics of our market to adopting a global approach to the business. PLAYSTUDIOS has offices around the world, and we serve a global audience. It helps to know the benefits and limitations of working with teams in different offices with different capabilities.

However, most of my education in mobile UA happened within the last few years. I try to stay curious and open myself up to constantly learning from the industry. I’m very fortunate to have many mentors and peers in this industry that have taken time to teach and help me along the way.

TJ: What advice do you have for someone looking to break into the mobile gaming market?

JL: Keep an open mind and make bold moves. Our job requires us to make calculated risks daily.  Leverage data to drive your decisions and understand that what was right six-months ago may not be what’s right today. It is important to maintain the mental dexterity needed to adapt to new industry changes. You should constantly evaluate your workflow and find ways to be more agile. Do not be complacent and reactive. Fortune favors the bold.

TJ: Aside from PLAYSTUDIOS’ own games, what is your favorite game to play?

JL: I really enjoy games with immersive storylines. Games from the Telltale series are splendid examples of how to tell amazing stories while thrusting the player into the shoes of the protagonist. You can really lose yourself when playing those games.

TJ: Now for the big question: tell us the story behind your picture! It’s arguably the most eye catching, extraordinary photo we’ve ever received.

JL: One of our technical artists is also a professional photographer. He set up a photoshoot in the office during our annual hackathon with a black background, man-made rain effects (a garden hose spraying water) and a bunch of other props for us to use. Being an avid Crossfitter, I wanted him to capture me doing my favorite olympic lifting move, the snatch, so I brought in my own weights and equipment. It was a bit nerve-racking since the floor of the set was soaking wet and slippery. There was a floor to ceiling glass window about two feet away, and I had to properly secure a dry grip on the wet 165lb barbell. I warmed up off to the side for about 30 minutes before it was time to capture the shot. I knew that if I missed the lift I would probably destroy his set, so no pressure right? Fortunately, I hit the lift on my first attempt, and was so happy that I decided to duckface for the picture. In hindsight, this was probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done because of how wrong things could have gone. But with the story, and the finished product, the picture to me is– priceless.

Thanks so much for chatting with us Jonathan — and to our dynamic partners at PLAYSTUDIOS. Stay tuned to the Tapjoy blog for more insights from Tapjoy Mobile Champions!

Tapjoy kicks off our new “App of the Month” column by taking a look at an app that has become one of the favorites around our office.

App: Design Home

Developer: Glu Mobile

Launch Date: November 17, 2016

The Skinny
Design Home lets you live the life of an interior decorator by decorating a variety of cool and unusual rooms and houses, from island getaway homes to luxury high-rise apartments. Pick from a huge variety of furniture and accessories from high-end, real-world brands like Design Within Reach, Serena & Lily, Taylor Burke Home and more. It also offers PvP action through interactive design challenges that pit players against one another to see who can design the best room according to their peers. It’s a great opportunity to sharpen your interior design skills by creating the home of your dream!

The Numbers
In its first year, Design Home generated 30 million downloads and brought in $71.5 billion for Glu. At that time, the company reported that the game had more than a million DAUs, who had designed 500 million rooms altogether. Earlier this month, Glu CEO Nick Earl credited Design Home (along with the Kim Kardashian franchise) with the company’s recent growth, which was up 43% year-over-year in Q1.

Virtual Economy
Design Home employs a dual economy in which Cash and Diamonds are used to buy things like furniture and accessories. The storefront offers plenty to choose from, from the most basic furniture to the finest accoutrements. You can also purchase Keys for taking part in challenges and voting in competitions. Diamonds can be bought via IAP or earned for free through Tapjoy by watching rewarded videos or taking part in our Offerwall Plus.

The Consensus
Design Home gets five out of five stars from Tapjoy for its originality, fun factor, well-balanced economy, and impressive array of virtual items and big design brands.