11 tips for killer User Acquisition ops (Q3 version)

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Here we go again! The previous article was so successful, so I decided to write a follow up. Keep reading the tips to improve your UA. Simple, practical & efficient! That’s it, no bullshit!

#1 Facebook useful tips

I know facebook, ehm Meta changed the AAA campaign setup to Advantage+ App campaign and instead of easy setup, it’s just pain in the ass. Well done FB, thank you!

  • AAA campaigns (aim to have ~25 creatives not 50 as FB suggests – mix of all resolutions and static images)
    • you can still run the old AAA campaigns, just find some old one you have in your account and duplicate it. VOILÁ! 
  • AAA – if 25+ age segment works (update the age segments for app in the business manager)
  • Aim for 5 creatives in 1 adset when using regular campaigns
    • applies to new AA+ campaigns
  • Refresh Lookalike audiences on monthly basis
  • Mix broad adset & LAL adsets with CBO
  • Leverage regional targeting
    • EEA vs NA vs APAC
  • Use automatic placement
  • Ideal creative length 20-25s
  • Use all 4 resolutions for creatives

#2 Troubles in Unity paradise

It is a necessary evil to chew through the CPI campaigns, but the ROAS campaigns are worth the pain. You can ease up the pain in two ways.

Launch an allowlist campaign (speak to your account manager to get best performing subids for your allowlist) or source level bidding (speak to your AM to get these bids)

Once you get the xlsx file with bids, country codes, and source IDs from your Unity rep, upload it to your campaign.

Everything looked at first sight according to the Unity template. Still, after importing the file in the Source bids section you got an error message “Uploaded document does not contain “Source bids” sheet.” don’t panic.

  1. Just go on the campaign page, navigate to the Source bids section, then click Export template.
  2. After exporting the template, copy-paste the bids, country code, and source IDs into the downloaded template file.
  3. Then click Import to upload your modified spreadsheet.
  4. Magic happens the Source bids section will display a list view of the countries you are targeting, and the bid amounts imported from your spreadsheet.

Spent few hours to figure this out.. Enjoy!

#3 Creative testing process

What is your creative testing process? I have used multiple ways for different games. In my opinion, there is not only one universal process that fits everybody. Let’s take a look at what I’ve used in the past:

  1. IPM based

MAI campaign in Tier4 country (ideally India, but depends on your game genre) winner->BAU

  1. Multistep

MAI campaign in Tier4 country (ideally India, but depends on your game genre) winner->Tier1 AEO, winner->BAU

  1. Value optimisation

Worldwide VO campaign, new creative concepts tested on adset level, winners->BAU

  1. AAA BAU

Facebook AAA BAU campaigns, remove underperforming creatives and add new concepts

What is your approach?

#4 Scaling a game

Scaling a game is not an easy job. You need to involve a lot of departments into this! It’s not only on the marketing side of things. You need to work very closely with game team, data analytics and ideally liveops as well.

Scale/budget is always dictated by your game’s LTV. Marketing = UA + Creatives + ASO can help you by 10-20% here and there. But you won’t be able to scale your game only with marketing tricks & hacks. That’s impossible.

Sit down with your game team, look into the product pipeline and create a scaling plan together.

#5 SKAN issues all over again

You are running an iOS Purchase campaign on Facebook, but you can’t really see any postbacks. Right?

Let me tell you this -> 0 SKAN postbacks on FB = not passing the privacy threshold! But this is not issue only on Facebook.

Let’s take a look at different UA channels:

Facebook – min. installs per day per campaign 88 (it was 128 before, but now FB guidelines say something different)

Unity  min. installs per day per campaign 30

Snapchat – min. installs per day per campaign 75

Google – min. installs per day per campaign 100

Tiktok – min. installs per day per campaign 90

What could you do to start getting postbacks and meet the privacy threshold?

  1. increase budget (DUH!)
  2. add countries
  3. change campaign optimisation
  4. decrease CPI with creative optimisation

If you want to learn more about how to solve this issue, check out this article!

#6 Soft launch countries

You know this for sure. Running UA in soft launch in limited countries. But you want to open up more for whatever reasons. (Creative testing, liquidity, CPI challenges, new localisation, new channel, you name it)

So you fire up those campaigns and suddenly you see:

A) super high CPIs

B) comments under your creative saying the game is not available on the store

What the f…. oops! We should check the countries before we spend money in it. Happened to me multiple times in the past and I keep forgetting about it!

#7 Static images

It’s really sexy to talk about creatives based on personas these days. All the agencies talk about it like it’s a new thing.

Personas have been here since the beginning of the marketing!

The best performing creatives are the ones taken from the hypercasual or casual genre. Look what works elsewhere, adapt to your game. Full stop!

Oh, one more thing. Don’t forget to use static images in your (Facebook) campaigns. They work super well!

#8 Careful with proxy events

Using proxy events for purchases to optimize your campaigns looks pretty good on paper. The hypothesis is clear. When players do these proxy events, there is higher chance of making a purchase. It should be less expensive to target those.

Yeah, looks good on paper. But the reality is different.

Example:

Optimising for “level 25 achieved” because there is a correlation between level 25 achieved and purchase. This optimisation might bring only players that reach level 25, but don’t pay.

9/10 times it doesn’t work. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test it out. It’s really good exercise to try and learn from.

#9 Tiktok useful tips

Discover trending hashtags daily and use them in ads (to multiply reach)

  • Use 1 – 5 hashtags to get closer to your target audience.

In creatives use real-life people and situations to look like native content

  • Ideal creative length 9-15s

Use vertical format (in high quality – 720p)

  • but landscape & square format works well too!

Add background music to your ads to make them more enjoyable and native

  • Use TikTok music library if needed

The ad copy is important, the words are metadata for the platform.

  • The CTA is essential. It is better if it is simple and direct: Download now!, Play Game, Install

Start with lowest cost bidding and then switch to cost cap to control the CPI/CPA

Rotate creatives frequently – every week

  • Minimal changes needed (different button colour, background music, length, etc is enough)

#10 Scaling a game = CPI < LTV

Reiterating again the same point you saw earlier!

You can only scale your budget until the LTV allows you to do so.

Scaling a game is not only a function of a killer user acquisition operation. It is also a function of a LTV.

Eg. If your LTV is $5, you can run profitable campaigns until you hit $4.5 CPI (or any other CPI that you calculate based on your margins)

This is very simplified, because you need to take into consideration a payback period of your campaigns = when do you want to see your money back.

Is it D30, D60, D90 or D365?

What can we do from the UA point of view:

  • Creative optimisation
  • Channel diversification
  • Ios14 campaigns
  • Campaign optimisation diversification
    • Depends on game monetisation
      • 50 50 split IAA vs IAP
      • ANDROID Purchase + VO + AdROAS
      • IOS VO + purchase (adroas only adnetworks)
  • ASO (conversion rate optimisation – store asset testing)
    • Create seamless expectation flow
    • Creative -> store vidial design -> game

All of this is hard work and can help you maybe improve your numbers by 20%. Full stop.

#11 Global launching like a pro

Big splash global launching is over. This was the case few years ago when you spent a lot during the first 2-3 weeks and then scaled back to catch up with the revenue.

Some companies still have this mentality from the past even though they don’t have enough data from soft launch. Because “someone said this is how it should be done”

So, how should your global launch budget look like? What to take into consideration?

A) soft launch KPIs

  • what is your CPI in different countries
  • how did your CPI increase through the whole soft launch period? (create a coefficient)
  • how steep is your LTV curve?
  • what is your D1, D3, D7, D30 ROAS?

B) cashflow situation

  • how much money do you have in your bank account available for UA?
  • could you scale rapidly right away based on your funds?
  • don’t forget about NET30 ads revenue and NET45 IAP revenues

C) team experience

  • is your UA team experienced enough to handle the high volume (+ stress)?
  • is your team big enough to handle multiple channels

D) creative framework

  • how many winning creatives do you have from the soft launch?
  • how many many new creatives concepts can you produce weekly?
  • can you produce playables?

With all this in mind, do you know what kind of budget you can spend? No? Yeah I thought so. Create a budget plan A,B and C:

A) minimal

B) adventurous

C) STFUTG (scale the fuck up this game)

Anything that I missed? 
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11 tips for killer mobile User Acquisition (Q1 version)

Yo! Enjoy these few tips that will help you to improve your UA Operations. If don't, at least you spent few minutes reading and not working. Sit back, relax & enjoy the winter Q2 edition and share this with your UA friends. They will love you!

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