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Increasing in-app usage and proving incremental lift with AppsFlyer

Kabam AppsFlyer Customer

20%

Incremental lift in revenue

4X

Increase in conversion rate

Background

As one of the industry leaders in developing entertaining, immersive, and highly social multiplayer mobile games, Kabam is adept at merging consumer behavior with the art of game design.

Marvel Contest of Champions has grown to be one of Kabam’s most popular games, an arcade-style fighting game in which over 170 different Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains, such as Spider Man, Groot, and Wolverine, face off head-to-head.

Early on Kabam realized the importance of keeping their players engaged and cultivating them long-term. To achieve that, Kabam decided to adopt remarketing strategies into their marketing mix, unlike many other gaming companies at the time who were solely focused on user acquisition. 

Challenge

1. Increasing usage

The native mobile format of the game excluded a large segment of gamers who didn’t yet embrace the mobile gaming platform.

How could Kabam’s team of experienced UA managers increase usage among their core user base while also introducing Marvel Contest of Champions to non-mobile gamers? For inspiration they turned to the roots of gaming itself – the arcade.

2. Proving incremental lift

As Kabam’s install base grew, they wanted to better understand the effects of remarketing ads on their revenue and see how far they could scale and optimize their remarketing strategies to drive the biggest overall business growth.

Kabam ran an internal analysis to better understand the player lifecycle and identify KPIs that could be improved as part of their remarketing efforts but they quickly realized that the process will require a lot of time and resources to complete.

Moreover, the rise of mobile advertising has opened new and emerging channels and Kabam was tasked with determining the performance of each channel separately, making the process even more resource-intensive.

Kabam knew they needed a comprehensive solution that was easy to implement and would help them accomplish their goal faster. 

Solution

Deep linking

The concept revolved around two key components: A re-imagining of the classic super hero trading card and the classic arcade cabinet format.

Partnering with Raw Thrills, Dave & Buster’s, and Marvel, Kabam released hundreds of Marvel Contest of Champions gaming cabinets into Dave and Buster’s arcades throughout North America that dispensed Champions Cards – dynamic trading cards featuring one of the characters from the game.

When a gamer started the game a Champions Card was dispensed, encouraging the gamer to try the mobile version of Marvel Contest of Champions. But to effectively convert arcade gamers into mobile gamers, the team needed a way to seamlessly direct them to the mobile game and measure their activity.

A QR code powered by OneLink, AppsFlyer’s deep linking solution, transformed the Champions Cards from a collectors item into an effective user acquisition channel: Once scanned, the QR code either added the character featured on the Champions Card to their mobile game or directed those who didn’t have the app to download it.

Not only could Kabam rely on the stability of the solution, they could be confident their users were being directed to the most valuable destination every time – without custom configurations or interstitial pages.

“Detailed attribution data provided the insight we needed to confidently scale-out a bold new offline UA campaign spanning hundreds of locations across the United States.” – Roz Hajian, Growth Marketing Product Lead

Incrementality

After successfully using AppsFlyer’s attribution data for years to grow its business, Kabam decided to adopt AppsFlyer’s Incrementality solution to measure the incremental lift in in-app purchases driven by their remarketing campaigns. 

Using AppsFlyer’s Audiences tool, with its advanced segmentation capabilities and long list of integrated partners, the team at Kabam was able to launch incrementality tests on a variety of channels. As part of their initial experiment, they launched a remarketing campaign for Shop Titans on Facebook.

To understand the true impact of each campaign, they used AppsFlyer’s Incrementality solution and applied incremental measurement to two different player groups:

  • Paying players who made a purchase in the past year
  • And non-paying players who reached level 15 and higher

Both groups consisted of lapsed players who didn’t open the app for more than 30 days and Kabam’s goal was to reactivate them.

To create the right conditions for measurement, each group was targeted with a remarketing campaign and split into test and control groups automatically using AppsFlyer’s Audiences tool. The test group was exposed to remarketing ads while the control group was not.

By doing so, Kabam were able to easily isolate the affected variables. 

The test ran for 8 weeks and included ingesting and normalizing large sets of data, dividing different audiences into test and control groups, monitoring performance, and analyzing results on a daily and weekly basis.

Daily raw data Incrementality reports and aggregated insights from our analytics dashboard helped Kabam keep track of the test results, understand the incremental lift at every stage of the test and optimize critical KPIs.

Results

More time spent in-app and a lift in ARPU

With OneLink the UA team had the same granular attribution data they relied on for their online campaigns, allowing them to see the specific arcade locations and card characters that drove the highest number of downloads and the ultimate lifetime value of each acquired user.

The result was a frictionless and automated user experience, with reliable attribution built right in.

Kabam now had a clear view of offline campaign performance and could attribute all relevant activity, opening their team up to an entirely new channel of customer acquisition and re-engagement. Initial results were very positive, showing particularly high value customers being acquired through the campaign, boosted time spent in-app for QR-code acquired user), and lifted ARPU.

To capitalize on the success of their initial campaign, the team is creating an updated run of “Series 2” Champions Cards for Marvel’s Contest of Champions. These new cards will feature an even larger QR code with a more prominent placement to catch the eye of more users to increase conversion from the arcade game to the mobile app.

An incremental lift in revenue

Kabam was able to confirm that their remarketing campaigns were indeed incremental, achieving an incremental lift in revenue of almost 20%.

They also observed a similar lift in user retention for both paying and non-paying players, demonstrating that remarketing ads have a strong impact on their players regardless of how much they spend in the game.

Another interesting observation was that non-paying players were 4X times more likely to make a purchase after seeing a remarketing ad than paying players. This was an important finding for Kabam as it allowed them to apply it to larger audiences, maximizing their revenue from non-paying players.

The test helped Kabam validate their remarketing strategies and identify which strategies have evergreen potential. Kabam was also able to realign their remarketing CPAs and optimize their targeting according to the new insights, enabling better budget allocation and an overall better marketing mix.

Altogether, the findings indicated the value remarketing holds for Kabam and that remarketing in gaming apps, works. Based on the positive results and the ability to apply the same measurement to their entire remarketing strategy, Kabam was able to confidently scale their remarketing campaigns.

“With the help of AppsFlyer’s Incrementality solution, we were able to uncover critical insights and scale our remarketing efforts with confidence.”

Incrementality is a game-changer in how companies measure the effectiveness of their remarketing spend. With the increasing focus at business’ end goals and user privacy, applying incremental measurement holds immediate and long term value for marketers.

In a changing mobile landscape, marketers’ need for metrics that can give deeper campaign insights will only grow, and this is exactly where incrementality comes in the picture.

Smarter marketing decisions start with better data