Meet Crystal Guo. She is an Overseas Optimization Manager at Higgs Studio, a leading casual game developer known for publishing top titles including Tile Master, Tile Connect, and Romance Fate. Higgs Studio is a part of the larger gaming group Higgs Games. Crystal has over five years of experience working in mobile marketing and today specializes in user acquisition for puzzle games at Higgs Studio.
In this series of articles, UA managers will answer six questions to share their insights on UA and industry trends.
1. Higgs Studio is a major player in casual gaming. Can you tell us a little bit about the company and your portfolio of games?
Higgs Studio focuses on casual and puzzle games; today, we have published dozens of games. Our slogan is “Happy Game, Happy Life.” We hope our games can bring happiness to users. We are currently reaching over 200 million players worldwide. And I‘m mainly responsible for user growth. This means I work to help find the ideal users for our games globally.
2. Puzzle games were last year’s top-grossing gaming category in the United States. Why do you think that users are so attracted to this vertical? What kind of game mechanics has helped contribute to this success?
Games have become popular for entertainment – especially in the current global climate. Users are attracted to puzzle games – partly, because they’re simple and easy to play. Although they create a relaxing experience, puzzle games can also be challenging. This gives the users the best of both worlds. Another reason that puzzle games have risen to be so successful is that you can play them both offline by yourself as well as online with friends. This gives the user a low barrier to entry for playing, which makes them the best way to help players relax.
For game developers, the standard business model of puzzle games is hybrid monetization, which is combining in-app ads (IAAs) and in-app purchases (IAPs). The ideal puzzle gamer should have a high retention rate and LTV. By monetizing through IAAs and IAPs, puzzle games are appealing to all kinds of users.
3. In your experience, what does the ideal puzzle gamer look like? How does this affect your UA strategy at Higgs Studio?
In my experience, more than 60 percent of puzzle game users are female and usually over the age of 35. We use this information to design ad creatives to better appeal to this audience and more effectively acquire the right users.
4. Can you tell us a bit about how you evaluate performance for your top titles Tile Master or Tile Connect? What are the most important KPIs?
We evaluate the game based on a complete set of numerical models. These include retention rate, game duration, lifetime, ARPU, payer rate, etc. For UA, we set different KPIs depending on the UA channel. Some channels deliver higher retention rates; some bring in higher IAA revenue; and others deliver higher payer rates, which results in higher IAPs. Therefore, it’s important to look at the individual performance of each channel. However, the most important KPI for us is, of course, return on advertising spend (ROAS).
This KPI takes into consideration all of the revenues generated through IAPs and IAAs. Both of these revenue streams together give us the full picture of our marketing efforts, which then helps us make decisions on which UA channels to scale and how to make competitive bids to get the best users.
5. How does adjoe’s Playtime help you connect with your ideal user base?
Tile Master is a puzzle game based on IAAs. adjoe’s Playtime motivates users to play the game for a long time. This is why adjoe’s users tend to have higher retention rates and meet the required ROAS standards. Our advice for UA managers: The best practice is to bid based on your own game LTV and then adjust the bid based on your own ROAS to optimize advertising. By sharing post-install events with adjoe, we can get granular when identifying the types of users, from which campaigns are driving the highest ROAS.
6. For UA managers looking to expand their efforts, what are some cool new GEOs to look out for?
In the future, not only T1 but also T3 regions are worth paying attention to – for example, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, etc. There is a world of gamers out there, and expanding your strategy to include them can really pay off.