Interview, Mobile Games

User Acquisition Insights with Crystal Guo of Higgs Studio

Meet Crystal Guo she is an Overseas Optimization Manager at Higgs Studio, a leading casual game developer who is known for publishing top titles including Tile Master, Tile Connect, and Romance Fate. Higgs Studio is a part of the larger gaming group called Higgs Games. Crystal has over 5 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 6 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 is focusing 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 US, 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 and major pastime, especially in the current global climate. Users are attracted to puzzle games, partly because it’s simple and easy to play. Although it creates 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. Giving the user a low barrier to entry for playing, which makes them the best time killers to help players relax.

For game developers, the standard business model of puzzle games is hybrid monetization, which is combined In-App Ads (IAA) and In-App Purchases (IAP). The ideal puzzle gamer should have a high retention rate and LTV. By monetizing through IAA and IAP, 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 user acquisition strategy at Higgs Studio?

In my experience, more than 60% 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 in order to more effectively acquire the right users. 

4. Can you tell us a bit about how you evaluate performance for your top titles like Tile Master or Tile Connect? What are the most important KPIs?

We evaluate the game based on a complete set of numerical models. Such as retention rate, game duration, lifetime, ARPU, payer rate, etc. For UA, we set different KPIs depending on the UA channel. Some channels deliver higher RR, some have higher IAA revenue, others deliver higher payer rates, which results in higher IAP. Therefore, it’s important to look at the individual performance of each channel. However, the most important KPI for us is of course ROAS, return on advertising spend. 

This KPI takes into consideration all of the revenues generated through IAP and IAA. 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 IAA. adjoe’s Playtime can motivate users to play the game for a long time. This is why adjoe users tend to have higher retention rates and meet the required ROAS standards. Advice for UA managers: The best practice is to bid based on their own game LTV and then adjust the bid based on their 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 user acquisition managers looking to expand their UA efforts, what are some cool new geo’s to be on the watch 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 and expanding your strategy to be inclusive of them can really pay off.