The tools and tech behind the Game Growth program
How Zenith Games partnered with Game Growth to optimize and scale their indie mobile game
In our previous blog post, we introduced the game operations experts who will help optimize and scale your game. In this article, we explore the technology, products, and services used in the Game Growth program. A major component of Game Growth is leveraging enterprise-level technology to give indie developers a competitive edge.
Zenith Games is an indie development studio based in Poland focused on building mobile puzzle games. In this post, we will explore how Zenith Games leveraged the tools and technology from the Game Growth program to optimize and accelerate Cartoon Crush, an addictive colour-match puzzle game.
Our comprehensive Game Growth package
As part of your application to the Game Growth program, you’ll download and integrate a software package inside the Unity Editor. This package includes products designed to help evaluate, test, and eventually accelerate your game.
The best part? All of these products are bundled together in one package that’s easy to integrate, install, and configure. Our team curates the technology in this package, letting you focus on development. Your package is generated during the application process and you can download it directly from the Unity Dashboard.
Starter package to begin the evaluation process
deltaDNA: A Unity tool designed to analyze key metrics in your game, this core analytics suite is initially used during the evaluation phase to benchmark your key game metrics. If you become a Game Growth partner, our team uses deltaDNA to track, engage, and optimize your entire player base – everything from audience segmentation to testing and running campaigns. This lets you leverage this premium tool to create a more personalized experience for players, giving them the right content and gameplay at the right time.
Cartoon Crush leveraged these analytics to effectively optimize their game with tactics such as A/B testing, segmentation, and even seasonal events like Black Friday discounts.
“Using deltaDNA’s A/B testing we were able to optimize the conversion rate of in-app purchases along with the in-game ads intervals and frequencies,” says Jakub Szołomicki, CEO and Founder of Zenith Games. “deltaDNA’s Segments allowed us to personalize the gameplay separately for paying and non-paying users which then paid off as a direct revenue increase.”
Adjust: The Adjust SDK gives you industry-leading mobile attribution, allowing you to fine-tune your users’ journey through your game. Adjust is a premium product helps you measure your game’s user acquisition campaign performance, track your audiences, and institute data security and anti-fraud measures. This ultimately helps you save money on user acquisition costs when scaling with larger ad networks. Zenith Games used Adjust extensively to audit their acquisition pipeline for Cartoon Crush to prevent fraudulent in-app purchases (IAP) events from taking place.
In conjunction with deltaDNA, Adjust helps inform the automation elements of our user acquisition system. We use campaign attribution and in-app user tracking from both tools to create highly targeted campaigns that scale based on your player’s behaviors.
Partner package to effectively optimize and scale
Unity Monetization SDK: Monetization frameworks and tracking use machine learning to maximize your ad revenue. This SDK allows our game experts to optimize advertisements in your mobile game, ensuring the highest revenue across multiple channels. Our team also leverages the Unity Monetization SDK to test and identify the best format, such as rewarded video, banners, interstitials, rich media, and playables.
“Initially, our only ad unit in the game was a rewarded video. We didn’t even want to listen about potential interstitial opportunities because, to our understanding, interstitial ads when implemented incorrectly can be really disruptive for players and cause retention drops,” says Jakub.
After integrating the Unity Monetization SDK into Cartoon Crush, Zenith Games quickly discovered that some of these assumptions do not hold.
According to Jakub, “We A/B tested it and, even with larger frequencies of interstitial ads, players seemed not to care about them, which of course resulted in more ad revenue.”
Unity IAP: Set up in-app purchases (IAP) across your game and multiple app stores. Our IAP technology allows you to seamlessly enable purchases across multiple stores with a single API.
For smaller indie studios like Zenith Games, having everything in one package can make all the difference. Unity’s IAP SDK is built into the Game Growth package so, for Jakub’s team, the integration went really smoothly. “We plugged in our existing in-app purchase entries and voilà!”
Advertising SDKs: As part of our scaling phase, we integrate industry-standard third-party services such as Facebook, Google, and more. These allow us to grow your game across Unity Ads and a wide range of channels to optimize metrics like lifetime value (LTV) and cost per install (CPI) and to maximize revenue. With easy access to third-party ad networks, Zenith Games was able to skip complex configurations and instead focus on game development for Cartoon Crush.
Tools and products to improve and scale your game
Outside of the core Game Growth package, our game ops experts use a variety of tools and products to optimize and grow your game. These tools can include the entire suite of relevant Unity products, as well as third-party services.
Your game, optimized
Our game ops experts use technology from across the Unity ecosystem as well as third-party tools to optimize your game in a number of key areas. We make scaling your game painless by helping with integration across all major third-party platforms.
Our teams use deltaDNA to gain insight into areas of your game that can be tweaked to improve player experience and reduce churn, such as core player loops, gameplay difficulty, and game economy.
By leveraging Unity Monetization and related products, our game experts help boost your in-game economy by understanding your metrics and working with you on adjustments. This can lead to larger overhauls of your in-game storefront, user interface, and how purchases are surfaced to your users.
“Our biggest challenge was to increase the LTV and the conversion rate on our IAP bundles,” says Jakub. “Unity’s artists prepared new in-game shop illustration mock-ups. With guidance from the monetization team on the best user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) practices in mobile games, these really boosted conversion.”
The results were almost immediate: with small tweaks to ad creative and user experience, Cartoon Crush was boosted IAP revenue by more than 160%.
Smarter user acquisition
Our goal is to build out one of the most sophisticated user acquisition systems in the market. We leverage enterprise-level mobile analytics and measurement tools (deltaDNA and Adjust) to train probabilistic models to more accurately predict user LTV and scale campaigns more efficiently. This data-driven approach combined with automation and continuous machine learning ensures our user acquisition campaigns are the best in the industry.
Specifically, we use this approach across Unity Ads, as well as networks like Facebook and Google, to help us determine campaign budgets, LTV (organic and paid), bids (CPI), and the number of installs.
“Before Game Growth, we were using Facebook campaigns to acquire users to the game. We’ve used 2–3 different video creatives with UA campaigns targeted at mostly EU users” Jakub realizes, “We couldn’t really afford running full US campaigns or trying different UA ad networks.”
As a Game Growth partner, Zenith Games was able to leverage the expertise of Unity’s user acquisition experts and user acquisition funding.
“Since we joined Game Growth, we can now focus on development and see users flowing into the game from the US and top EU countries,” says Jakub. “Because of the IAP and ad improvements recommended by the Game Growth team, our revenues just went up like crazy.”
Whether you’re a veteran indie developer or new on the scene, the Game Growth program gives you access to the technology to take your game to the next level. All you need to apply is a live free-to-play game on iOS or Android to get started – learn more about it here.