A good partnership can make a good thing great. For Gram Games, a creator of mobile games, collaborating with a savvy marketing platform resulted in not one but two games that became worldwide hits.
Two secrets lay behind their success: data and a commitment to collaborating to use it in real time to monetise effectively and reach new users at scale.
When Gram Games first approached its future partner, AppLovin, it was struggling with a contradiction: The game it launched received rave reviews across app stores, but it didn’t generate significant revenue, nor did it scale globally. They simply didn’t have the analytics in place to measure user traits, create cohorts, engage them, and capitalise on patterns in user behaviour. AppLovin provides analytics so brands can scale their reach to new consumers on mobile, something Gram Games lacked.
So as Gram Games planned the launch of a new game, 1010!, they knew that a different strategy had to be deployed: one that zeroed in on a particular market, took into account the particulars of gameplay, how ads should be placed, and was scalable.
By working closely with AppLovin, and passing data back to them, Gram gained access to valuable knowledge that demonstrated what worked and what didn’t. By using AppLovin’s dashboard, they could see both the “big picture” and drill down into the minutiae on the custom list of KPIs. Gram Games could see exactly where the efficiencies were and adjust accordingly.
Within a few short weeks of launch in September 2014, 1010! was in the top ten in the games category across iOS and Android in 65 countries, and it had more than two million installs. Today 1010! has been downloaded over 65 million times. Ultimately, its success is rooted in Gram Games’ use of data to understand the games players: it knows what users like, what they don’t like, how they play and when they get stuck or leave. From there the gaming company could monetise successfully, to the extent that 99% of the game’s revenues come from display ads. Now Gram Games has its own in-house data collection and analytics platform, which is used in conjunction with analytics provided by AppLovin to determine the most strategic format and placement of ads.
Working together with AppLovin, Gram Games was able to take its bespoke data reporting tools to know the users on a granular level (all anonymised data). And by leveraging the behaviour and profiles of users, AppLovin was not only able to monetise them by showing ads, but also by finding the best users elsewhere and bringing them to the game.
It took sustained and in-depth collaboration between the two companies to achieve such dramatic results, but it was very worthwhile, solidifying Gram’s place as one of the top mobile game publishers in the world. In 2016, Gram Games joined forces with AppLovin again when it launched Merged!. Just eight months after launch, Merged! is approaching 10 million downloads.
Gram found that the faster it can find and adjust what is happening in its games, the more likely it is to deliver what its players are looking for to better monetise and increase revenues. While that level of agility and responsiveness of course depends on a top-notch platform with access to billions of data points, it also depends on having a sound partnership that is open to experimenting innovating and iterating on what works.