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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all,

About a week ago I tried a incentivised CPI campaign in order to try to better rank my game in Google Play. Was a bit concerned about the service - possibly being dodgy, but it turns out I ranked number 24 in Puzzle New Games in the UK and number 26 in Australia.

I have some screenshots from AppAnnie and SensorTower if you guys are interested in seeing it.

Do you guys use it?

I am planning on creating a bigger campaign to try to rank no1 and see if this results in organic downloads following the campaign.

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XdebugX

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Reply with quote  #2 
I've used them before and they do work for boosting your ranking, especially for a new app. Usually my apps rankings have plummeted back down after I stop buying installs though. I've use AyeT Studios https://www.ayetstudios.com/ and CPIMobi https://cpimobi.com/ I've also heard good things about Tapjoy for incentivized installs, but haven't used them myself. Can you tell us which services you've used. Would like to hear what price, geo-targetting options and number of installs you were able to get?
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Martin

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Reply with quote  #3 
hey GeoWhere. Thats cool, good to see that you increased the rank through CPI. We did some for our slots game recently but I didn't see any increase for game. But getting downloads for a Slots game is super hard. I might start the campaign again and tweak the settings. We're using chartboost CPC (Cost per click) and paying about $0.04 - $0.06 per click. We was only spending about $8 per day and targeting US iOS app store.

Yeah please post the screenshots of your rank, it'll be interesting to see.

Happy Developing [smile]
Martin
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XdebugX

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoWhere
Hi all,

About a week ago I tried a incentivised CPI campaign in order to try to better rank my game in Google Play. Was a bit concerned about the service - possibly being dodgy, but it turns out I ranked number 24 in Puzzle New Games in the UK and number 26 in Australia.

I have some screenshots from AppAnnie and SensorTower if you guys are interested in seeing it.

Do you guys use it?

I am planning on creating a bigger campaign to try to rank no1 and see if this results in organic downloads following the campaign.



I'd like to see your screenshot from you incentivized campaigns and who you used. I can post some stats too. I'm doing a small campaign now for a new game I've made, I can post those when it's done. Would like to see the results of your bigger campaign when you do that too.

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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hey Martin and xDebugX

Sorry to the delay on this.

Ok, so here's what I've done:

I used App2Top for the CPI campaigns. Quite happy with these guys. More then with Ayet Studios because the users from Ayet that install your game leave some effed up reviews in your game. Really bad!!

I bought about 300 downloads from Australia and 600 downloads from UK.
That's very little, in my opinion. I think for the UK you would want to buy 2k downloads and for the US you would want to buy at least 3k.

Also, get the downloads installed as quick as possible. Don't do them in installments. You want a crazy boost of downloads, thats when you rank up.

Here's some screenshots. Apologize for the resolution.
This is for my game Cannonball Candies: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=mobi.funkapps.google.cannonballcandies

ahhsdhasd.jpg 
Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 3.48.16 PM.jpg 

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 3.48.33 PM.jpg 

So far I have only seen one day of real organic downloads. Because my rank has dropped to about 200 now, visibility is way lower. I'd have to consider making another campaign, but I won't do it for now. Will wait another month at least to see what happens.

Let me know what you guys think!

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Martin

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hey Geowhere.

Cool, thanks for the details. Its interesting to see the rank boost you got.

So AppToTop is a review exchange network? Or just paid install network?
Have you tried this on iOS? Our games generally have a better ARPU on iOS so we would look to CPI mainly on iOS.

Chat soon [smile]
MArtin

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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hey Martin,

It's a paid service. 0.10 of dollars per one install. They also have high rentention installs, where they guarantee every user that installs your app will keep it installed for 3 days. Obviously more expensive.

They also sell ratings and review, but that one I won't comment on as it is a grey area with Google.

App2top does only Android, I believe. I'll double check. I'm sure there should be a service of that kind for iOS as well.

I'll. Keep you guys updated on my numbers.
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XdebugX

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thanks GeoWhere, I have to agree with you on the reviews the AyeT users leave. They usually spam their referral code too, and always mention the Cash Pirate app. I think that's the app AyeT uses to do the installs. What these companies do, is put out an app that says it will pay the users for downloading apps. Then when you create a campaign your app shows up in their app for downloads and the pay their users like $0.03 per app they install and then they pocket the rest. Another big problem is the large amount of uninstalls you get quickly after with some of these companies. This can start a death spiral for your game's rankings sometimes. I almost think sometimes it's better to not promote this way because the uninstalls kind of kill your app after the initial boost is over. If AppToTop can give good retention that might be a big help.

I'm currently running a few campaigns for my latest app, Trouble with Tribbles: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.xdebugxgames.trouble.with.tribbles.android

I bought 1,000 world wide installs from AyeT and 1,000 world wide installs from CpiMobi, those were delivered within a day or two. Then I bought another 1,000 installs in the UK only and these will take a couple weeks to be delivered at about 100 installs per day. I'm hoping to rank high enough in the "Top New Free Apps" for UK to get some organic downloads. It's hard to get high enough to get any organics these days. Here's screenshots of my stats:

twtDailyInstalls.jpg 

twtRanking.jpg 

I haven't ranked at all in the "Top free apps" so my rankings don't show up on App Annie yet. But I am ranked in the "Top New Free Apps" for a few countries and Appbrain.com will show these rankings for you (screenshot).

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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by XdebugX
Thanks GeoWhere, I have to agree with you on the reviews the AyeT users leave. They usually spam their referral code too, and always mention the Cash Pirate app. I think that's the app AyeT uses to do the installs. What these companies do, is put out an app that says it will pay the users for downloading apps. Then when you create a campaign your app shows up in their app for downloads and the pay their users like $0.03 per app they install and then they pocket the rest. Another big problem is the large amount of uninstalls you get quickly after with some of these companies. This can start a death spiral for your game's rankings sometimes. I almost think sometimes it's better to not promote this way because the uninstalls kind of kill your app after the initial boost is over. If AppToTop can give good retention that might be a big help.

I'm currently running a few campaigns for my latest app, Trouble with Tribbles: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.xdebugxgames.trouble.with.tribbles.android

I bought 1,000 world wide installs from AyeT and 1,000 world wide installs from CpiMobi, those were delivered within a day or two. Then I bought another 1,000 installs in the UK only and these will take a couple weeks to be delivered at about 100 installs per day. I'm hoping to rank high enough in the "Top New Free Apps" for UK to get some organic downloads. It's hard to get high enough to get any organics these days. Here's screenshots of my stats:



  

I haven't ranked at all in the "Top free apps" so my rankings don't show up on App Annie yet. But I am ranked in the "Top New Free Apps" for a few countries and Appbrain.com will show these rankings for you (screenshot).


Hey man,

Thanks for sharing your results! Yeah, I have CashPirate here installed. It's in Google Play for everyone to download.
I don't plan to use their services anymore because of this crap review that some users leave.
This did not happen to me in App2Top. If you buy installs, you get installs. If you buy ratings, you get ratings. That's it.

In order to guarantee that the users won't delete your app straight after install, you would want to do the High Retention campaign. But that's way more expensive than the simple campaign. Way more, unfortunately.

Also, in my little experience, I think you must get the campaign to install as quick as possible, and not through out many days.

I tried both, and I only got properly ranked (ie, TOP 50) when I got the campaign to install everything on the same day.

My campaign for my Goth Garden game did not rank me at all!

I will be running a 5k downloads campaign next week. Let's see how that goes!
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XdebugX

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoWhere
Quote:
Originally Posted by XdebugX
Thanks GeoWhere, I have to agree with you on the reviews the AyeT users leave. They usually spam their referral code too, and always mention the Cash Pirate app. I think that's the app AyeT uses to do the installs. What these companies do, is put out an app that says it will pay the users for downloading apps. Then when you create a campaign your app shows up in their app for downloads and the pay their users like $0.03 per app they install and then they pocket the rest. Another big problem is the large amount of uninstalls you get quickly after with some of these companies. This can start a death spiral for your game's rankings sometimes. I almost think sometimes it's better to not promote this way because the uninstalls kind of kill your app after the initial boost is over. If AppToTop can give good retention that might be a big help.

I'm currently running a few campaigns for my latest app, Trouble with Tribbles: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.xdebugxgames.trouble.with.tribbles.android

I bought 1,000 world wide installs from AyeT and 1,000 world wide installs from CpiMobi, those were delivered within a day or two. Then I bought another 1,000 installs in the UK only and these will take a couple weeks to be delivered at about 100 installs per day. I'm hoping to rank high enough in the "Top New Free Apps" for UK to get some organic downloads. It's hard to get high enough to get any organics these days. Here's screenshots of my stats:



  

I haven't ranked at all in the "Top free apps" so my rankings don't show up on App Annie yet. But I am ranked in the "Top New Free Apps" for a few countries and Appbrain.com will show these rankings for you (screenshot).


Hey man,

Thanks for sharing your results! Yeah, I have CashPirate here installed. It's in Google Play for everyone to download.
I don't plan to use their services anymore because of this crap review that some users leave.
This did not happen to me in App2Top. If you buy installs, you get installs. If you buy ratings, you get ratings. That's it.

In order to guarantee that the users won't delete your app straight after install, you would want to do the High Retention campaign. But that's way more expensive than the simple campaign. Way more, unfortunately.

Also, in my little experience, I think you must get the campaign to install as quick as possible, and not through out many days.

I tried both, and I only got properly ranked (ie, TOP 50) when I got the campaign to install everything on the same day.

My campaign for my Goth Garden game did not rank me at all!

I will be running a 5k downloads campaign next week. Let's see how that goes!


Thanks, I'll have to check out AppToTop. The companies I was using couldn't give more than about 100 installs per day in a single country like UK. The could do about 300 in the US but that was top for a single country. Can AppToTop give a large amount of installs per day for a single country campaign?
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javaexp

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Reply with quote  #11 
App2top is bot installs and not real users. You can ask the app2top to give you device id or some stats to prove real users and they were caught red handed. He agreed that they use bots that's why able to deliver you 10K new installs every day.
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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #12 
Yep. They are both. I much prefer bots then stupid users writing stupid reviews.
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bestgamesstudios

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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoWhere
Yep. They are both. I much prefer bots then stupid users writing stupid reviews.


Well, regarding the "stupid reviews" thing, I plan to test out something other apps have been doing, where they first present the user with the prompt:

"how would you rate this app?"
[ 1-4 stars] [ 5 stars]

[1-4 stars] ----> please tell us how to improve this app to make it 5 stars (email)
[5 stars] ---> google play rate this app page

technically, this is not against the rules, since you aren't telling the person "hey, pliz rate 5 stars thx!!!" (that IS against the rules)

Also, what I am already doing is I present the ask for review dialog only after the app has been installed for some hours/ has been launched a few times - this reduces the bad reviews from users who download the app, don't like it, rate poorly and uninstall


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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bestgamesstudios

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoWhere
Yep. They are both. I much prefer bots then stupid users writing stupid reviews.


Well, regarding the "stupid reviews" thing, I plan to test out something other apps have been doing, where they first present the user with the prompt:

"how would you rate this app?"
[ 1-4 stars] [ 5 stars]

[1-4 stars] ----> please tell us how to improve this app to make it 5 stars (email)
[5 stars] ---> google play rate this app page

technically, this is not against the rules, since you aren't telling the person "hey, pliz rate 5 stars thx!!!" (that IS against the rules)

Also, what I am already doing is I present the ask for review dialog only after the app has been installed for some hours/ has been launched a few times - this reduces the bad reviews from users who download the app, don't like it, rate poorly and uninstall



yeah, that is common practice. I think it's cool.
Are you going to be using any framework for this or will develop it yourself?
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XdebugX

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Reply with quote  #15 
Looks like the uninstalls have killed my new game this time. Goes to show that you probably shouldn't do this unless you have enough budget to rank it high and keep it there for a while to get organic downloads. I stopped buying installs and it fell completely out of all ranking within a day or two.

twtDrop.jpg 

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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by XdebugX
Looks like the uninstalls have killed my new game this time. Goes to show that you probably shouldn't do this unless you have enough budget to rank it high and keep it there for a while to get organic downloads. I stopped buying installs and it fell completely out of all ranking within a day or two.

twtDrop.jpg 


Yeah, same here. Thanks for sharing this. I got out of rankings about 3 days ago.
I had one day of really good organic downloads. But that was it.
My campaign cost me only USD100, so I need a bigger budget.

I am planning on making a USD600 campaign starting this week. I am keen to see the results of that one.
Obviously I will post the results here.

The market is too damn competitive these days! The sad thing is that I have a Wallpaper app, I made it in about 5 hours of work. Never updated it again. Most often I get more downloads on that one than on games that I spent 2-3 weeks building... Very upsetting, but also proving that we must focus on niche markets where people are looking for stuff on it.
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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #17 
This is the result of a 160 USD campaign (2k worldwide downloads) with Chartrule & Ayet. Because it was a worldwide campaign, I didnt rank well in any country, so I don't recommend it.
Capture.PNG 

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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #18 
I've been seeing some organic downloads in my last campaign (the one I targeted Worldwide) and didnt rank very much... This is quite interesting.
This coming weekend I am going to create the USD 500 campaign in USA and UK... let's see how this is going to go!

By the way, if you want to register in App2Top and give it ago, please use my referral link and help a brotha out [smile]

app2top.org
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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #19 
I am back guys, with some more stats.
I made a new campaign which consisted of:

4.6k downloads of USA
1k downloads of worldwide
1k dowloads of UK

That cost me 520 USD... it's the biggest investment I have ever done in my business, which is very steep for an indie developer like myself and I am a bit overwhelmed. But, with this saturated market, I don't see other ways to get the app ranking...

Anyway, here are the stats currently:

appanie_09_02_16.PNG  sensortower09_02_16.PNG 

sensortower09_02_16_country_summary.PNG
 

I haven't seen organic downloads yet, or increase or revenue... I will keep monitoring and let you guys. If you guys are curious about App2Top register in the link provided.

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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #20 
142 organic downloads yesterday. It's good, but I was hoping for more.
I am thinking that I should've targeted less competitive markets with high CPC: Finland, France, Sweden, maybe Germany, Netherlands... 
oh well, my budget is gone for the next two months ! [smile]
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Hello World v.2

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Reply with quote  #21 
142 organic downloads a day aren´t that bad [smile]

How mutch was it before ?
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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hello World v.2
142 organic downloads a day aren´t that bad [smile]

How mutch was it before ?


About thirty per day.
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mzr

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Reply with quote  #23 
Great info, thanks!
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Grumpy

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Reply with quote  #24 
Really good thread, lots of great info. I guess with your latest campaign it's whether you sustain that 100+ downloads or whether it drops down. How much money do you make per user, do you mind me asking? It could be quite a good deal if you make, say, $0.1 per user - then you only need to sustain this level of downloads for 50 days to recover your cost.

I'm always sceptical about buying downloads like this, I've heard that the app store punishes you heavily when they start uninstalling. That said, the price for attracting real genuine users is so expensive, especially if you're making niche games. I quite like sites like appbrain where it seems the users are genuine but it's not too expensive to get some users to initially boost your game. I have found though that my most recent game got okay (200+ on Google Play, 500 dropping to about 200 on Apple) to start with, I'm hoping this is because I've started to specialise and wasn't just a fluke, but we will see.
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GeoWhere

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Reply with quote  #25 
Hey guys!
It's been a long while - I disappeared for a bit.

Answering to Grumpy question above, I am not entirely sure, to be honest, but I believe I make something like 0.05 per user... give or take. Far from ideal, and still struggling. Regarding uninstalls, they did not happen on the following day. It gook a good two weeks for the uninstalls to come and even so they didnt come in one thousand uninstalls. I saw 50, 100, one day I had 200 uninstalls. But mostly around 50-100. Now I have been seen uninstalls from just organic downloads.

I decided to post a following blog post on my web page about the results of my campaign. Have a look if you're keen!!

http://www.funkapps.mobi/index.php/2016/05/09/incentivized-installs-a-follow-up/

To cut story short: I did see an increase of 200-300% of organic downloads after the campaign and a fair increase in revenue. Nothing to go crazy about but it did work. I am still seeing organic downloads, but less now. I will leave that info to you guys to decided whether you want to proceed with such investment or not.
Cheers!
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sezbladex

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Reply with quote  #26 
I get 500 install US and 150 review i will write experience
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sezbladex

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Reply with quote  #27 
I spent 80 dollar 500 download United kingdom and 150 5stars review Adsız.jpg 

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stargamesryk

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Reply with quote  #28 
hi guys thanks for great info plz share your experience with "app2top", as i am also looking to launch CPI based promotion
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flekoun

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Reply with quote  #29 
Guy, what I can recommend is to spend more time and focus on making great game than spending $$ on bots. I have yet to see any interesting game from you, guys. Sorry to be so harsh but lets face reality. It has to be GREAT game in a first place! This is the most important! We spent 0$ in marketing, yet we are earning 400k$/day, just in 2 ppl, we started make mobile games 18 months ago....trust me, keep your focus on making a great game and not spending money on some stupid scams that will send bots to boost downloads, this does not work! We have very little organic download in our games  (cca 1500/day), yet we make 400$/day, yes this is ARPU of 0,26$ which is nothing great, but miles ahead from others who flood Google play with crap apps. Aim for quality not quantity! Thats the key! You will also enjoy developing apps so much more!
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Grumpy

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Reply with quote  #30 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flekoun
Guy, what I can recommend is to spend more time and focus on making great game than spending $$ on bots. I have yet to see any interesting game from you, guys. Sorry to be so harsh but lets face reality. It has to be GREAT game in a first place! This is the most important! We spent 0$ in marketing, yet we are earning 400k$/day, just in 2 ppl, we started make mobile games 18 months ago....trust me, keep your focus on making a great game and not spending money on some stupid scams that will send bots to boost downloads, this does not work! We have very little organic download in our games  (cca 1500/day), yet we make 400$/day, yes this is ARPU of 0,26$ which is nothing great, but miles ahead from others who flood Google play with crap apps. Aim for quality not quantity! Thats the key! You will also enjoy developing apps so much more!


I agree with your general point, totally... But even though my main games have an ARPU of $0.30-0.50, I only get a couple of hundred downloads daily, so I'm normally making less than $100 a day.

I don't think saying only focusing on marketing/ASO or only focusing on the games is the right answer.
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flekoun

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Reply with quote  #31 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumpy


I agree with your general point, totally... But even though my main games have an ARPU of $0.30-0.50, I only get a couple of hundred downloads daily, so I'm normally making less than $100 a day.

I don't think saying only focusing on marketing/ASO or only focusing on the games is the right answer.


Yes, my main point was not agains ASO but maily agains wasting money on getting fake downloads on medicore game. This leads nowhere. I would rather have ARPU 0.5$ game like with little downloads like you have than high fake downloads on crappy game
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XdebugX

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Reply with quote  #32 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flekoun
Guy, what I can recommend is to spend more time and focus on making great game than spending $$ on bots. I have yet to see any interesting game from you, guys. Sorry to be so harsh but lets face reality. It has to be GREAT game in a first place! This is the most important! We spent 0$ in marketing, yet we are earning 400k$/day, just in 2 ppl, we started make mobile games 18 months ago....trust me, keep your focus on making a great game and not spending money on some stupid scams that will send bots to boost downloads, this does not work! We have very little organic download in our games  (cca 1500/day), yet we make 400$/day, yes this is ARPU of 0,26$ which is nothing great, but miles ahead from others who flood Google play with crap apps. Aim for quality not quantity! Thats the key! You will also enjoy developing apps so much more!


If your games are so good, would you mind showing them? And I agree with you that you should make the best games you can, but even a good game by itself doesn't get any downloads anymore. There's too much competition, without the right marketing even the best games will not get any exposure and any downloads. You HAVE to market somehow in today's app stores, no matter how good your game is.
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Reply with quote  #33 
I agree with XdebugX... Even with good game you still need good marketing skills and maybe even few friends with a lot of friends on their social media pages to spread your game.
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flekoun

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Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
Originally Posted by XdebugX


If your games are so good, would you mind showing them? And I agree with you that you should make the best games you can, but even a good game by itself doesn't get any downloads anymore. There's too much competition, without the right marketing even the best games will not get any exposure and any downloads. You HAVE to market somehow in today's app stores, no matter how good your game is.


Here is one of our latest games Loot Hunters (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.runningpillow.CM). It was done by me alone in approx. 6 months. It is a RPG with server backend and realtime coop multiplayer. All the graphics was done by me also. This game has around 0.5$ ARPU on Google Play. You can clearly see it is miles ahead of any of your games. I am not saying this to brag about myself or to make you feel bad. I just have to say this to make sure you understand why I am saying that the product is a king. You have to gain experience, you have to make great game and fast. It is a must. Many developers seem to be just not good enough, or does not try hard enough and hope they will make money with their "no so good" games. It is not possible. Simply not. You must work on your skills first and then you can start thinking about making business in this area. This is probably something that many developers do not want to hear but it is the truth. At least for me.
We never do marketing, we just post our new games on our Facebook and Twitter. We also do cross-promo between our own games. We have yet to spend single $ on marketing, yet we are making over 400$/day.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Running-Pillow/152419281439318




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XdebugX

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Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flekoun


Here is one of our latest games Loot Hunters (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.runningpillow.CM). It was done by me alone in approx. 6 months. It is a RPG with server backend and realtime coop multiplayer. All the graphics was done by me also. This game has around 0.5$ ARPU on Google Play. You can clearly see it is miles ahead of any of your games. I am not saying this to brag about myself or to make you feel bad. I just have to say this to make sure you understand why I am saying that the product is a king. You have to gain experience, you have to make great game and fast. It is a must. Many developers seem to be just not good enough, or does not try hard enough and hope they will make money with their "no so good" games. It is not possible. Simply not. You must work on your skills first and then you can start thinking about making business in this area. This is probably something that many developers do not want to hear but it is the truth. At least for me.
We never do marketing, we just post our new games on our Facebook and Twitter. We also do cross-promo between our own games. We have yet to spend single $ on marketing, yet we are making over 400$/day.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Running-Pillow/152419281439318






I don't know why your comparing yourself to me. I mostly did my games as a hobby while working 40-80hrs a week at a non gaming job. You said you have to make a game fast? Why then does your games show that you started back in 2015 and some of your games have less than 10k downloads. Sure you have a great ARPU on your RPG games, but that's pretty normal for RPG's if done right. How many downloads does your latest game have and how long has it been on the app stores? I still say you can't just spend your first 6-month to 1+yr on a single game to start your game development career. It's just mostly likely not going to be profitable even if the game is made really well. It takes more than a good game, you need to learn all aspects, marketing, ASO and build a brand. Of course people do get lucky sometimes and get organic downloads fairly easily but then that's like 1 in 1000 chance. One of my apps proves my point. It's got over 1million downloads and is not a very good app. One I only spent a few weeks initial creating. But it got over 1k downloads per day for more than 3 years. It still does decent downloads. Is it because the app is so great? No, it just happened to fill a niche and stayed in the ranks since then.
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flekoun

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Reply with quote  #36 
Fast is relative term. For us the 6 month / game / 1 person if very fast if you want your game to be polished. Our latest game was released in December 2016 and has 45k downloads. 
Also notice I am not replying on "how to start your mobile business". I am replying on the wrong assumption that buying CPI campaigns on crappy app leads somewhere. If you want to change subject and discuss on how to start developing mobile games, then yes, it is best to start making games as fast as possible (and finishing them) because you have to learn as fast as possible. We were once in the same situation as you, working on our games as hobby while still having a full-time job. Thats the first stage. We spend 1.5 year making one game in 2 people while having a fulltime job....well not the best start. However it was back at 2008 so the mobile games barely existed and we were working on PC game. But this is different story.
However you will get the point when you no longer want to make games as a hobby and you want to be full-time game creator. Then you have to start making high quality games in short time period. For this to happen you have to have experience and dedication..... and do not waste time and $$$ on marketing you crappy "hobby" games, just take them as a stepping stone to the better ones you will create in future. 

Also as you already mentioned. The amount of downloads is lottery. You can get many downloads by doing nothing and other times you cannot get any no matter what. So thats why it is more important to watch the ARPU then downloads. ARPU and retention are much better indication how "good" you game actually is. Also if you have hight ARPU you can then start launching CPI campaigns for $$$ more easily. 
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XdebugX

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Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flekoun
Fast is relative term. For us the 6 month / game / 1 person if very fast if you want your game to be polished. Our latest game was released in December 2016 and has 45k downloads. 
Also notice I am not replying on "how to start your mobile business". I am replying on the wrong assumption that buying CPI campaigns on crappy app leads somewhere. If you want to change subject and discuss on how to start developing mobile games, then yes, it is best to start making games as fast as possible (and finishing them) because you have to learn as fast as possible. We were once in the same situation as you, working on our games as hobby while still having a full-time job. Thats the first stage. We spend 1.5 year making one game in 2 people while having a fulltime job....well not the best start. However it was back at 2008 so the mobile games barely existed and we were working on PC game. But this is different story.
However you will get the point when you no longer want to make games as a hobby and you want to be full-time game creator. Then you have to start making high quality games in short time period. For this to happen you have to have experience and dedication..... and do not waste time and $$$ on marketing you crappy "hobby" games, just take them as a stepping stone to the better ones you will create in future. 

Also as you already mentioned. The amount of downloads is lottery. You can get many downloads by doing nothing and other times you cannot get any no matter what. So thats why it is more important to watch the ARPU then downloads. ARPU and retention are much better indication how "good" you game actually is. Also if you have hight ARPU you can then start launching CPI campaigns for $$$ more easily. 


I think I admited in this thread that the game I spent $ on to promote was not worth promoting. I learned something at least though. You can't just throw money at any game and expect it to do well. The same is true for spending months on a game and putting it on the market and expect downloads. You could have done that back in 2008 but not now.
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Grumpy

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Reply with quote  #38 
I think the point that flekoun is making is worthwhile and it tallies with my own experience. Once you've gone through the initial learning game dev stage, you just need to focus on the quality and ARPU of your game whilst keeping them within a reasonable scope. I actually find 3 months to be a reasonable time frame for one person, but I do update games a lot after launch, so it may be more in the realms of 4-5 months once you count update time. That said I don't make the graphics for my games, so maybe that's the difference.

My games make between $0.2-0.6 ARPU at the moment, but this is something I'm working on to improve. Ideally I want to be closer to $1 a download. Increasing the quality of your game is the only thing you have control over so it has to be your focus. If you build similar games you can cross-promote and this should guarantee you 30-100 downloads a day per platform (at least this is what I've found), so even with this low level of downloads you get revenue.

Say you get an ARPU of $0.2 and only $30 downloads per day per platform (iOS and GP) that's $4.3k a year, if you get you $0.5 at 100 downloads per day per platform that's $36.5k a year. Now imagine if you get 1000 downloads a day on average for a year per platform that's $364,500 a year. Conversely 1,000 downloads a day at $0.005 is $365 a year.

If you don't have good ARPU even if you have good downloads you won't make anything. Factor in the fact that downloads can be improved by better retention and ARPU (higher chance of featuring, some people believe it factors into ranking) then retention and ARPU has to be the biggest focus of anyone trying to make a living out of their games.

It's simply a waste of time to put your energies elsewhere and a massive waste of money to throw it at advertising. I used to do a bit of advertising to kick start games, maybe it worked, maybe it didn't, but I know ARPU is the thing to focus on.

Now obviously this isn't going to work for everyone, luck definitely plays its part and so does your choice of games and a number of other factors. If you're making a game once every 6 months and you've chosen the wrong genre or for whatever reason people don't stick to your game and you get a low ARPU then this is going to be devastating, do this 2 or 3 more times and get similar experiences then a lot of us would be out of the patience/time/money to try again.

But think of it like Poker, you can go all in with a pair of aces against someone with a 5/8 and they hit a straight and win, did you do the wrong thing, no. Did you lose, yes. Statistically going all in with the pair of aces is the right thing, even if it didn't work out for you.

One final point, sorry I'm waffling, is that a focus on ARPU doesn't necessarily mean being really aggressive with ads or In-App purchases, retention is the key to spending, the longer a player spends in an App the more ARPU they produce.

EDIT: Just read further up the thread and saw that I posted before, my opinion has changed slightly since that post because this strategy has proved more and more profitable, and I've found myself focusing less and less on anything that isn't game development.

(BTW this post isn't directed at anyone in particular, just wanted to add my opinion to the topics on this thread)
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XdebugX

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Reply with quote  #39 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumpy
I think the point that flekoun is making is worthwhile and it tallies with my own experience. Once you've gone through the initial learning game dev stage, you just need to focus on the quality and ARPU of your game whilst keeping them within a reasonable scope. I actually find 3 months to be a reasonable time frame for one person, but I do update games a lot after launch, so it may be more in the realms of 4-5 months once you count update time. That said I don't make the graphics for my games, so maybe that's the difference.

My games make between $0.2-0.6 ARPU at the moment, but this is something I'm working on to improve. Ideally I want to be closer to $1 a download. Increasing the quality of your game is the only thing you have control over so it has to be your focus. If you build similar games you can cross-promote and this should guarantee you 30-100 downloads a day per platform (at least this is what I've found), so even with this low level of downloads you get revenue.

Say you get an ARPU of $0.2 and only $30 downloads per day per platform (iOS and GP) that's $4.3k a year, if you get you $0.5 at 100 downloads per day per platform that's $36.5k a year. Now imagine if you get 1000 downloads a day on average for a year per platform that's $364,500 a year. Conversely 1,000 downloads a day at $0.005 is $365 a year.

If you don't have good ARPU even if you have good downloads you won't make anything. Factor in the fact that downloads can be improved by better retention and ARPU (higher chance of featuring, some people believe it factors into ranking) then retention and ARPU has to be the biggest focus of anyone trying to make a living out of their games.

It's simply a waste of time to put your energies elsewhere and a massive waste of money to throw it at advertising. I used to do a bit of advertising to kick start games, maybe it worked, maybe it didn't, but I know ARPU is the thing to focus on.

Now obviously this isn't going to work for everyone, luck definitely plays its part and so does your choice of games and a number of other factors. If you're making a game once every 6 months and you've chosen the wrong genre or for whatever reason people don't stick to your game and you get a low ARPU then this is going to be devastating, do this 2 or 3 more times and get similar experiences then a lot of us would be out of the patience/time/money to try again.

But think of it like Poker, you can go all in with a pair of aces against someone with a 5/8 and they hit a straight and win, did you do the wrong thing, no. Did you lose, yes. Statistically going all in with the pair of aces is the right thing, even if it didn't work out for you.

One final point, sorry I'm waffling, is that a focus on ARPU doesn't necessarily mean being really aggressive with ads or In-App purchases, retention is the key to spending, the longer a player spends in an App the more ARPU they produce.

EDIT: Just read further up the thread and saw that I posted before, my opinion has changed slightly since that post because this strategy has proved more and more profitable, and I've found myself focusing less and less on anything that isn't game development.

(BTW this post isn't directed at anyone in particular, just wanted to add my opinion to the topics on this thread)


I agree as well, you could reskin a dozen crappy games a day now and not make money. It's better to focus on making your own, high quality games. Not that I ever reskinned, but there was a time when people were making decent money doing that too. I don't believe it necessarily has to be long 6 month project games either though. Some small, quick and fun games are what some people like to play on mobile. I would start with trying make high quality small games, to get established. Then if you like to make larger games, make high quality larger games.
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