The Fiksu Blog

Up all night to get Lucky: Fiksu and AGS crack the challenging social casino app market

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You think marketing your app is hard? Try finding a profitable source of users for a social casino app. In contrast to real-money gambling apps, social casino apps let players try their luck at slots, video poker, bingo, and other games of chance – without wagering real money.

These are apps are extremely popular, claiming 7 of the top 25 grossing slots in the app store right now. They’re also big business, with a market estimated at $4.4B in 2017. The trick is that the revenue is extremely concentrated in a small number of players: the VIPs, a tiny percentage of the user base who bring in most of the revenue.

As a result, bringing in the right users at the right cost is essential to long-term success in the social casino business — and AGS, makers of Lucky Play Casino, have teamed up with Fiksu DSP to crack the code. Here are some of their keys to success.

Audience targeting

AGS is leveraging Fiksu Personas to focus their ads on the right types of users. That includes obvious choices like Casino and Slots personas — along with less intuitive personas that tested well, including Baby Boomer Females, Parents, and Video Bingers.

AGS’s results as they went after increasingly specific audiences are an ideal example of how audience targeting works. First, raw media costs (CPM) go up since we’re competing for more desirable ad impressions. At the same time, because the audience we’re targeting is a better match for this app, the impression to conversion rate goes up, and as a result, the CPIs drop. Take a look at actual results from the AGS campaign:

ags-results-chart

The rows in this chart are sequential: as we learned more about the performance of each audience, we were able to pick another audience to try that we knew was more expensive to reach, but we expected to convert better. That culminated in the creation of a custom Slots persona, based on exactly the characteristics that we’d seen among Lucky Play users, which yielded the best CPI despite the highest CPM.

Knowing when to refresh creative

Because the Lucky Play app contains multiple games and skins, we’ve been able to test a wide variety of creatives to see what works best. And creative refreshes have a noticeable impact on results as the results demonstrate:

ags-creative-chart

Algorithmic management of publisher mix

Early attempts at maximizing mobile ad performance often involved manually whitelisting and blacklisting specific publishers. Now? Forget it. There are far too many apps and their performance changes too quickly. Here’s a look at the impression volume by publisher for a recent month of AGS advertising.

ags-publisher-mix

The algorithms find new publishers that work and increase spend there, decrease spend on those that don’t, and generally manage ups and downs at a level of detail greater than any manual process could ever hope to match.

Another advantage of this type of spending is diversification. As opposed to a strategy that focuses heavily on a single media channel, spending across a range of sources minimizes the risks of sudden performance changes as well as potentially fraudulent publishers.

The takeaway

Using precise targeting, ongoing creative refreshes, and programmatic publisher optimization, AGS has been able to meet and exceed their goals for ROAS on day 3, 7, 14, and 30. The big spenders are out there – and AGS is finding them with Fiksu DSP.

This post is based on a presentation by Fiksu DSP’s Tom Cummings and AGS’s Bryan Bennett at the Gaming Insiders conference in Berkeley last week.