Digital Marketing Manager
Axeso5 | Xplay
Axeso5 is a publishers of cross-platform games (mobile / PC / web) with hit titles such as Zeus Age, Fluffy, Yogurting Pop, Elsword, and Op7. For those of us not already familiar with your games, can you share more on Axeso5, some player numbers, and the countries your games are available in?
We currently have more than 13 million people in our gaming community. We have Games in Portuguese for the Brazilian market, in which we have operations too. We Also have a mobile division called Xplay that has operations in Latam and Brazil.
Xplay is the first mobile gaming platform distributor in Latin America. Xplay is a new venture of Axeso5. With less than a year in the market in we already have 8 games in the marketplace and 4 more releases scheduled in the next few months.
It was estimated by eMarketer that Latin American would have over 400M mobile phone subscribers (156M smartphone) by the end of 2015, which is even more than the US. How big do you think the mobile gaming, and mobile advertising (for both buying, and monetizing) is in LATAM?
For example buy users in Brazil are great, they are avid consumer of mobile games and they tend to be loyal customers. On the other hand, Latin America is a very difficult segment to monetize, for example, in-app purchases is not the best way to monetize this audience, cause Google wallet is not working properly in this region. Secondly, people are not willing to pay for in-game items, at least in the Android segment.
At this moment we have integrated the Admob solution for monetizing, but we recently discovered that another monetizing solutions, like supersonic and woobi, are performing better, so we will try different monetizing solutions this year to see what is more convenient for us in the long run.
Due to your games being in Spanish and Portuguese, does this limit which networks you are able to work with? Are you only able to work with networks where their publisher partners run Spanish or Portuguese-language apps?
Not at all, in fact we work with several adnetworks that run in other languages such as Ad4games that runs from Berlin or Seccosquared which is based in London, so there are no limitations on that regard.
When it comes to creative ad units, is this something you create in-house? What is a good benchmark for the number of creatives a User Acquisition Manager should be testing with each network?
We create them in-house. We usually send 2 creatives of the same game or promotion, to see which one performs better, but we try to re-assign them every month unless they have a great performance, great meaning over 50% active gamers ratio.
What is your definition of mobile programmatic buying? What are your thoughts on it – will RFPs or Insertion Orders to networks be replaced by self-service platforms?
Well programmatic buying is something that Google is starting to push this year here in Latam so, I don´t see programmatic replacing the networks in the next couple of years at least in this region. But certainly, it is something that caught our attention and we are willing to try it this year, while maintaining the relationship with our networks at the same time.
How do you approach view-through attribution when you work with networks? (eg. 7 day view window, 7 day click window, 30 day view window etc)
We developed a tool on which we can see the quality of the user (it is the only thing that matters to us).
For us, good traffic is when you have around 100 people coming from X network and 50 of them are still playing the next day after confirming their accounts, allowing for a 50% active gamer ratio. Our minimum acceptable ratio is 30%.
Since your games cover most of LATAM, does your user acquisition strategy differ greatly for each country? How does this affect the networks you work with, your CPI bids, your budget? (is this mostly dependent on LTVs of users in those countries?)
Yes, it totally depends on LTVs of users. We know where the most engaged people are, so our bid is 10% higher in those countries. However, in some cases like Venezuela where people are very engaged but monetizing is not possible ( because of the political and economical situation there ) we pay 50% less.
In our type of business Social Media performs very well. We have a very enthusiastic community willing to interact with all the content we post on a daily basis. We have a large team of community managers working across the different channels.
We do emphasize SEO optimization as it reduces the cost of pay traffic. Organic traffic is of course of a very high value and equally engaged. In the mobile world we are currently obsessed with ASO optimization.
For your mobile games, do you only target smartphone users, or feature phone users as well? How does the smartphone penetration, or iOS / Android breakout usage of a country affect the way you approach user acquisition?
Well in Latam and Brazil, Google Android users are by far the biggest audience, but studies show they are the least willing to pay for a game or to make in-app purchases.
IOS community is a minority compared to Android. But it is an audience more willing to pay for something in an app or in the store.
We are currently working with games in Android platform, but we´ll be working with IOS before the end of the year, that will show us if those studies were right.
That being said, our approach in user acquisition is very conservative, as in Latam we can still find users for cents of a dollar, which is a big opportunity. Nevertheless, we have to be careful because some games are harder than others to monetize, and that´s a factor that determines how much we are willing to spend in a specific game.
What are your thoughts on playable ad units? Do these networks typically have enough scale in countries outside of the US or Europe?
I´m not a big fan of playable ad units, we have mixed thoughts on that regard, but we are about to try the google rewards video solution (it is at its first steps in latam) and also a supersonic offer Wall that performs very well in our site and in the user acquisition front as well.
They are very dominant, they have offices and account managers all over Latam, so they are very pushy.
Google has total control over this market, at least in the acquisition front, with solutions like the Admob network, adwords Cau campaigns and Youtube install campaigns.
Second but not that far comes Facebook, which is a very important platform for us since most of our audience is there. It is a very effective way to get low cost / high value users thru Facebook app ads.
Twitter has a low cost user acquisition but does not have a large scale like Facebook or Admob.
Lastly, what is your take on the future of user acquisition for games?
I think programmatic will take a big chunk of this business, but also Facebook, Adwords and Twitter have a very solid position in this market, so I don’t think they are going to disappear. Offer wall ads are another thing that is going to grow in the region.
We are lucky to be on this day and age, because we will have so many options and new technologies available for us to try. It´s a blast to do what we do and what we love for a living.
Leading publisher of online games (MMO’s) in Latin America. in both spanish and portuguese. All our games are Free-to-Play and we sell Virtual Items via microtransactions through our billing network across 20 countries. Seasoned team in the field of communities and virtual items of the region.