Whether it's Candy Crush Saga or Words with Friends, mobile game apps are hot. As the market becomes increasingly competitive, developers are seeking innovative ways to appeal to mobile game aficionados. Though banner advertisements and interstitial pop-up ads were once effective ways to advertise on mobile devices, these approaches "just don't cut it anymore," says Brandon Leong, advisor for Addiktive Games, the development team behind popular apps such as Bubble Shooter 3.0 and Cut the Rope.
Addiktive Games builds fun, colorful apps that appeal to nine- and 90-year-olds alike, and has had particular success with its bubble shooting games, where the objective is to combine like-colored bubbles and eliminate them before time runs out. The premise is simple, and the interest is there, but for every 100 people who clicked on an ad to learn more, only three downloaded the game. Enter Voxel, a mobile advertising platform that promises to boost downloads by relying on a tried and true method—the test drive.
The problem with traditional mobile game advertisements, Voxel CEO David Zhao explains, is that while they can be quite attention grabbing, they don't give consumers enough incentive to download the game. "Standard game app advertisements can be attractive, but they're just static images that don't give enough information on how the game actually works. If players are expected to interrupt their current activity to download a new game, they had better know exactly what it is they're downloading," Zhao says.
With Voxel's approach, game creators can develop a preview version of their app and deliver it through a fully interactive ad. "The advertisement is not a game demo or tutorial," Zhao clarifies. "It's entirely playable, and allows users to experience a snippet of the actual game." According to Zhao, the technology works by creating a video stream of the app, recording the user's actions, and then replaying them through the cloud in real time.
The premise with Voxel's platform is that consumers are much more likely to download a game app after they've had a chance to explore it. "With a great game, all it takes is one round and players get addicted," Zhao says. "This means they'll not only download the game, but also come back and play it because they already love it and know how it works," he adds.
Addiktive Games tested the Voxel platform with ads for its Bubble Shooter 3.0 and Candy Breaker games to evaluate its effectiveness before a major upcoming launch: the introduction of Addiktive's Bubble Galaxy Quest game. The results were unprecedented, Leong says.
Once the interactive ads were deployed, Addiktive experienced 120 to 125 percent higher conversion rates. "Interstitial ads gave us click rate measurements, but we were never sure how many of those clicks were made by accident while users were looking for the close button," Leong says. "With Voxel's interactive ads, we can see that users are interacting with the game and downloading it right within the ad," he adds.
Retention rates and revenue per impression grew as well. According to Leong, the interactive ads attracted customers who went on to have 60 to 80 percent higher long-term values, and the eCPM (effective cost per mille, Latin for thousands) impressions was as much as 300 percent more than other ad units. "It's an extremely powerful way for us to advertise," Leong says, "because we know that the customers that are downloading these games are already engaged by the time they download them, which means they'll come back to play again and again."
Though other similar solutions exist, Zhao says what his company offers is unique because of the technology of its wide-reaching capabilities. Rather than an advertising solution vendor, Voxel is positioning itself as a virtual visualization tool that can deliver value across industries. For example, the technology could eventually be used to create virtualized versions of enterprise apps. "This way, sensitive data can be stored in the cloud rather than on personal devices," Zhao explains.
In the meantime, however, the company is making waves in mobile game advertising. "Voxel has an impressive tool, and we believe it's going to make a major difference when we launch Bubble Galaxy Quest. We're excited to keep working together, and see what else they come up with," Leong says.
Since implementing Voxel's interactive ads, Addiktive Games has seen the following results:
- a 120 percent to 125 percent increase in conversion rates;
- 60 to 80 percent higher long-term value from customers; and
- eCPMs as much as 300 percent higher than other ad units.