PuzzleSocial Pieces Together Winning Engagement with Tapjoy

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With its puzzle app Daily Celebrity Crossword, developer PuzzleSocial has updated the weekly crossword tradition of newspapers and magazines for the digital age, seeing mobile technology as an opportunity to publish a daily crossword puzzle on users’ smartphones and tablets, for free. Today, the game is played by more than 3 million people and is available on iPhones, iPads, and Android and Kindle devices, as well as on Facebook.

But it recently needed to generate incremental revenue and increase engagement, and so the developer turned to app monetization platform Tapjoy, its longtime partner. PuzzleSocial was already employing its offer walls, videos, and interstitials to monetize its crossword app, so implementing additional monetization programs from Tapjoy seemed a logical move.

Founded in 2007, Tapjoy aims to maximize user value for “freemium” mobile app publishers. It offers a marketing automation and monetization platform for mobile apps, as well as user segmentation and predictive analytics tools that aim to increase engagement and revenue. Tapjoy’s software development kit is embedded in more than 270,000 apps, totaling more than 500 million monthly active users and over 2 million daily ad engagements.

PuzzleSocial implemented three programs with Tapjoy’s help: a branded puzzle, a rich-media campaign, and a virtual-currency sale. The company rolled out a crossword sponsored by cosmetics company Sephora—a Tapjoy advertising partner—and simultaneously launched a Sephora advertising campaign using Tapjoy’s rich-media ad units, which feature interactive components. Additionally, Tapjoy enabled PuzzleSocial to initiate a currency sale where Daily Celebrity Crossword players were incentivized to complete ad offers during a limited time, for which they earned additional currency.

“[The branded puzzle] contained 15 clues and answers directly related to Sephora…. At the same time, [Tapjoy and Sephora’s] rich-media campaigns would be featured in our rewarded rescue moments (when users want to purchase hints but run out of coins). The revenue lift was created because the ad units worked seamlessly together throughout the game: The puzzle featured Sephora, [and] the rich media ads featured Sephora,” says Jeb Balise, CEO of PuzzleSocial, via email.

These efforts paid off for PuzzleSocial: The company saw a 79 percent lift in weekend revenue, a 10 percent incremental bump in daily retention, and 90,000 total rich media engagements. Additionally, 215,000 unique players solved the puzzle in just three days.

“We started the campaign on a Thursday and ran it through the weekend [because] weekends tend to be the busiest days for Daily Celebrity Crossword based on overall player usage and engagement, so we started the campaign [then] in order to get it in front of as many players as possible,” Balise says. “[And the] currency sale for users interacting with the Offerwall [helped] people to interact with both the game and Sephora more times than they normally would have.”

And it just so happened that the weekend all three programs were initiated proved to be the most lucrative weekend yet in Daily Celebrity Crossword’s history. 

The Payoff 

After implementing Tapjoy's monetization programs featuring Sephora cosmetics, PuzzleSocial's Daily Celebrity Crossword saw:

  • 215,000 unique players solve the puzzle over three days;
  • 90,000 total rich-media engagements;
  • a 10 percent incremental bump in daily retention; and
  • a 79 percent lift in weekend revenue.

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