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Creating value in volume

Diversifying on Facebook to improve your marketing efficacy

To keep players interested in a game, it helps to offer diverse gameplay -- whether that's new characters, exciting level designs, or seasonal events. But diversifying your marketing strategy is just as important.

That's what casual game developer Hyper Hippo discovered when marketing its title AdVenture Capitalist. Historically, the developer leveraged a mixed-model strategy to monetize its AdVenture games. But Hyper Hippo's reliance on single optimization -- across internal tools and Facebook Ads Manager -- wasn't maximizing performance. After partnering with Facebook Marketing Science and Account teams, Hyper Hippo improved its cost per-install by 40%.

By finding the right combination of optimization products, the developer also saw its return on ad spend triple in just 14 days. The challenge Hyper Hippo faced is one many game developers encounter, but it's one that can be solved through diversified optimization.

How does it work?

Facebook's diversified marketing strategy uses a combination of optimization, audience targeting and ad placement solutions that drive short and long-term performance. This article will focus on diversifying optimization and its many benefits.

Many mobile gaming advertisers we've worked with on this strategy have reported overall growth in player base for their business and reduced costs. This growth in player base in turn helps improve long term performance for their games.

How can you diversify optimization?

We recommend rethinking the status quo of optimizing toward a single short-term KPI like return on ad spend. By choosing performance indicators that focus on game health, such as payer conversions or daily and monthly active users, you can harness the power of AI through a mix of mobile app optimization products available within the Facebook advertising App Installs objective.

Many see these optimization products as mutually exclusive, however they can be applied in unison to increase performance. These products are organized across two key solutions:

1. Manual app ads to create manual campaigns
2. Automated app ads which is built on powerful machine learning, streamlining campaign and creative management

Both can help you optimize for app installs, app events such as purchases, or to acquire high-value players, while each optimization can drive a specific KPI:

App installs optimization helps to deliver new installs and can improve daily and monthly active users
App event optimization helps drive installs from players that perform an event like a purchase or reaching a level, bringing new paying players to the game. This can be used to acquire low-mid value players that drive overall revenue
App installs and app events optimization (automated app ads only) help drive installs and players who are more likely to perform an event within a single campaign
Value optimization helps drive highest-value paying users into the game, delivering an improved return on ad spend.

It's important to test different variations and identify the ideal optimization mix for your game. Using a combination of strategies can help you to acquire users with a broad range of value, and drive player growth, daily and monthly active users, payer conversions and return on ad spend.

How did we determine the value of diversified optimization?

We designed ten global experiments to compare to single optimization strategies used by different game developers. These experiments were run through Lift platform to isolate the effect of each strategy and measure causality -- the true incremental impact in results due to diversified strategy.

Each study compared a single optimization goal (value or app events), to a diversified optimization strategy (combo of app installs, app events and value optimization), while holding all other variables (creative, targeting and total budget) constant. In Lift terminology, it was a 'two cells' randomized test and holdout design.

Our thinking was that a combination of optimizations will outperform a single optimization strategy, to drive better overall KPIs. We found that by executing a diversified optimization strategy, we could increase playbase, helping game developers go well beyond the current realm in user acquisition. The results spoke for themselves.

What can you do as a marketer?

We recommend diversifying optimization using app installs, app events and value optimization on Facebook to understand the benefits versus running a single optimization strategy. You can evaluate performance holistically, by setting the right KPIs, and experimenting to get the right mix in optimization that suits your needs. This strategic shift can empower you to grow your player base and revenue.

For more information, visit the Diversified Marketing Strategies section of the Facebook Gaming Webinar Hub.

Byline: Facebook Marketing Science

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