Install-to-purchase rate increases by 46.7%

The ChallengeLiftoff worked with Pixonic, headquartered in Moscow, to run a user acquisition campaign for their flagship War Robots mid-core game on iOS in the USA. War Robots is a popular shooter game about giant robots where players prove themselves as the best mech commanders. Pixonic’s challenge was scaling UA campaigns for their mid-core game with a goal to increase their day 7 return on ad spend (D7 ROAS).

The SolutionPrior to launching the campaign, Liftoff analyzed the War Robots app user flow to better understand how users engaged with the game. As with most games, the standard user flow for those who played War Robots was: Install > Level X Reached > Level Y Reached > In-App Purchase.

For mid-core UA gaming campaigns to be successful, Liftoff requires all postbacks to be sent for intermediary optimizations before an in-app purchase is made. Liftoff requires this because it allows our system to more quickly hone in on high-value, low-CPA users while also automatically avoiding spend on existing users. Pixonic sent all postbacks to Liftoff from AppsFlyer, a leading mobile app tracking & attribution analytics platform.

The Liftoff creative team worked with Pixonic to design numerous creative and copy tests using banners, interstitials, videos and native ads. Pixonic provided Liftoff full creative flexibility, in order to take full advantage of Liftoff’s testing capabilities.

With an extremely eye-catching game, Liftoff dove in and tested many video concepts. One such test pitted a video of gameplay vs a trailer overview of the game. Another focus was testing banners. One example was comparing the performance between a static banner and conveyor banner which displayed weapons used in the game.

Once the campaign setup was complete, Liftoff began testing and optimizing bids with the goal of increasing D7 ROAS while keeping an eye on CPIs. The Liftoff machine learning (ML) platform optimized bids using lookalike audiences with a high likelihood of installing, reaching a certain amount of levels, and then finally completing an in-app purchase.

Working with Liftoff has been great since we can acquire traffic according to our KPI’s. The Liftoff team are deeply involved in the campaign, so we can make adjustments to our plans faster and also optimize the traffic as soon as KPI’s need updating.Elena Golikova, Lead UA Manager, Pixonic

The Results

Due to a “perfect campaign setup,” this mid-core game campaign’s performance was positively impacted from the very start. A perfect campaign setup was composed of Pixonic granting full creative flexibility, all postbacks, and view-through attribution being enabled. Once Liftoff optimized towards in-app purchases, via optimizing for multiple strong intermediary events (level completes), the campaign started showing positive performance results. Pixonic also had the appetite to spend dynamically, taking advantage of good periods, resulting in in-app purchase optimization.

Multiple tests, new creative concepts and close performance monitoring also allowed Liftoff to keep CPIs low. Many successful creative tests contributed to the overall success of the campaign. For example, when testing a video of actual gameplay vs a trailer overview of the game, the gameplay video had a 48% lift in app installs. Pixonic has also provided geo-specific videos and imagery which made it easier to run campaign-specific tests, optimizing in local languages.

Another win resulted from heavily testing banner creatives which really helped us balance between ROAS & CPIs. In the example of testing a static banner vs a conveyor banner which displayed weapons, the conveyor creative resulted in a 56% lift in app installs.

With rigorous testing and optimizations over the life of the campaign, the campaign proved extremely successful. With a combination of our ML platform’s lookalike audience targeting and ad testing by our creative team, huge gains resulted.

  • Impression-to-clicks increased 31.6%
  • Click-to-installs increased by 51.9%
  • In-app purchases increased by 25.3%
  • Install-to-purchases increased 46.7%
  • Most importantly, the D7 ROAS increased 33.2%

With a steady stream of ongoing wins, including increased D7 ROAS, the Pixonic team was able to scale the campaign, increasing the average daily spend by 21.6%. Furthermore, the success of the iOS US campaign allowed Pixonic to expand into other geos and start a UA campaign for their Android app.

Pixonic is a video game developer and publisher headquartered in Moscow. The company is best known for producing War Robots, a third-person, mid-core shooter game with real-time PvP battles against rivals from all over the world.

  • Founded in 2009
  • HQ: Moscow, Russia