I was looking for some data on Cost Per Install (CPI) for games in Japan and a friend of mine who runs a large studio there sent me this link, a blog post by InMobi that I missed in January. It basically sets out the relative cost of mobile installs worldwide. While it isn’t exclusive to games, we can use it to decipher regional costs. To get started, I went over to one of my favorite CPI sites, MobPartner, to check out their scrolling list of live CPI transactions. If you like to watch CPI bidding, it’s the best place to watch the action. Here are a couple pics to illustrate the CPIs today:
As you can see, Empire: Four Kingdoms is buying a lot of installs and they are ranging in the U.S. between $1.90 and $2.40 and hitting $3.05 in the U.K. I would guess the higher priced acquisition in the U.S. is on a better performing network, or more proven ad channel that provides players that either convert a bit higher, or have a higher Lifetime Value (LTV). You need to balance cost with volume in any acquisition campaign, but that’s probably obvious.
So now let’s dig into the InMobi data. We know that their numbers are not just games, so we need to create a reference point.
The 174 is a number from InMobi on the relative cost per install in the U.K. related to the U.S. Since we know what Goodgame Studios is paying for their users we know the numbers in bold to be true. The InMobi numbers don’t quite match up yet. The difference is 160.5 instead of 174, which is roughly 92.2 percent of the difference. I broke down the numbers with the Relative CPI (R CPI), the Adjusted Relative CPI (AR CPI) and came up with the Actual Game CPI (AG CPI) below. It looks about right to me in terms of acquisition costs. I hope it’s helpful for you too.
|| $ 3.05
|| $ 2.22
|| $ 1.90
|| $ 1.66
|| $ 1.52
|| $ 1.47
|| $ 1.47
|| $ 1.42
|| $ 1.35
|| $ 1.31
|| $ 1.24
|| $ 1.05
|| $ 0.98
|| $ 0.70
Newzoo put out a new report on the U.S. market for games.
- There are 170 Million gamers in the U.S.
- $6.4bn or 31% can be attributed to retail sales of new boxed games
- 4% of the total market consists of sales of pre-owned games
- $13.3 Billion (65%) is generated digitally through gaming on consoles, PCs, smartphones and tablets.
- 60% of U.S. gamers spend money on games
- The average monthly spend per U.S. gamer is $16.46
- There are 104 million paying gamers in the US across all market segments
According to SuperDataResearch:
- In 2012, the cost per install on iOS increased 22% from the beginning to the end of the year (around $2)
- The average conversion rate (from a non-spending to a spending user) in October was 4.68%
- The average revenue per paying user for mobile in the US is $21.45
- CPI is expected to be between $7-$8 this holiday season
All this is to say that acquisition costs are now greater than the LTV (Lifetime Value) of the acquired user. To combat this, mobile game developers should look more deeply at cross-promotional opportunities with other developers of similar titles. Exploring acquisition from a rev share perspective should be more cost effective than buying them in the open market and in our experience, the engagement is higher with users acquired through cross-promotions.
The Finnish Game Industry is growing at a 39.5 percent growth rate because of some amazing game developers (SuperCell, Rovio, Remedy, (Among others)).
Below is an updated presentation on the market in Finland as well as an outline of opportunities in Finland for anyone looking to start an office there. Of particular note (although not in this presentation) is how Ilkka Paananen and the SuperCell team have deliberately chosen to ensure Finland receives the taxes it is due by not setting up operations in Ireland, the Netherlands Antilles and other tax havens, in order to pay what they owe their country. I applaud this approach to industry development and hope it serves as an example to other companies and countries on how a stand-up company deals with success and helps to build both an ecosystem and industry within a country.
My opinion is that with massive profits and mainstream appeal for many of its games, the Finnish game industry is setup in a way to pay for the development of games that can reach the global audience, but also ensure the industry’s ongoing success. It’s morally righteous and reverent to the local university system (as well as previous commercial entities such as Nokia) which have helped build it, and it appreciates the fact that the universities will continue to be a major part of its growth in the future.
In a world that is often short-sighted, Finland is a leader and their approach is a brilliant example in the post-Montreal economic development era.
Our friend Moacyr Alves, president of ACIGAMES (the major games association in Brazil) sent us a nice presentation on the current Brazilian Games Market. Here are some of the key data points:
- 85 Percent of Brazilian gamers play on PC
- 73 Percent of Brazilian gamers play on smartphones
- 66 Percent of Brazilian gamers play console games
- 31 Percent of Brazilian gamers play on tablets
- Action and adventure games are the most popular genre among men (23 percent) and women (20 percent)
- 70 Percent of smartphones and 71 percent of tablets are Android OS
- 6 percent of smartphones and 18 percent of tablets are iOS
- 9 percent of smartphones and 7 percent of tablets are Windows
eMarketer released new info on the U.S. tablet market for games:
- Three-quarters of tablet users play games regularly
- eMarketer estimates that between 2013 and 2017, the number of tablet gamers will rise from 96.1 million to 143.0 million
In a recent post on TechCrunch, Chartboost dropped some info and numbers that should be of interest to mobile game developers:
- Direct deals between game development studios perform better than mobile advertising campaigns
- The click-through rate on a direct deal between two different developers is about 10.7 percent, compared to 8.1 percent on an ad network
- Install rates are 3.9 percent on direct deals versus 2.1 percent on ad networks
- If a developer cross-promotes their own titles to existing players, the click-through rate is 12.7 percent
Here’s a great presentation from Xyo app search on App discovery and App Store optimization. It has a lot of information such as the importance of the App name, icon, keywords and the optimal copy to get an App higher up in the rankings. Anyone launching a iOS, Android, or Windows Mobile app should check this out.
According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech: iOS was the top selling smartphone platform in the U.S, for the 12 week period ending November 25th, 2012. iPhone 5 helped push the number past 50 percent, the first time iOS has hit that level.
U.S. smartphone sales break down as:
- iOS – 53.3%
- Android -41.9%
- Windows Mobile – 2.7%
- Other – 2.1%
In an article on GamesBeat, information was given as to how GREE values mobile installs when determining what to spend on user acquisition.
*In Japan, GREE’s mobile install Lifetime Value (LTV) is around $15
*In the U.S.A., a mobile install is valued between $2-$5
*GREE says they have a 50 percent organic install rate and they tune the amount they are willing to spend on an install accordingly.
*The average install they are paying is in the $2 range according to the article.