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Big Fish launches EverMerge with ironSource playable and scales ARPU 21%
Jun 30, 2020
case study-big-fish-evermerge

Big Fish is a mobile game developer and publisher headquartered in Seattle, WA, with a regional office in Oakland, California, and is part of Aristocrat Leisure Limited.

Sebastien Petit is the Director of User Acquisition at Big Fish. Read on for Sebastian’s story on how he and his team launched EverMerge worldwide with ironSource.

Big fish, small team

We started developing EverMerge back in 2019 and prepared to launch the game in late April. We’re a lean user acquisition team at Big Fish, in charge of managing a massive new game launch - so we knew we’d need support from our partners.

As the launch date came closer, we reached out to the ironSource team, so we could align our user acquisition strategy. From the start, we realized multiple teams on both ironSource’s side and our side at Big Fish would need to be involved in EverMerge’s launch, including creatives, product, R&D, and technical support.

The power of creatives

In the beginning of the year, we arranged for ironSource to visit our HQ in Seattle. ironSource’s in-house creative studio, Playworks, walked us through their plans for running a creative soft launch - so that by the official global launch day, we’d already know which creative would deliver the highest IPM. Playworks showed us the mockups they made for the playable ads they wanted to run and shared best practices for scaling games through creatives, as well as benchmarks for puzzle games.

Soon after, ironSource kicked off the creative soft launch - running multiple creatives simultaneously with a limited budget across several countries including, Netherlands, Sweden, Australia on iOS. ironSource then spent two weeks A/B testing and iterating the creatives. Eventually, we saw that one particular playable ad would be our golden ticket for scaling EverMerge during the global launch.

We released EverMerge globally on May 6th with the playable ad. The playable ad was essential in scaling the campaigns from launch day - accounting for 87% of the game’s installs with 2x the IPM of the video creative.

All in all, the rigorous testing framework ironSource implemented for us in soft launch set the foundation for our worldwide launch success.

“The playable ad was essential in scaling the campaigns from launch day.”

- Sebastien Petit, Director of User Acquisition at Big Fish

Increasing scale and hitting ROAS

The next step was scaling the actual campaign and hitting our ROAS goals. We used ironSource’s ROAS optimizer, which automatically calculates the optimal bid and dynamically bids across all our campaigns, according to the actual ARPU of our users - in-app purchase and ad revenue data included.

With a lean UA team in charge of managing massive budgets across multiple ad sources, the optimizer was key in saving time and resources during the launch. After switching to the optimizer we saw a 21% increase in US iOS ARPU.

That increase is even more significant considering it was generated by many higher quality users, and not by one whale - in fact, purchase rate increased 50% after going live with the optimizer.

In the end, thanks to the playable created by ironSource’s Playworks studio and the ROAS optimizer, ironSource’s ad network drove over 200K installs for EverMerge’s launch.

Since we partnered with ironSource many years ago, they’ve been fully aligned with our business KPIs and committed to our success. We view ironSource as an extension of our UA team.

“We view ironSource as an extension of our UA team.”

- Sebastien Petit, Director of User Acquisition at Big Fish