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How indie game developer 1UP went from losing money to profitability with ironSource in-app bidding
Mar 22, 2021

1UP is an indie gaming company based in Spain. As a young company with a small team and plenty of ambition, they turned to ironSource’s mediation platform to help turn their word games into profitable and sustainable businesses. Read on to hear co-founder Jose Francisco’s account of how they did just that.

The challenge of growth in a crowded space

The puzzle game genre has a lot of potential for indie developers like us, but there’s tough competition and some strong existing publishers. To survive in this genre, it is crucial to generate enough revenue to continue reinvesting in user acquisition campaigns and unlock a cycle of growth.

That’s where our challenge lay: we knew our games were good, but our small team was struggling to optimize our waterfall monetization setup efficiently, and therefore we weren’t making enough money to grow our business.

That’s when we began searching for a robust platform and in-app bidding solution. We knew bidding was becoming the default model for mobile game monetization and that it had many advantages over waterfalls, and we wanted a solution that would:

1. Optimize our monetization performance

2. Automate the process 

3. Save time so our team could focus on game design and development

From losing money to profitability

After a few unsatisfactory experiences with other platforms, we started using ironSource’s mediation platform to manage our monetization operations. Integrating ironSource's SDK was very smooth - it was the fastest integration we've experienced, and we've tried many other mediation SDKs. We then used ironSource’s A/B testing product to determine if bidding was right for our games, and the results were positive.

Through ironSource's mediation and bidding, we had access to leading ad networks like Facebook Audience Network, which had a great impact on our earnings thanks to the advertisers they delivered. Bidding works like an auction, so we were able to sell our ad inventory to the ad networks with the highest bids - unlike in the previous waterfall setups we tried, where revenue was often left on the table.

Since working with ironSource, the leap in our monetization performance has been so big that it's hard to even measure it. It was like going from black to white. Previously, we were unprofitable and even losing money, and the moment we started with ironSource, our company became profitable.

"Previously, we were unprofitable and even losing money, and the moment we started with ironSource, our company became profitable"

- Jose Francisco, CEO, 1UP Games

All the while, we’ve been able to save time thanks to the automation provided by bidding, so our team can focus on what we love the most: developing awesome games. We’ve also enjoyed the easy-to-use reporting dashboard and in-depth analytics, which lets our team stay on top of our monetization activity and see that everything is working as it should.

Expansion and trying new features

With the success ironSource helped us unlock for our word games, we are currently working on expanding the business and developing new games for other verticals and audiences.

We’re looking forward to using more of ironSource’s features, such as its cross promotion tool to scale our growth and achieve more great things together in the future.