Unity: What are the goals you strive to achieve at Kooapps?
Wang: For our day to day monetization goals, we focus on average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) and for user acquisition, it’s return on ad spend (ROAS). We keep a very close eye on these metrics and optimize to improve performance where we can.
A longer term business goal of ours is to build a platform with our user generated content and build a marketplace to allow anybody to create content and sell to players on our platform.
Unity: Do you have any tested and proven monetization strategies that have worked for you?
Wang: What’s worked well for us is focusing on in app ads (IAA) for our monetization strategy over in app purchases (IAPs). If you’re a smaller studio, typically you start off with very few daily active users (DAUs) so you really have to think about how you’ll monetize because IAP conversion rates are sub 1%.
You really have to think about monetizing a mass audience, not just depending on IAPs from high in-game payers.
Unity: Were you open to implementing ads right away?
Wang: Not at first. I wish I knew at the time that money is money and you should want to make some money so you can sustain the success of your games. We were very reserved with ad implementation at the beginning and it actually took us two years to get started with rolling out interstitial ads.
When we first launched Pictoword, we relied on IAPs instead of ads. With that approach, we reached low seven digit revenue. To take it to the next level we really needed to implement ads. Our mindset completely changed as the industry changed. After hyper casual originated, the industry really kicked into high gear. More people got used to ads, especially if they don’t impair the player experience.
We decided to implement ads across our games, continue building games our audience loves, and do user acquisition as well to keep the lights on. I think a lot of smaller studios are creating games and they’re afraid they’ll ruin the player experience but they also need to accept the reality that you have bills to pay and families to feed. You just need to implement your monetization in the right way.
Unity: How did you get started with user acquisition?
Wang: For the longest time – just like with monetization – we did not want to do UA. We actually never did UA at scale until 2020. At first I thought we're not going to buy our users and if we just make good games, people are going to come. It was like this in the early days, like 2008 when I started till around 2014.
We hit 100,000 DAUs and saw a steady increase in revenue, but to generate a bit more we had to do UA. Using tools where we can see ROAS for each UA campaign really helped us identify which campaigns are doing well so we could double down on them.