User Acquisition: The Choice of Networks, Different Monetization Strategies, and Performance Indicators for Success 

In this edition of our Bubbles of Wisdom Series, Carole Le Van, Co-Founder of Potato Play, will discuss various strategies to optimize user acquisition. Including the use of SANs, SDK Networks, and DSPs, she explains the ideal blend and suitability of each for your specific genre/audience. 

Carole will also cover the various strategic UA tweaks that are necessary depending on an app’s monetization model, the performance indicators to watch, and the use of LTV curves to measure & predict performance. 

If you missed part 1 of Carole’s Bubbles of Wisdom talk, you can view all the videos here. You can also listen to the podcast in full through this link

The Ideal Network Mix to Acquire Valuable Users

The ideal network mix depends on your team size, monetization strategy, goals, current UA activities, and the tools you have access to. Starting with SANs is often a good choice, due to the advanced tools and data they provide, along with the largest inventory and early indicators to optimize faster. In the early stages of marketing your game, SANs can give you results and information quickly which you can use to optimize, learn and project from.

SDK Channels provide easily accessible inventory for scaling when you know your KPIs and can clearly see whether the money and time you need to put in will be beneficial to your ROI.

DSPs are great for expanding your audience reach but require additional tools and resources to truly understand, optimize and scale.

User Acquisition Strategies for Different Monetization Models 

Generally if you rely on a pure ad based monetization, you’ll need a much shorter user lifecycle to achieve ROAS. On the other hand, IAP-based games need to hunt for users with a longer lifecycle and higher LTV to sustain themselves. 

The best strategy for lower LTV games is to aim for thin margins and large volumes. Higher tier countries will deliver higher eCPMs but lower-tier countries shouldn’t be neglected as they can drive higher volume, with high potential for revenue.

Rewarded video networks and SDK Networks are a particularly good choice for lower LTV games due to the high acceptance (and familiarity with) ads among their user reach. IAP games have a smaller pool of users to optimize on, and need a longer time to break even: you’ll need to invest more and do so in a data-driven way to maximize efficiency. An automation product may be a good companion in the process.

The time to conversion with subscription-based monetization models with a trial period is intrinsically longer and therefore harder to optimize.

Optimal Performance Indicators to Track 

Retention is difficult to improve upon but is the true core success factor for games.

The effectiveness of creatives and sources can be measured by click-through rates and conversion rates. Both depend on a mixture of the ad-audience fit and game quality / appeal.

LTV Based Bidding vs Portfolio-Based Bidding 

This is dependent on your risk profile and the goal for user acquisition within your company. If you are looking to break even, LTV based bidding is the best way to go but you might lose on additional traffic due to the conservative nature of the approach. If you are looking to grow and able to take more risks then portfolio-based bidding allows for higher potential growth.


Carole Le Van is the Co-Founder of Potato Play, after previously managing UA at Gameloft, Wargaming, and Ubisoft. If you would like to know more about Carole & Potato Play, please visit her UA Wavemaker profile page.

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