Case Study

King is among the world’s leading interactive entertainment companies, with over 200 mobile apps and 249 million monthly active users to their name. Their most notable franchises include Candy Crush, Bubble Witch, and Farm Heroes, which have become household names for users around the world. 

For their game Candy Crush Saga, King used the ironSource ROAS optimizer to reach high-quality users at scale and boost ROAS. Tom Collard, Performance Marketing Manager at King, shares his story about working with ironSource to set up and run the optimizer, leading to a significant increase in installs and huge jump in ROAS.

candy crush saga

Feeling the pressure to scale now

Our campaign setup was as unique and granular as we could make it - we were bidding on a wide range of sources to try and find ones that attracted the highest-quality users and boosted ROAS. But we found we weren’t hitting our ROAS goals. The complexity of our campaign required a significant amount of manual operations. Additionally, we didn’t have access to data that could tell us the differences in quality between users within a specific app. Both factors hindered our ability to find the right bid, and we found that we were overpaying. We needed to find the right users within each source. 

Our partners at ironSource believed we could maximize our scale and revenue with their ROAS optimizer tool, which would bid with more granularity and less operational overhead than our current setup. Though we created a campaign we thought was as optimized as possible, we recognized that an automatic solution could address our optimization and resource challenges. After seeing successful examples of other advertisers that used the optimizer, we decided to try it.

Reaching high-quality users to increase ROAS and scale

As Candy Crush Saga drew more installs and increased ROAS, we saw how the optimizer drove this success - using machine learning, it was able to bid more granularly and distribute the campaign on a wider range of supply. That bid granularity and larger scale helped us reach high-quality users, which led to an increase in ARPU and some improvement to purchase rate compared to the period before we went live with the optimizer. 

"The optimizer was able to bid more granularly and distribute the campaign on a wider range of supply, which helped us reach high-quality users and led to an increase in ARPU."

- Tom Collard, Performance Marketing Manager at King 

In the past, we would bid higher on a source that would bring us users, but we weren’t sure if it would scale - often we would see our higher bid on sources like these fail to yield the installs we expected. The optimizer’s ability to bid more granularly and accurately achieved what we could not even with our complex, manual campaign setup.

With the optimizer, we avoided overpaying, and automatic bid optimization freed up our resources to devote to other parts of our operation. After performance stabilized, we added more campaigns to the optimizer and saw a boost to ROAS and installs, decrease in eCPI, and an increase in the variety of apps we advertised in.

Onboarding more campaigns and increasing optimizer SOV

Along with adding more Candy Crush Saga campaigns to the optimizer, we’ve added campaigns from our other titles, too. Following our success with Candy Crush Saga, the share of our UA generated from the ironSource ROAS optimizer increased from 6% to 67% over a four month period. 

ironSource’s constant optimizations, transparent reporting, and regular monitoring all created the feeling that we were being looked after and that the ironSource team shared in our success. We’re looking forward to seeing how the optimizer continues to increase scale and ROAS for Candy Crush Saga - and do the same for our other titles.

Even with our extensive knowledge about user acquisition and running campaigns on a large scale, we didn’t have the ability to bid as granularly and with as little oversight as the optimizer.  The tool’s capabilities helped us increase scale while improving quality - all with very little manual effort. 

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