Founded back in 2005 by an intrepid group of developers in Russia, Gear Games carved its niche early. In fact, the studio had a formative impact on the mobile gaming industry: It produced the first-ever real-time strategy game for mobile, eponymously named for Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. The app proved to be a massive success, and now over a decade later, Art of War 3: Global Conflict has been downloaded over 10million times since launch.
As a long-time player in the space, Gear Games has always taken a multi-pronged approach to monetization. Its expertly crafted strategy games attract highly engaged users, many of whom are willing to make purchases in-app. IAPs remain a monetization cornerstone across all its apps, including Art of War 3. When the Offerwall was first implemented, it made up one-fifth of total revenue, with in-app ads contributing one-fifth, and IAPs contributing the remaining three-fifths of revenue.
Gear Games has been using the Tapjoy Offerwall alongside video ads since 2013. Initially, video ads and offerwall ads contributed roughly the same amount of revenue. However, the Gear Games team would soon discover that they had not yet tapped the full potential of the offerwall format.
Total increase in daily Offerwall revenue
Increase in conversion rate
Increase in engagement rate
A Revenue Dip Prompts A Deeper Analysis
2019 brought significant changes in the world of mobile advertising. In late April, Apple began to enforce a policy against incentivized installs and app-based subscriptions on iOS. As a result, developers could no longer run CPE (cost per engagement) offers, which reward users for engaging with other apps. Industrywide, ARPDAU on iOS from offerwalls dropped significantly and developers lost countless dollars in revenue. All major offerwall providers, including Tapjoy, responded by changing their business practices to align with this new guidance. Despite its long-term success, Gear Games was not immune to this shift. The number of offers available decreased as the Cost Per Engagement ad format was now limited to Android only. To revive revenue, the team undertook a detailed analysis of offerwall performance. They intended to explore every avenue for optimization.
“Last Spring, our daily offerwall revenue dropped on iOS. The drop compelled us to conduct a deeper analysis and explore optimizations,” said Artyom Shumsky, CEO of Gear Games.
Gear Games’ analysis revealed that there was an opportunity to improve access to the offerwall. Moreover, users in certain tier 2 and tier 3 countries seemed to convert at a lower rate — perhaps because rewards were less enticing in their local currencies, the team theorized. To solve these issues, Tapjoy’s mobile strategists recommended they experiment with several optimization techniques. The first hurdle would be to get the word out about the offerwall.
“Some players don’t want to pay, and think ‘Without money, there is nothing to do in this game.’ We wanted to promote the offerwall so they would be aware of all their options.”
- Artyom Shumsky, CEO of Gear Games