Case Study
Zynga Turkey increases D7 retention by 15% and doubles scale with the ironSource retention optimizer

Zynga Turkey is the Istanbul-based branch of Zynga, one of the world’s biggest game development studios that’s behind global hits like Farmville and Words With Friends. Zynga Turkey is focused on developing and delivering high-quality casual card and board games to their players all over the world. 

For their game Spades Plus, they used the ironSource retention optimizer to automate their user acquisition and reach their D7 retention KPIs. Hear from Metehan Gultekin, User Acquisition Team Lead at Zynga Turkey, about how they used the optimizer to increase D7 retention rate by 15%, double scale, and lower cost per retained user (CPRU) by 40%.

Striving for greater insights into bids and stabilizing retention

At Zynga Turkey, we optimize our UA towards retention and ROAS as our main KPIs - retention in particular is very important since our portfolio consists of online multiplayer games where metrics like DAU and CCU are crucial for us. We know that higher retention often yields higher revenue and ensures sustained success and scale down the line.

Before using the retention optimizer, not only were we manually adjusting the bids for our UA campaigns, which was incredibly time-consuming, but we were doing so based on limited install data. There was nothing indicating the growth potential of a source before we bid on it, which was an issue when bidding on long tail apps - we couldn’t predict if increasing our bid on them would result in increased volume. All of this guesswork and manual bidding took a lot of time and operational overhead.

Manually bidding and adjusting our campaigns led to another side effect: retention and eCPI were fluctuating. We needed a solution that would stabilize retention, maintain our spend, and help us scale - and of course save us the time and headache of manual bid management.

Turning to an automated UA solution

When ironSource introduced their retention optimizer, we thought it could be a great solution - the tool automatically identifies the target bid for optimizing towards retention. It places bids based on the maximum growth potential of each app, ensuring we never overbid on a source. Before, bidding on long tail apps was a guessing game of not knowing how much volume our bid would drive, but now the optimizer calculates the bid that’ll deliver maximum volume for that source. The tool also keeps eCPI as close to our default bid as possible, which helps maintain and stabilize our spend even as we increase quality and scale.

"The granularity in bidding was unrivaled - automating the bidding process and going more granular helped us reach a broader mix of apps that attracted users with higher retention in our game."

-  Metehan Gultekin, User Acquisition Team Lead at Zynga Turkey

The granularity in bidding was unrivaled - automating the bidding process and going more granular helped us reach a broader mix of apps that attracted users with higher retention in our game. 

Increasing scale 2x and boosting D7 retention by 15%

After setting the retention optimizer live, we experienced a 15% increase in D7 retention rate, 25% decrease in eCPI, lowered CPRU by 40%, and doubled our scale.

Before using the optimizer, retention was unstable and constantly fluctuating - now it’s stabilized and steadily increasing. CPRU, cost per retained user, also decreased, indicating we were paying less for high-quality users even as we scaled. Overall, we saw a boost in scale and performance, including both retention and ROAS.

Ongoing support and insights

Throughout the process, we felt the full support of the ironSource team - they were always responsive and helpful in optimizing our campaigns. Having access to the self-serve dashboard to track performance allowed us to make data-backed decisions and view growth potential on the app level, which informed our UA strategy as a whole. We were excited to try the retention optimizer, and we weren’t disappointed - the tool’s abilities to optimize towards retention and improve our bidding strategy even helped us achieve higher ROAS. We’re looking forward to onboarding more of our titles and using the tool into the future.

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