Case Study
How SYBO increased Subway Surfers’ ARPDAU by 67% year-over-year with ironSource mediation
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SYBO is the publisher of Subway Surfers, the most-downloaded mobile game of the decade. With such a high profile game, downloaded by over 3 billion players across its lifetime, SYBO needed to leverage a powerful platform with a top quality mediation product to manage their monetization operations. In 2020, they turned to ironSource to do just that. 

Keep reading to learn from SYBO’s ad operations team how they used the ironSource platform - and products like in-app bidding and segmentation - to grow their game every quarter and save time in the process. 

Growing ARPDAU by 67% with in-app bidding

“It was clear that in-app bidding technology, which allows developers to automate their traditional waterfall mediation, is a key driver for revenue growth, so we knew early on that it would be worthwhile leveraging the participating networks within ironSource mediation. To compare the impact of participating networks against traditional instances, we used ironSource’s quick A/B testing tool, an amazing tool which gave us accurate results within a short timeframe.

Within 1-2 weeks, we’d come to the conclusion that monetizing with in-app bidding tool alongside traditional waterfall was the way to go for a holistic ad monetization strategy, and we haven’t been disappointed. In fact, between September and December 2020, when we first activated in-app bidding, ARPDAU for Subway Surfers rose by 57%, by making sure we always got the most revenue for each impression.

Since then, we’ve seen growth every quarter: in Q3 2021, ARPDAU grew by 67% compared to Q3 2020. 

We saw ARPDAU increase while using a hybrid of in-app bidding and traditional waterfalls on ironSource’s mediation, and we were also impressed by the automation of the in-app bidding process - which helped reduce our manual work.

“We saw ARPDAU increase while using a hybrid of in-app bidding and traditional waterfalls on ironSource’s mediation, and we were also impressed by the automation of the in-app bidding process - which helped reduce our manual work”

- Jacopo Guanziroli, Head of Ad Operations at SYBO

Smoother operations using the mediation segmentation tool

We made our operations even smoother using another of ironSource’s mediation tools - segmentation. The segmentation tool allows us to apply different waterfalls for different privacy settings. Initially, from an operations standpoint, our segmentation setup was less than optimized: we did the segmentation on our side and connected four app versions of Subway Surfers to the ironSource mediation (two for iOS and two for Android). Basically, we were splitting traffic for each app based on the app settings - but this was time-consuming to manage and involved unnecessary navigation between different dashboards and analytics reporting.

ironSource’s mediation segmentation tool was a game-changer. It enabled us to merge the two iOS apps into one on the dashboard, making data analysis much more efficient. Now that our reporting shows data from just one app rather than multiple, and we can break it down into segments, it's much easier to compare each segment without moving between different dashboards. For us, that's a major help in our day-to-day.

In addition, revenue breakdown by segment allows us to have transparent insights, meaning that we understand ad networks’ strong and weak sides. In turn, this gives us the opportunity to shape our waterfalls accordingly.

In times when the market is changing so much, these features are key to quickly adapt our waterfalls and therefore our monetization strategy.

“Now that the onboarding is all on one app and we can break it down into segments, it's much easier to compare each segment without moving between different dashboards. For us, that's a major help in our day-to-day.”

- Joana Lopes, Ad Operations Manager at SYBO

A real partnership 

The ironSource platform has been fantastic from a product perspective - it’s clear from the UX that it was developed by people who “get” monetization specialists and what we’re looking for. But our experience has been much more than just a great product - it’s the ironSource team that has really made it a fruitful partnership. 

“There is a golden balance between top class products and support from the ironSource team.”

- Ekaterina Portunova, Ad Operations Manager at SYBO

They’ve done amazing work helping us figure everything out, and even rolled out features according to our needs. There is a golden balance between top class products and support from the ironSource team, and we’re looking forward to continuing growing together”.

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