On Thursday December 4th Fat Fish Games launched “Bubble Heroes” - the latest and greatest in ‘bubble shooter’ genre - to the world. And together with Swrve, they embarked on a first for the games industry. For the first time we’ll be lifting the lid on what actually happens - as it happens - in mobile marketing automation.
In a series of posts we’ll follow the lifecycle of the app, from soft launch and game economy balancing, through the hard decisions around acquisition spend, to the creation and delivery of the push notification and in-app campaigns aimed to maximize lifetime player value.
By doing this alongside the team at Fat Fish, we’ll be able to generate real insight into the thought processes and logic behind mobile marketing automation. Their team, led by Managing Director David Lane, will be talking frankly about how they reach the decisions they do, what they find works and what does not, and the results FatFish enjoys.
In terms of the game itself, David sees the creation of a “bubble shooter” as a natural move for the organization:
Over the past 12 months we have been working on several games, including a slightly different style ‘bubble shooter’ that we felt could incorporate everything we have learnt game play wise in that period, as well as knowledge picked up in other areas such as analytics and marketing, and put it all into this product. As a business we also want to focus on building rich characters and narratives that could also exist outside of a great game experience. That is how Rockford Reef and the Bubble Heroes were born.
As for the decision to use Swrve - Fat Fish had already used the product in their previous title “Bubble Shot” and been impressed not just by the ability to change the player experience on the fly (without any engineering updates) but also to create and deliver push notification campaigns and in-app campaigns. As a single product that supports all these methods of communication, and in addition provides the ability to test each of them, Swrve fitted the bill for “Bubble Heroes”.
We don't have a large team for data analysis and testing, so it was great that Swrve gave us the tools to monitor and carry out significant analysis without a large team. Working with the Swrve account managers also gave us a valuable insight on the best way to set up and run data analysis which we did not get from other providers.
Early Data Patterns
Currently the focus is of course on collecting as much data to help in the process of product optimization and player acquisition. At present the latter is primarily driven via social promotion and Facebook paid advertising, but as the game matures and increasing amount of marketing dollars are committed, this mix may change.
Meanwhile the former - product optimization - is already underway. This is the process of of ‘balancing’ the game to keep players engaged, but also monetizing. That is of course a sophisticated process, and depends on a significant amount of data and testing.
Even now, less than a week after launch, the team have discovered that 5% of users have already completed every level of the game and consumed all content. That in turn suggests a lack of challenge on some levels and perhaps a requirement for more content. It is, of course, vital to keep players engaged: and having them complete the game within three days does not help that cause!
Next time we’ll look at how the team have responded to that challenge, and what else they learn as they gear up for their next acquisition phase.