• Ben Johnson

300K cricket fans pay just 0.01p to download mobile game!

Updated: Jul 23



Some of the world’s most profitable companies are not listed on the Nasdaq, they are mobile games development houses nestled in Finland, the bosom of the industry, with a Price Earnings P(E) Ratio of 200! Mobile gaming represents the tip of the spear of business, marketing & creativity. Games through the iOS and Android app stores are trackable from an Ad Ops perspective, which allows the best developers to create games and universes that can be easily marketed directly to consumers, without the typical ‘middle men’ and operations support that other sectors of the entertainment industries routinely require.

At Gruvi we have long since held the belief that art and business can successfully come together by following the key fundamentals of Ecommerce, so last year (November 2019) we made our way over to Helsinki to check out what was happening at the Pocket Games convention. The event was extremely interesting and the guys at Steele Media put on a great show with their impressive lineup of talks.

We took meetings with many developers looking for the game partner we could invest in and work with, to take the findings and logic we have learned from working with films and to see if they could be applied to games. After many other meetings we sat down with Simon from Impact Unified, who was promoting several games from his Malmo (Sweden) based studio. The discussion focused on Atomic Journey, their science slingshot game designed to indirectly teach the fundamentals of Physics. Throughout the meeting I felt really positive that this was the game we were going to get behind, it was only afterwards that Yuriy (my colleague from Gruvi’s Ad Ops team) mentioned that during the discussion I spent the whole time playing their other game, Umpire’s Call.

Atomic Journey is a good game, but from my years at Gruvi I’ve come to recognise that actual behaviour is a better indicator of outcome than what is consciously thought and said. I went to boarding school, I was forced to play cricket for five years, and to this day I have never bothered to learn the rules. Over the summer months my Dad would dominate the house every Sunday, watching the Test Match on TV. In short, I can’t stand cricket! Yet there I was at a meeting discussing the merits of one game from the perspective of its educational benefits for my kids, all the while playing another addictive pocket game for a sport that I couldn’t give a damn about. We met with Simon the following week and decided to launch our test with Umpire’s Call.

It did extremely well. After completing the set up in March our tests started in April. With so many at home during lockdown the CPM costs were very, very low as many people were online, bored, and - most importantly - loved cricket. This will give you an idea of how insanely low the costs per install were, during peak lockdown during late March and April:

- UK, Ireland Australia and New Zealand ranged between £0.02 to £0.04 (they are currently hovering around £0.06_

- India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Jamaica ranged between £0.005 to £0.007 (they are currently hovering around £0.02)

Friends that work at AppAnnie were just ‘bowled over’ by what they heard from me as normal install costs start at around £0.30 to £1.00. These install base costs are just one part of the picture, the subsequent number of Daily Active Users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU) are highly dependent on how much marketing we undertake. In June, when the install base was around 200K, we had around 17K DAU and 125K MAU.

Since the last update we have grown to around 300K players for the game. We source revenue via advertising from Admob, Facebook, Appodeal, etc, as well as from In App purchases. We are now looking to approach companies that regularly sponsor Cricket tournaments, as we have the ability to brand the game on many interesting levels. The companies we have in mind include Specsavers, Qantas, Emirates, Sky Sport, Natwest, Green King, Spotify, Vitality Health Insurance, Pedigree, Rubicon exotic drinks, Booking.com, Bira, Star sports, Nissan, Bet 365, Alinta Energy and Domain Australia. If you know any brand managers in these companies please tell them to drop me a line.

Why did this game work so well?

1. The fan base is obviously easy to target in countries that have a strong affinity with cricket. As a games producer I would advise picking a topic with a dedicated tribe of followers.

2. The pandemic and its subsequent lockdown meant that many people were at home, bored, and subsequently very easy and cheap to reach & engage with. This allowed us to build one hell of a custom audience that continues to keep install costs at very low rates, despite the world now gradually emerging from lockdown.

3. The game play itself focuses on a common situation within Cricket that can make or break a match: the Umpire’s decision. This frequently drives hot debate amongst real world cricket fans, as ‘the call’ is still highly dependent on human interpretation r.e. the implication of the batsman's position in front of the wicket.

4. The team at Impact Unified are a highly trustworthy bunch of guys, who listened and implemented our recommendations. Once the additional work was agreed they instituted our tracking set up to a ‘T’, and worked collaboratively with Gruvi’s Ad Ops team to ensure the set up was State of the Art.

The undeniable success of this trial means we will be pursuing a new strategy in Gruvi to look at game investments, while our direct relationships with agencies within the media industries continue to grow. If you have an interesting IP and you are about to launch a Pocket Game app, drop me a line on ben@gruvi.tv.


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