At Bigcool Games, details matter. The Chinese company’s perfectionist spirit, says CEO and Co-Founder Qian’an Li, “keeps the standards high for all our products.” Equipped with the energy and patience it takes to create quality casual games, the team has a deep understanding of the industry and a drive for innovation.
When Bigcool wanted to boost ad revenue, they looked for a solution that would enable them to preserve the quality gaming experience they'd worked hard to create. Having worked with AdMob at a previous company, Qian'an was already familiar with the platform and decided to test it out for Bigcool. After two weeks of experimenting with AdMob mediation and adaptive banners, Bigcool increased banner eCPM by 25%, and boosted revenue for banner ads by 23%.
A solution that prioritizes the user
In an effort to increase ad revenue, Bigcool started off by building its own mediation platform. However, the work involved in maintaining it was manual and complicated, and the revenue gain was still below the company’s target. Bigcool decided to look elsewhere for a solution. The ease and simplicity of AdMob mediation appealed to the team, and they were also impressed by AdMob’s focus on user experience — a key element in the team’s search for the right platform.
“It’s important that the users are able to turn off the ads whenever they want, and in this aspect, AdMob is the best,” says Qian’an. “In other platforms, the button to close the ad pop-up is impossible to locate, as if intentionally hidden. Even when you click on it, you’re led to another window or a paused screen that requires more clicks.” If ads are frustratingly difficult to turn off, Qian’an adds, then eventually user engagement starts to decline.
Evaluating a better ad experience for users
With the goal of boosting user engagement and increasing revenue from banner ads, the team tested adaptive banners on Bubble Shooter Genies, a game with 1.8 million monthly active users. Taking an experimental, testing-first approach, they rolled out the banner ads to 30% of Android users for 20 days. As the experiment continued to run smoothly, they closely watched overall revenue, comparing the difference between the old and new ad placements. The team also kept an eye out for any changes in eCPM and average revenue per user (ARPU). Feeling confident that user engagement remained high, they then fully rolled out adaptive banners to all users.
Looking to refine their monetization strategy and optimize the user experience even further, Bigcool also A/B tested AdMob bidding, releasing the beta version of one of its games to 50% of Android users. At the time, the company was testing three different platforms with similar bidding methods. For the bidding experiment, Qian’an’s team tracked revenue, eCPM, and ARPU, along with a deeper dive into eCPM. “We checked the eCPM per person separately for pop-up ads and for video ads,” says Qian’an.
The implementation process of AdMob bidding went smoothly. Google offered guidance along the setup process, providing detailed documentation and working with the team to map out goals and understand the best way to track and analyze the data. “The setup for AdMob was relatively easy,” says Qian’an. “There are many features that can be modified freely to try out new things. For example, different setups are possible for different countries, so the customizable features were good.”
I was expecting about a 10% increase because I thought well, how much would optimizing banners really affect the outcome? But in the end, it far exceeded my expectations.
CEO and Co-Founder, Bigcool Games,
Stellar results drive further integrations
Furthermore, implementing adaptive banners resulted in a 25% eCPM uplift and a 23% revenue boost for banner ads. “I was expecting about a 10% increase because I thought well, how much would optimizing banners really affect the outcome?” says Qian’an. “But in the end, it far exceeded my expectations.” Adaptive banners, says Qian’an, provide both a visually-appealing experience for users and high eCPMs for the business. Once Qian’an’s team noticed the strong lift in both eCPM and ARPU within the first two weeks of testing, they decided to integrate adaptive banners into other games. User retention metrics stayed consistent throughout the experiment and the full rollout.
Qian’an is looking forward to a future where Bigcool’s games will have a wider reach, and plans to continue supporting the business with revenue streams from AdMob. The team is especially excited about AdMob bidding, which ensures Bigcool always displays high-revenue ads and speeds up loading time, eliminating earlier user concerns such as blank rewarded videos. Together with AdMob, Bigcool can keep creating top-quality experiences that generate robust revenue, and confidently advance toward their growth objectives.