BitMango, based in Pangyo, South Korea, has been making puzzle games for global audiences since 2011. It has developed and published more than 150 puzzle games and aspires to become South Korea’s top data-driven gaming company. BitMango’s culture encourages employees to give feedback and lead projects — regardless of job role — resulting in a space that thrives on collaboration and teamwork.
In the fall of 2019, BitMango’s monetization specialists — Seongeun Hong and Jinseung Choi — noticed they were spending a lot of time managing their waterfall meditation. At the same time, BitMango was experiencing a slowdown in organic growth. Seongeun and Jinseung began looking for an automated way to boost revenue, and found AdMob bidding. With bidding, BitMango boosted average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) by 51%, lifted revenue by 24%, and drove 42% greater revenue-per-thousand impressions (RPM).
Seeking new ways to optimize
At the start of 2019, BitMango began to experience a plateau in growth, so the monetization team began searching for ways to revive it in a sustainable way. The team also wanted to automate the manual waterfall management that would free up resources to focus on other priorities. “We wanted a solution that would let us have management and operational efficiency, because in most cases we spent quite a lot of time managing and optimizing our mediation waterfall,” says Jinseung.
At first, BitMango tried to solve their operational challenges by leveraging their internal business intelligence (BI) system. Jinseung set BitMango’s BI system to begin semi-automating their waterfall, which produced good results but required too many resources. Looking to be more efficient, BitMango decided to try out a real-time bidding (RTB) platform for the first time. “Testing a new tool always brings some risk — but where there is risk there is opportunity. We needed something that could improve our resource efficiency and optimize our growth, and it seemed like RTB could do that for us,” says Jinseung.
BitMango evaluated many RTB solutions, but ultimately chose to work with AdMob bidding due to its reliability, support for cross-format options, and accuracy in reporting. “Ad revenue takes up the majority of our overall revenue, so performance uplift was obviously very important to us,” Seongeun starts, “but at the same time, we can only manually optimize so much until performance falls flat. Not only can bidding drive optimization for us, it can also keep the growth steady.”
Easy implementation with local support
To start off the implementation BitMango first decided to integrate bidding into a few games. To minimize risk, Jinseung chose to test with two games with a small number of daily active users (DAU). Having local and prompt support from the AdMob team in Seoul made the process smooth and easy.. “Based on our experience working with various ad networks, getting local support is extremely important,” says Seongeun. “We value that Google wants to build long-term relationships rather than short-term, output-driven relationships.”
To begin the bidding test, BitMango decided to take an A/B approach with two groups:
- Control group A with a regular waterfall setup, and existing ad units
- Test group B with bidding, and new ad units
The A/B test ran for eight weeks across Android and iOS users in the United States — a market that brings in 70% of BitMango’s ad revenue. During those eight weeks, BitMango tracked its core metrics: ARPDAU, impressions, and RPM.
“Implementing everything was straightforward and developing code for bidding was easy,” says Jinseung, “Any time we ran into an issue, we got prompt and detailed feedback from the AdMob team.”
Achieving sustainable growth
During the initial 8-week test, BitMango saw that the KPIs were coming in at much higher levels with the bidding group. So in January 2020, it expanded bidding into two of its highest-revenue games. With bidding, BitMango saw a 51% increase in ARPDAU, a 24% uplift in revenue, and a 42% boost in RPM. The company’s highest-grossing game, Block Puzzle Triangle Tangram, increased its ARPDAU by 60% and has sustained its growth since the beginning of the year. BitMango also noticed that bidding brought about a series of operational improvements, especially around managing mediation group duplicates. “bidding gave us a performance uplift with effective operations and payment, and that is what ultimately helped us solve our problem,” says Jinseung.
Now, BitMango has eight apps across Android and iOS set up with bidding — but this is only the beginning. The team plans to partner with AdMob to improve in-app purchase (IAP) revenue and optimize its rewarded ads revenue. “We’re looking to expand our relationship with AdMob because there are definitely more opportunities for growth,” says Seongeun.
Implementing everything was straightforward and developing code for bidding was easy. Any time we ran into an issue, we got prompt, and detailed, feedback from the AdMob team.
Monetization Specialist, BitMango,