With more than a dozen popular titles including “Hit & Run,” “Burger Please,” and “Donut Inc,” Supercent is one of South Korea’s most successful hyper-casual game developers.
The Seoul-based studio relies on in-app advertising for 90% of its revenue, using a variety of ad formats such as interstitials, rewarded, and native ads. Supercent was looking for a way to generate additional revenue growth without impacting performance or game plays. They saw an opportunity with the app open ads format from Google AdMob. “We were already maximizing the efficiency of existing ad formats, and needed something new to generate additional revenue,” says Seyoung Yoon, Head of Growth. “Though other networks support app open ads, we chose AdMob because of its user-friendly user interface and stable SDK.”
Supercent was concerned how app open ads would impact game metrics and crash rates, so it decided to run tests before committing to the new format. The results proved their initial instincts to adopt the new format were the right ones.
Finding the right balance between ad show rates and fast game loads
Starting with one of its most popular titles, “Hit & Run,” Supercent implemented app open ads in half of its global installed base, using Firebase and the Staged Rollout feature in the Play Console for Android. The company ran the A/B tests for two weeks, using Crashlytics to monitor any changes in app stability.
Things did not go smoothly at first. The initial show rate was only 11%, because the app often loaded before ads could be displayed. Supercent solved this problem by adding a loading screen that appeared after the initial splash screen, but before the game initiated.
That improved the show rate to over 40%. They conducted multiple tests, and concluded that 2-3 seconds is the optimal time both for performance and UX. By adjusting the duration of the loading screen, the company was able to show ads without impacting play time or lowering retention.
App open ads help increase revenue without impacting game play
The tests proved a great success. Overall, implementing app open ads increased average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) by a healthy 7%, with no negative impact on retention or crash rates. Now, all of Supercent’s titles use app open ads to generate additional incremental revenue, along with a vastly improved show rate.
“The hyper-casual game genre already uses all available networks and ad inventory to maximize ad revenue, making it difficult to achieve a noticeable increase in ARPDAU,” says Yoon. “In this sense, a 7% increase without negatively impacting game play and requiring minimal development resources is a great achievement.”
Based on the success of this campaign, Supercent’s ad budget has already doubled in the past year. With strong returns, the team is excited to keep building on their winning strategy.
This is only the beginning. Supercent is using bidding and App campaigns. Bidding through AdMob has been a great help in improving ad revenue because it allows us to fully utilize Google's powerful demand. Moreover, by using Google Ads' ARO campaigns, we have been able to attract users who are optimized for ad revenue, and you have also been able to increase your ad spend while maintaining a higher ad ROAS.
Head of Growth, Supercent,