Founded in 2018 in Spain, Tellmewow has focused on developing casual mobile game apps with simple mechanics that appeal to audiences of all ages, especially users over 55 years old. The studio uses a hybrid monetization model to generate revenue, with in-app ads accounting for the majority of the studio's income. In just four years, Tellmewow has grown its studio from 4 to 25 employees and has accumulated more than 100 million downloads, largely through organic traffic. To scale its portfolio of apps, the studio began investing in user acquisition (UA) campaigns, primarily with Google Ads.
With more than 200 campaigns running in Google Ads at any given time, this small team lacked the tools and time to fully analyze UA campaign data to optimize for return on ad spend (ROAS). As a result, it was difficult to scale UA campaign spend and the number of installs by market in a profitable way. To do so, the studio needed to understand acquired user's lifetime value (LTV), the cumulative revenue a user generates from the time they install the app, and connect it to UA campaign spend. When they learned about AdMob's impression-level ad revenue feature, the team was excited to try it out.
AdMob’s impression-level ad revenue feature helps calculate more accurate user lifetime value from AdMob and app attribution partners. By connecting impression-level ad revenue with UA campaign spend using the Google Analytics platform, Tellmewow was able to analyze campaign cost per install (CPI) and user LTV data, enabling the team to accurately measure return on ad spend (ROAS). This gave them the insights that they needed to effectively optimize their UA campaigns globally and scale the number of in-app users who were more likely to engage with ads.
The result was a 22% improvement in return on UA campaign ad spend in the first five months of 2022. In their most successful markets, including Brazil, Mexico and the United States, they saw a 31% increase in ROAS
More insight into acquired user ad revenue
When they worked together at a video game studio in Bilbao, Urtzi Jaureguibeitia and Isabel Liébana recognized an untapped market. They knew that many older people — including Jaureguibeitia’s 80-year-old mother — enjoyed playing games on their mobile devices. The mechanics of the games, however, were often too complicated.
In 2018, Jaureguibeitia, Liébana,and their partner Alberto Iglesias decided to launch their own game studio called Tellmewow. The games were successful from the start, with their version of Hangman racking up more than 10 million downloads on Google Play.
“We were very lucky to have one of our first games become so popular,” said Jaureguibeitia. “It’s still one of our most popular games. People play it all around the world.”
Launching more than 10 titles in a year, Tellmewow relied mostly on organic traffic, but Jaureguibeitia and his team realized that they needed to more efficiently scale their user base and began experimenting with paid user acquisition campaigns.
“We were launching 200 or more campaigns through Google Ads,” said José María Martínez Burgos, Marketing Manager at Tellmewow. “But it was very difficult to track all these campaigns and the revenue the acquired users were generating in the app.”
Beside understanding the effectiveness of its ad campaigns, Tellmewow wanted more insight into acquired user lifetime value (LTV) — revenue generated from in-app purchases and revenue from ads. For help, it turned to Google AdMob.
Using impression-level ad revenue to balance paid and organic downloads
After listening to the needs of the team at Tellmewow, the Google team suggested that its new impression-level ad revenue feature could help the studio gauge the effectiveness of its user acquisition campaigns in AdMob.
Jaureguibeitia said the benefits were clear. By connecting impression-level ad revenue with other products like Google Ads Campaigns, Firebase, and Data Studio, Tellmewow could see accurate revenue data from users acquired from paid campaigns. The Google team helped the studio use impression-level ad revenue to build a ROAS dashboard to optimize their campaigns and see at a glance how each campaign performed.
“Looking at one page, we can see which campaigns are working and which campaigns are not,” said Jaureguibeitia. “That means we can make decisions faster. We can switch off the campaigns that aren’t working or put more money into the campaigns that are working.”
Martínez said that for him, impression-level ad revenue helps him strike the right balance between paid and organic downloads.
If we want to reduce the risk for our games, we want to have a balance between paid and organic installs,” he said. “Now, we know what percentage are paid and what percentage are organic, so if a game has only a few percent of paid installs we can increase our investment in a campaign.”
The quality of the users we acquire is very important for us. That's something Google AdMob is definitely helping us to do.
Founder of Tellmewow,
Achieving a 22% improvement in ROAS
According to Martínez, the results from impression-level ad revenue have been “amazing.” In the first 5 months of 2022, the company saw a 22% improvement in return on ad spend (ROAS) for its UA campaigns, compared to the same time period in 2021. The results have been even more striking in markets like Brazil, where the company has seen a 31% in ROAS.
Martínez said that with impression-level ad revenue, the studio was able to spot markets that could benefit from more spending on acquisition campaigns.
“We had some very good results in the United States,” he said. “We knew we had a lot of organic traffic in the region for Hangman and 2 Player Games, two of our most important titles. We weren’t sure we would get the same from a paid campaign. But after experimenting for two months, we started to see a positive ROAS.”
Jaureguibeitia said using impression-level ad revenue led to an increase of more than $1.5M in annual recurring revenue. He says it’s “extra revenue” on top of what the company was already bringing in.
In the future, Jaureguibeitia said the company plans to expand its current roster of games. In addition to games with simple mechanics geared toward young children and older adults, the studio plans to branch out in other areas.
“Our goal is to keep innovating and create more data-oriented games,” he said. “That’s what’s going to help us grow strong.”