Having managed affiliate programmes and media buys in the social gaming space since Q4 2013, we stay on top of the best traffic sources out there – and keep our eyes focused on acquisition costs. This includes all types of devices (desktop, Facebook, iOS, and Android), as well as all varieties of traffic (incentivized versus non-incentivized).

With new traffic sources continuously entering the market, we wanted to provide a snapshot of who’s out there and who can best meet your needs in 2015.

Paid Traffic Sources

  • Facebook ads (mobile): The most consistent mobile traffic source on a CPI basis that advertisers are comfortable with. Mobile app installs has been the driver of Facebook’s advertising growth, and has helped a number of apps achieve incredible daily average user (DAU) and monthly average user (MAU) numbers. In 2015, you can expect costs to continue rising as competition increases, making it harder for operators to achieve the same ROI they’ve enjoyed in the past.
  • Twitter ads (mobile): With 78% of Twitter users accessing the platform via mobile, the company has introduced a system to monetise traffic via app installs. Targeting trending words using hashtags (#socialgaming, #socialcasino, #socialgames, etc.) and drilling down geo-location and devices used, Twitter is one of the hottest CPC-based platforms to trial in 2015.
  • MSN ads: Offering advertising space in popular apps and programmes like Skype, MSN is trying to appeal to advertisers by varying the different types of ad formats (mobile & desktop) available to them. Leveraging the popularity of some of their products, MSN could be your next hidden gem for 2015.
  • iAds: Getting ads onto apps on mobile devices couldn’t be any easier. Apple has created a platform to allow you to get the eyeballs you’re after. Setup is simple, following four easy steps: Select your audience, pick your placement, create your ad and then set your price.

Ad Networks & Affiliate Networks

Networks are a great source of traffic to tap into. There is a plethora of networks offering desktop and mobile traffic, which are made-up of hundreds to thousands of publishers each. Networks have varying degrees of traffic volumes, as well as traffic quality, within them.

Some networks offer cross promotion within already existing games in their own network (MauDau), some serve ads on existing websites (CPMStar), and others can offer up new advertisers to their publishers on a daily basis (MauLead).

Our Income Access Network is uniquely a place where iGaming affiliates and social gaming publishers coexist. They generate quality traffic and drive it to operators on either fixed CPL/CPI rates, or on a revenue share basis (of player deposits). Media buys are also available, on either CPM- or CPC-type remuneration structures. With rising CPI costs on paid platforms, ad and affiliate networks will continue to be leaned-on in 2015. Affiliates and publishers will play a greater role this year, as operators will continue to seek quality traffic at costs within their budget.

Traditional Marketing Means

With rising costs on devices, we are seeing more and more companies turn to traditional channels like billboards and television audiences as a source of new users. A number of these campaigns are extremely creative and captivate audiences. Most notable among these, in our opinion, is the Clash of Clans and Boom Beach from Supercell. They are able to be funny, cute, and get the message of the games across in a 30-second TV spot.

The only downside to television ads is the inability to track the number of user installs that come from this source. However, companies can keep their eyes on user installs/data when the commercials air, as well as on app-tracking platforms such as AppAnnie.

Organic Traffic via App Store Optimisation (ASO)

A focus on app store optimisation (ASO) should be part of your 2015 plan. However, there are only a few factors that are completely within your control. The most important of these is the app title and description, meaning that you have to make your 4,000 characters count. Hit on keywords that matter, without being spammy, and ensure you have appealing screenshots and a nice app icon to support the content. Remember, the more people that download your app, the more likely it is to be downloaded.

We’re all excited to see how much larger the social gaming and specifically the social casino market will grow in 2015. Superdata is estimating growth of approximately 30% to $3.4 billion from the $2.7 billion raked-in during 2014. We can’t wait to see what happens over the next 12 months.