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Navigating Success in Mobile Gaming: Pauline Berger from Million Victories

Million Victories are the creators of the real-time MMO strategy game, Million Lords, which has garnered 2.5 million downloads and an avid player base. To gain insights into the strategies behind their success, we had the opportunity to sit down with a key figure at Million Victories: Pauline Berger, Head of UA.



Meet Pauline: Head of UA at Million Victories

I've been fortunate to spend the last year and a half as the head of User Acquisition at Million Victories. In this role, I've had the privilege of overseeing our entire User Acquisition strategy, budget allocation, and managing relationships with various ad networks and partners. My journey in the mobile gaming industry spans over a decade, and during this time, I've seen firsthand the ever-evolving landscape of app marketing. I started out managing marketing for Ragnarok Online. From there, I ventured into User Acquisition for Facebook games like Criminal Case. I spent some time in data analysis, and then returned to gaming, working at Ubisoft and a start-up called Kaiho Games. I then rejoined Addict Mobile working on Otome Games, then I joined 8SEC on hypercasual games before finding my current role at Million Victories.

Million Victories: A Game-Changer

At Million Victories, our claim to fame is our real-time MMO strategy game, Million Lords. With over 2.3 million downloads and counting, our ambitions are set high as we plan to accelerate our UA efforts in the coming year. We’ve been fortunate to receive consistent features from both Google and Apple in their respective app stores. But what truly sets us apart is the unparalleled level of player engagement we've achieved. On average, our players spend 1 hour and 42 minutes in our game every day. And for those at the highest level, known as the League, the daily playtime extends to nearly 5 hours. Most importantly, this dedication translates into monetization. Our audience has an impressive RPDAU (Revenue Per Daily Active User) of €2.60, which is quite high for a mobile game.

Finding the perfect creative

When it comes to retaining users, we've found that the impact of creative elements in UA and retargeting cannot be overstated. Discovering that one perfect creative that resonates with our audience has the potential to be a game-changer. It not only allows us to increase our ad spend but also boosts our Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

On top of that, we've been focusing on User-Generated Content (UGC) in our creative strategy. We test out numerous creators, looking for the right profiles to create content that strikes a chord with our audience.

Player engagement is key for user retention

Beyond UA, player engagement and retention are critical for a game like ours. The player lifecycle is very long at Million Lords: users we acquire can be active for years, making re-engagement essential to our app’s longevity. Our product team plays a pivotal role in keeping players engaged over the long term. We've implemented a system of seasons within our game, resetting every two weeks to keep competitive players interested and committed.

When it comes to retargeting campaigns, we employ a precise strategy that aligns with the unique features of our game. Million Lords has a city protection feature, which means that users receive a four-day protection from attack by other players. We focus a lot of our efforts on the users who have received this protection, as they have a vested interest in returning after a specific period of time. This approach gives us a clear benchmark against which we can measure success (four days) plus an incentive for users to come back. 

Currently, 5% of our total budget is allocated to retargeting, focusing exclusively on paying players who haven't engaged for at least four days. However, as our budget increases, we plan to increase this percentage and also include non-paying players who exhibit high engagement, creating new opportunities for growth.

Challenges in the Mobile Gaming Arena

Even a successful game like Million Lords faces challenges, and two significant hurdles come to mind:

  1. The SKAN Challenge and Privacy Data: The introduction of SKAN has posed a universal challenge for UA. It’s limited our access to crucial data and complicated campaign optimization. We've grappled with the high cost of campaigns due to the need to set substantial budgets and the lengthy wait times for data. However, we've devised a solution in partnership with Pecan, a predictive ROAS partner, which allows us to optimize campaigns effectively.
  2. High CPI for Strategy Games: Strategy games like Million Lords command a high Cost Per Install (CPI). Given the substantial investment required, the challenge lies in acquiring players who will stay in the game for an extended period. While some competitors use ads that don't reflect the actual gameplay to lower their CPI and acquire a larger pool users who may not stay for the long haul, we've opted for transparency. We prefer honest advertising that attracts players genuinely interested in the game, ensuring long-term commitment that aligns with our mission.

Success in Mobile Gaming 

​​I’ve been in mobile gaming for nearly 15 years, and there are a few key takeaways that stand out. Creative elements are pivotal for user acquisition and retention. Our commitment to player engagement is essential for long-term success. We've tackled challenges like SKAN data limitations and high CPI with adaptability and transparent advertising. These lessons are invaluable for anyone in the mobile gaming industry, emphasizing the importance of dedication, innovation, and authenticity for success.