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The power of programmatic advertising: How Liftoff helped Zupee boost ROI by 15%

Zupee's twist on board games captured 80 million users, reshaping the mobile gaming market with Liftoff's programmatic ads for optimal ROI.

Zupee is different from your ordinary, run-of-the-mill online gaming company. It has redefined skill-based mobile gaming by offering classic board games you know and love—including Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, and even Trump Cards—with a twist: the chance to win real cash. This innovative approach helped Zupee become the market leader in India's casual and board game market, boasting over 80 million registered users across its portfolio.

Unlike most gaming apps, real money games are unique because they’re typically downloaded directly from the developer's site rather than app stores. This is beneficial as it means they bypass the in-app purchase commission fees imposed by the App Store and Google Play, which affect most mobile games. However, that comes with the drawback of making these games somewhat more challenging to market.

The challenge: Reduce costs while maintaining growth

That challenge is what Zupee encountered when it sought to maximise its growth as a startup in India. After scaling by buying on ad networks, affiliates, and walled-garden platforms, its costs quickly skyrocketed once reach increased. These high install and first-action costs also coincided with policy changes: India raised its goods and services tax (GST) on online gaming companies last year.

Zupee suddenly needed to lower costs without slowing down growth or revenue gains. The solution? Programmatic advertising with Liftoff. Programmatic advertising is the practice of using AI and machine learning to automate the sale of ad inventory. It ensures ads target the best audiences in real time, ultimately delivering advertisers the best value for money. 

As a bonus, programmatic advertising shines in its scalability. Marketers can effortlessly manage multiple far-reaching campaigns across diverse channels and devices with one platform.

The solution: Laser-focused targeting on premium audiences

Zupee began running campaigns with Accelerate, Liftoff’s DSP, to test programmatic campaigns on Android for one of its flagship games, Ludo Supreme Gold. Powered by Liftoff ML, Accelerate optimises for return on ad spend (ROAS) with precise targeting. Trained on the profiles of higher-value users, Liftoff ML accurately determines how likely users are to spend, driving better ROI while keeping costs low. 

Liftoff ran APK download campaigns that drove users directly to the Zupee site, and the campaign saw immediate results:

  • Reduced acquisition costs: Accelerate lowered Zupee’s campaign acquisition costs by targeting first-time user deposits. 

  • Higher ROI: The company saw higher ROI on ROAS campaigns to acquire high-revenue users.

  • Optimised supply paths: Accelerate boosted the reach of Zupee’s campaigns by expanding their exposure to higher-value gamers. 

Zupee also boosted clicks and instals by working with Liftoff’s Creative Studio, a team experienced in driving skill-based game campaign conversions that leverage unique ad formats built for maximising engagement. One of Creative Studio’s high-performing formats is triple-page ads, a creative experience that combines the best aspects of video, static, and interactive (i.e., playable) ads into a single experience. In 2023, Liftoff found a 20% increase in average installs per mille (IPM) from triple-page ad experiences compared to more traditional formats. 

Creative Studio also specialises in long-form video ads that combine gameplay, UGC, and other elements into a more engaging experience. These are proving increasingly popular with users, with Liftoff Direct research showing spending on long-form video ads increased by 245% last year.

The results: Delivering more games to an expanding audience

Within the first seven days of launch on Android, Accelerate reached Zupee’s initial CPA targets, beating the CPA benchmarks set in the first month by 12% on average. With ads built or enhanced by Creative Studio, Zupee saw consistently improved install rates. Based on a 30-day period, triple-page ads drove a 25% lift in IPM, while long-form videos drove an 11% lift in IPM.

By optimising for ROAS, Accelerate outperformed Zupee’s initial goals by 15% overall. In today’s competitive mobile landscape, focusing on ROAS is the best way to ensure you get the most out of every dollar spent. You can track which ads drive actual sales and conversions, allowing you to refine your strategy and avoid wasting money on ineffective campaigns. Zupee’s other KPIs displayed similar performance boosts, including average revenue per user (ARPU). 

Following the impressive success of the Ludo Supreme Gold campaigns, Zupee has maintained its collaboration with Liftoff. Liftoff's ability to deliver high ROI and cost-effective campaigns has driven the growth of Zupee's ad spend on the Android platform. Now, Liftoff is a key partner for Zupee, playing a pivotal role as the gaming company expands its audience and portfolio of games.

Nishant Jaiswal, vice president of Marketing at Zupee, said, “Liftoff Accelerate has significantly improved the ROI for our campaigns. Working with Liftoff has helped keep our costs low as we continue to scale our audience. We see them as an essential partner as we discover new markets for our games.”

Ready to elevate your app's performance? Get in touch with Liftoff to discover how you can enhance your mobile advertising strategy.

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