User acquisition and monetization insights from leading app marketers

The Bango ‘Three Minutes With’ series interviews app marketing experts to gain their views and experiences of user acquisition (UA) and monetization in the global marketplace. In our latest interview, Bango Marketplace talks to Martine Spaans, owner of Tamalaki Games, who mainly publish apps serving an audience of mobile-gaming women.  

As a long-time advocate of mobile gaming, Martine has worked with a variety of well-known brands before starting her own publishing company. The success of Tamalaki has relied on Martine’s top-to-toe experience within the gaming industry and expertise at every stage of development.   

Women have been dominant players in the casual mobile gaming market over the past few years (TheGamer). However, women are not the primary target demographic and in majority of cases, app development is not made with this UA or monetization in mind.  

Nintendo’s 2020 ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ release was the first game to be developed by a predominantly female team. Through this female UA and monetization have been newly stimulated for the game series.  

We sat down with Martine to discuss Tamalaki, UA and monetization…. 

How do you monetize your apps?  

Martine Spaans, owner of Tamalaki Games: We monetize our audiences through a combination of ads, rewarded ads with benefits within the app and in-app purchases. The nature of this balance is dependent on the app, its audience and potential audience(s).  

Do you treat monetization and UA as separate activities?  

MS: Tamalaki do take monetization and its opportunities into account. However, in order to successfully acquire users who do spend, and spend well, it in-turn acquires a much higher cost-per-install. Therefore, we only opt for joint strategy for games where it financially makes sense. Great examples of these games are those with a solid 30-day customer retention and those that can be monetized in way to make the most of good average revenues per paying users.  

Some other games have much more ad-driven monetization opportunities, so for those we don’t need to focus on acquiring spending users. For those games, it’s much more important to get users from countries and audiences with good ad cost-per-thousand-impressions.  

How has your approach to UA changed over the last few years?  

MS: Ultimately the basics have not changed much, but through greater data collection Tamalaki are able to trace a lot more of the finer details now. This means we can gain far more insight into how acquired users enjoy our game, what features they use or don’t use, on what kind of game elements they spend money and in-game money on etc.  

These insights really act as our arm, allowing us to operate much more effective and targeted UA campaigns. 

What’s your biggest innovation in UA?  

MS: As Tamalaki are a relatively small publisher we’re not on the forefront for UA innovation or strategy. But we do know a thing or two about how to be smart around our UA campaigns. Our expertise gathered over the years has taught us how to maximize the impact of our relatively low budgets. 

How can app developers generate games that appeal to female UA and monetization?  

MS: I think a lot of casual gaming UA is already targeted at a female audience. There’s a lot of experimentation and variety going on, which is always good.  

I would just recommend staying away from sensitive or gender-based stereotypes within this creative process. For example, if you have a game about home renovation you’re not appealing to women when your ads only show men fixing the house and women standing by helplessly. In doing this you won’t in-turn appeal to female UA and may detract from it.  

What are the largest areas of growth in the future of female gaming? 

MS: Casual gaming has already been dominated by female players for years, especially on mobile. 

However, I do think there is still a lot of room for growth in mid-core and on consoles. Luckily as the diversity of developers is growing and continues to grow, so is the diversity and appeal of a variety of games and gaming platforms.  

About Tamalaki

Tamalaki has published more than 100 casual title mobile games on a variety of different platforms. These include Hidden Object, Match-3, Time Management, Puzzles and Simulations. The Tamalaki team is all-female, which is rare in a historically male-dominated industry. 

It is because of this that the team has gained years of experience in casual gaming that appeals to the female demographic and the high-quality fun experiences these consumers want to have. 

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