Arcadian Lab is a leading game developer and publisher that has produced chart-topping Hyper casual games such as Airplane Game Flight Simulator, Super Mart, Animal Rescue, and Police Quest. With a diverse portfolio available on both the App Store and Google Play, the company is actively leveraging paid user acquisition to accelerate growth.
Arcadian Lab, established in 2017, is a globally renowned game studio with its development team based in Lahore, Pakistan, and its publishing team in Canada. It has diversified its portfolio to take ownership over both the development and the publishing of their games.
In an effort to bring about the best possible results from their marketing efforts, Arcadian Lab has worked with Airbridge and implemented a data-driven approach to user acquisition and monetization. This allowed them to effectively scale their business, increase profitability, and achieve global recognition.
For the initial five years of its business, Arcadian Lab primarily worked with external publishing partners, focusing solely on game development while outsourcing game launches, marketing, and monetization.
At the start of 2023, Arcadian Lab decided to pivot its business model from external publishing partnerships to self-publishing, aiming to address the challenges of limited transparency and visibility in their marketing and monetization operations. The team had limited visibility into their marketing and monetization in particular: how their marketing budget was being allocated across different campaigns, which channels were active at specific times, or which games were generating the most revenue in certain countries.
A lot of questions were left unanswered, and the team knew that such lack of transparency was not ideal for scaling the business. They had to be able to make independent, instant, and informed decisions on their spending and earnings based on an accurate understanding.
Transitioning into self-publishing, Arcadian Lab began producing and testing five to ten prototypes every month. By closely monitoring the games’ cost per acquisition (CPA), the team realized which games they had to allocate additional resources for further development. Until this stage, they tracked a single metric on a single platform as speed was their priority.
However, the story was different when it came to launching the selected prototypes. To make sure these games gained sufficient exposure, Arcadian Lab expanded their advertising efforts and ran paid user acquisition (UA) campaigns not just on Google Ads but also on other ad platforms like Facebook Ads, TikTok Ads, and Unity Ads. This marked the point at which attribution became essential because there were multiple metrics to track across multiple platforms. In fact, Shehroz Ali, Co-founder of Arcadian Lab, said accurate attribution was of the “highest priority” as it enabled them to make data-driven decisions about their marketing campaigns.
Arcadian Lab specifically looked for a mobile measurement partner (MMP) rather than a free-of-charge marketing analytics tool because they needed comprehensive insights into the performance of various self-attributing networks (SANs). Even if SANs measure their results internally, it remains crucial to work with an impartial attribution provider like Airbridge to gather data from all other ad networks and identify which deserve the conversion credit. In essence, Arcadian Lab chose to use Airbridge to achieve complete transparency and control over their marketing data.
Arcadian Lab aimed to expand its business globally. While acknowledging the importance of organic growth, the team considered multi-channel paid advertising strategy to be vital for the following reasons:
Hence, the team sorted out the right advertising platforms, created compelling creatives, and launched campaigns. Then, they used Airbridge to monitor key performance metrics such as clicks, installs, cost per install (CPI), and return on ad spend (ROAS). Subsequently, they adapted their plan to invest further in the most promising channels, campaigns, and creatives. This iterative process of tracking, analyzing, and optimizing based on the data collected by Airbridge turned out to be a linchpin of their successful game releases.
Arcadian Lab also monitored lifetime value (LTV) as an internal benchmark for profitability. Knowing the LTV of their users provided insights into how much they could spend on acquiring new users. Hence, once they determined that the numbers aligned with their targets, they scaled their efforts. This data-first approach brought about a significant transformation in their business, leading to a 24% increase in profitability and a 500% boost in their marketing budget. Moreover, Arcadian Lab continues to improve their profitability month after month.
Shehroz emphasized that gaming apps should make use of paid channels to thrive in the global market. He referred to the Pakistani market, where the majority of gaming studios still rely on organic traffic, noting that search engines and app markets are altering their algorithms over time and that competition is intensifying in the mobile gaming industry. He therefore advised smaller businesses to give paid advertising a try, starting with one marketing channel, and then expand to other channels.
Arcadian Lab boldly embarked on a self-publishing journey, which was not perfect when they were yet to have the expertise in user acquisition and monetization. However, the difficulty of the first time also served as a valuable learning experience and paved the way for improved performance and greater confidence in subsequent attempts. Arcadian Lab’s story serves as an inspiration to businesses aiming to thrive in the dynamic world of mobile gaming and beyond.
Having gained profound insights into every step of launching a game, from initial ideation to achieving global recognition, Arcadian Lab is striving to create games with higher LTV and retention rates. They are also planning to develop a hybrid monetization model that combines in-app ads (IAA) with in-app purchases (IAP) to boost their overall app revenue.
On his final note, Shehroz strongly recommended Airbridge for any gaming apps seeking to enhance their marketing efficiency, appreciating its timely customer support and cost-effectiveness. As they continue to break new ground in the industry, Arcadian Lab remains an exemplar of how innovative approaches and data-driven insights lead to unwavering success and growth.