Free-to-play game developers typically spend a lot of money on player acquisition, and mobile-gaming intelligence firm Think Gaming is introducing a way to make that cash go further.
The company is announcing today that it is launching what it calls the first mobile-advertising data co-op. Think Gaming intends to use this tool to help developers and marketers share precious data about where to find the players that spend the most money. This knowledge could prevent game makers from wasting their user-acquisition budget on networks filled with bots or people who keep a tight lid on their money purse. Gamers spent $16 billion on mobile games last year worldwide, and the games with the most effective user acquisition, like King’s Candy Crush Saga and Supercell’s Clash of Clans, captures the biggest piece of that. Developers and marketers also spent $10 billion on app-install advertising in 2013 across all categories including games.
“App marketers waste fortunes targeting unqualified audiences, middlemen that don’t create value, and networks filled with bots,” Think Gaming co-founder Michael Hoydich said. “The smartest marketers test each placement to judge return on investment, but the growing number of options means that marketers like Supercell or King, with marketing budgets north of $100 million annually, have distinct market advantages through data and spend.”
Think Gaming’s co-op will enable smaller studios to band together. They may not have a Candy Crush Saga between them, but their combined data could potentially match the biggest publishers on iOS and Android.
“The smartest marketers have done this informally for years, swapping anecdotal advice about which vendors to avoid and which channels are most effective,” said Hoydich. “Think Gaming has built a software platform that makes it fair and easy to share this intelligence. As the $10 billion dollar app install market shifts to programmatic buying, game developers can use the co-op’s data to buy directly, obtaining profitable players at scale.”
Think Gaming’s co-op works on a credit system. Developers that share their data get credits that they can then exchange for more data. Marketers can find out more about specific networks or get data about how well a specific game performed in the U.K.
Think Gaming notes that its exchange already has “several top-grossing game developers” in its program, but it is keeping exactly who that is private at this time. Studios that spend $25,000 a month on advertising and also track player spending are qualified to join.
Competitors in this space include Flurry and Tapjoy, which provide advertising and analytics.
Think Gaming is venture-backed and is part of Y-combinator’s summer batch of startups.