PG Connects London, is one of the world's best attended and most influential events for mobile games developers. This then provided the perfect platform from which to broadcast the news of Papaya's re-entry into the EMEA marketplace, and I was proud to represent Papaya there.
As well as Papaya, other exhibitors at the show included Facebook, Chartboost, MoPub, Outfit7, Hatch, Mobvista and YeahMobi. Our stand had one of the best positions in the hall, near the entrance, so that we were one of the first exhibitors to be seen by many of the visitors. I was lucky to have with me on the stand my former colleague from Papaya, Lorena Gradinaru who has a great understanding of the mobile space and was also excellent in dealing with the various contacts we made.
PG Connects London though is not just an exhibition, but also a well-respected conference and is in my opinion the main draw for the thousands of game developers who flock to London for the show. Papaya was lucky enough to be asked to join a panel discussion on user acquisition and game monetization, and I also was able to make it to several of the sessions.
The topics that everyone, I mean everyone was talking about were fraud and how this was still an increasing problem in UA campaigns. The relative transparency and effectiveness of Facebook advertising, but how this was suffering due to cost inflation of advertising and the need to broaden the advertising base that game developers depended on.
Topics that were noticeable by their lack of coverage included in app purchases, reflective of their declining importance as a revenue stream. There was less coverage of Twitter as opposed to Twitch, but perhaps not as much on eSports as I would have thought. This might not have been the right show for them though.
Other topics that attracted interest were the growth of Facebook instant games and services like Hatch which provide users with access to 100s of games without having to download them all. They described it like a Spotify for gamers, and like Spotify it could very well be useful not just in terms of minimizing storage, but also helping gamers discover titles that they might not have come across otherwise.
For Papaya and our partners though I think the topics of greatest relevance were those of fraud, transparency and accountability. Over recent years Facebook has pretty much become the promotional channel of choice for game developers, with most budgets for many game developers being devoted to Facebook and other social media platforms.
Figures quoted recently suggest that Facebook advertising costs has risen on average 48% in the last 12 months. One game developer I spoke to said that the acquisition costs now for an active gamer were over $20. With the decline of in app purchases this means that the focus is ever more on making advertising within the game effective.
In terms of advertising formats, rewarded video was still very much the flavour of the month, both for advertisers and publishers. Other more interactive formats like playable ads were seen to be important in the market moving forward and it was hoped both rewarded video and playable ads could provide the catalyst to help draw brand advertisers into the market.
Mobile gaming has one of the most sophisticated ecosystems going and is semidetached from the rest of digital. It is unusual in that neither Google or Facebook are that big as monetization partners, with game developers more likely to have SDKs from the likes of Ironsource or Chartboost. It also has a well-developed video advertising market, which is dominated by ads for other games.
Getting brands involved in this market would vastly increase the advertising revenue base that game developers could tap into and help them fund better acquisition campaigns. One company I spoke to Ironsource have focused the majority of their sales effort into this, believing correctly I think game developers will continue to buy rewarded video without needing much encouragement from them.
My panel focused on issues around CPI, and how this had changed in recent years. The point I looked to make was that for many advertisers the installation was now just another metric being measured and no longer end point for how success was judged. It's not new but now much more attention was paid to post install KPIs such as retention rate, in app purchase rate and how users related to the adverts which would ultimately determine ROI.
With me on the panel were representatives from Chartboost, Outfit7 and Snowprint Games, a King.com backed startup. It was a good panel and I think that many of the points we made resonated with the audience.
So, what did the show do for Papaya, was it worth the time and money? I think yes undoubtedly.
First, it was a wonderful way to show that Papaya are back in the EMEA market as a company to be taken seriously.
Second many of the issues facing game developers are ones that we can help solve, Facebook advertising costs rising, talk to us about how we can get better value for your social media advertising. Worried about where your ads are going and potential fraud, talk to us about the Papaya DSP and how you can get premium display for your performance campaign.Taking part demonstrated to me the vitality of the EMEA games market and the potential it has for Papaya. We won't get big in overnight, but with our products and market experience it won't take forever either. Now looking forward to the next event.