100 Million+ Installs with Zero Paid User Acquisition Spend

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4

Anette Staloy (VP of Business & Marketing at Dirtybit) talks about how they crossed 100+ million installs for the Fun Run series of games with no paid marketing whatsoever – by relying primarily on their community to capitalize on a surprising burst of early virality.

Source:
100 Million+ Installs with Zero Paid User Acquisition Spend
(no direct link to watch/listen)
(direct link to watch/listen)
Type:
Podcast
Publication date:
February 24, 2020
Added to the Vault on:
March 1, 2020
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💎 #
1

Dirtybit brought in-app the language that they were seeing kids using on Twitter when talking about the game (e.g. being able to post "Wanna catch an L?" after a race)

07:15
💎 #
2

"Optimize for luck" → make it easy for virality to happen based on how you're seeing people use your game.

09:48
💎 #
3

They also recruit "ambassadors" that get virtual goods (character equipment) and they share information with them before sharing with other players. The ambassadors create engaging content, competitions, new feature introduction, etc. Community-made content is the most engaging.

13:10
💎 #
4

To stop cannibalization from older games they first removed Fun Run (1) in Turkey only → downloads went to Fun Run 2 so they removed Fun Run 2 and then ended up removing the previous titles in the different localizations.

22:41
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💎 #
1

Dirtybit brought in-app the language that they were seeing kids using on Twitter when talking about the game (e.g. being able to post "Wanna catch an L?" after a race)

07:15
💎 #
2

"Optimize for luck" → make it easy for virality to happen based on how you're seeing people use your game.

09:48
💎 #
3

They also recruit "ambassadors" that get virtual goods (character equipment) and they share information with them before sharing with other players. The ambassadors create engaging content, competitions, new feature introduction, etc. Community-made content is the most engaging.

13:10
💎 #
4

To stop cannibalization from older games they first removed Fun Run (1) in Turkey only → downloads went to Fun Run 2 so they removed Fun Run 2 and then ended up removing the previous titles in the different localizations.

22:41
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💎 #
1

Dirtybit brought in-app the language that they were seeing kids using on Twitter when talking about the game (e.g. being able to post "Wanna catch an L?" after a race)

07:15
💎 #
2

"Optimize for luck" → make it easy for virality to happen based on how you're seeing people use your game.

09:48
💎 #
3

They also recruit "ambassadors" that get virtual goods (character equipment) and they share information with them before sharing with other players. The ambassadors create engaging content, competitions, new feature introduction, etc. Community-made content is the most engaging.

13:10
💎 #
4

To stop cannibalization from older games they first removed Fun Run (1) in Turkey only → downloads went to Fun Run 2 so they removed Fun Run 2 and then ended up removing the previous titles in the different localizations.

22:41
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What organic growth means for Dirtybit

Founders wanted to recreate "Sonic" multiplayer game but on mobile and launched Fun Run in September 2012.

First "viral" idea: asked players to tweet #funrun to win coins.

Word of mouth mostly originated in a high schools in Texas and the multiplayer aspect was key.

[💎@07:15] They brought in-app the language that they were seeing kids using on Twitter when talking about the game (e.g. being able to post "Wanna catch an L?" after a race)

People were already making/sharing a lot of content (like videos) so they made it easier to share content as well. Seasonality played a big role too: easier when people were procrastinating for exams are together as a family (e.g. huge spike on Thanksgiving).

[💎@09:48] "Optimize for luck" → make it easy for virality to happen based on how you're seeing people use your game.

More than 1/2 of the installs are still coming from brand searches.


Community: featuring fan videos, fan art and live ops

There is now a newsfeed in the app to mention new updates but also feature videos (that they source on YouTube). This led to an increase of video sharing.

They also have fan art on friday #funrunfriday that allows players to win something in the game.


They have frequent updates and events/live ops going on.

[💎@13:10] They also recruit "ambassadors" that get virtual goods (character equipment) and they share information with them before sharing with other players. The ambassadors create engaging content, competitions, new feature introduction, etc. Community-made content is the most engaging.

They keep an eye on:

  • Trends, memes, challenges to create content accordingly,
  • User feedback.


Metrics they use to monitor impact of community management for each channel:

  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Followers

They follow their users' time (US users), not their time.


They use deep linking to try an attribute downloads to community management.

Half of the community management efforts is aimed at new users, and the other half is recruiting campaigns in the game.


Using paid UA since they reached 100+ million downloads

In 2017 the compared metrics with other game studios and realized there was a lot of room for improvement when it comes to monetization and ARPU.

That's how they got started on paid UA and switched focus from increasing the user base to monetizing.

Organic installs are still 80% of total installs.


ASO and localization

Localized both the game and product listings but not a big game changer so far. They monitor the languages to spot potential.

They test icons, screenshots, etc.


Mistakes

Growth challenges when the team grew quickly: too many opinions, etc. They had to formalize who can make decisions.

Canabilizing their own app: the older versions of Fun Run cannibalized Fun Run 3 which was problematic because Fun Run 3 had better metrics (ARPDAU 2x better and better retention as well). They tried to:

  • "Unoptimize" the older games by removing keywords (didn't work)
  • [💎@22:41] Remove Fun Run (1) in Turkey only → downloads went to Fun Run 2 so they removed Fun Run 2 and then ended up removing the previous titles in the different localizations (besides NO apparently).

As a small team they have to be very strict on how they prioritize.


Given the amount of downloads they had they also leverage cross-promotion (from older games) and retarget users on old players.


In 2020, organic traction like this would probably not be possible.



The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.
↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
Upgrade Your Plan

What organic growth means for Dirtybit

Founders wanted to recreate "Sonic" multiplayer game but on mobile and launched Fun Run in September 2012.

First "viral" idea: asked players to tweet #funrun to win coins.

Word of mouth mostly originated in a high schools in Texas and the multiplayer aspect was key.

[💎@07:15] They brought in-app the language that they were seeing kids using on Twitter when talking about the game (e.g. being able to post "Wanna catch an L?" after a race)

People were already making/sharing a lot of content (like videos) so they made it easier to share content as well. Seasonality played a big role too: easier when people were procrastinating for exams are together as a family (e.g. huge spike on Thanksgiving).

[💎@09:48] "Optimize for luck" → make it easy for virality to happen based on how you're seeing people use your game.

More than 1/2 of the installs are still coming from brand searches.


Community: featuring fan videos, fan art and live ops

There is now a newsfeed in the app to mention new updates but also feature videos (that they source on YouTube). This led to an increase of video sharing.

They also have fan art on friday #funrunfriday that allows players to win something in the game.


They have frequent updates and events/live ops going on.

[💎@13:10] They also recruit "ambassadors" that get virtual goods (character equipment) and they share information with them before sharing with other players. The ambassadors create engaging content, competitions, new feature introduction, etc. Community-made content is the most engaging.

They keep an eye on:

  • Trends, memes, challenges to create content accordingly,
  • User feedback.


Metrics they use to monitor impact of community management for each channel:

  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Followers

They follow their users' time (US users), not their time.


They use deep linking to try an attribute downloads to community management.

Half of the community management efforts is aimed at new users, and the other half is recruiting campaigns in the game.


Using paid UA since they reached 100+ million downloads

In 2017 the compared metrics with other game studios and realized there was a lot of room for improvement when it comes to monetization and ARPU.

That's how they got started on paid UA and switched focus from increasing the user base to monetizing.

Organic installs are still 80% of total installs.


ASO and localization

Localized both the game and product listings but not a big game changer so far. They monitor the languages to spot potential.

They test icons, screenshots, etc.


Mistakes

Growth challenges when the team grew quickly: too many opinions, etc. They had to formalize who can make decisions.

Canabilizing their own app: the older versions of Fun Run cannibalized Fun Run 3 which was problematic because Fun Run 3 had better metrics (ARPDAU 2x better and better retention as well). They tried to:

  • "Unoptimize" the older games by removing keywords (didn't work)
  • [💎@22:41] Remove Fun Run (1) in Turkey only → downloads went to Fun Run 2 so they removed Fun Run 2 and then ended up removing the previous titles in the different localizations (besides NO apparently).

As a small team they have to be very strict on how they prioritize.


Given the amount of downloads they had they also leverage cross-promotion (from older games) and retarget users on old players.


In 2020, organic traction like this would probably not be possible.



The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.

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↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
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What organic growth means for Dirtybit

Founders wanted to recreate "Sonic" multiplayer game but on mobile and launched Fun Run in September 2012.

First "viral" idea: asked players to tweet #funrun to win coins.

Word of mouth mostly originated in a high schools in Texas and the multiplayer aspect was key.

[💎@07:15] They brought in-app the language that they were seeing kids using on Twitter when talking about the game (e.g. being able to post "Wanna catch an L?" after a race)

People were already making/sharing a lot of content (like videos) so they made it easier to share content as well. Seasonality played a big role too: easier when people were procrastinating for exams are together as a family (e.g. huge spike on Thanksgiving).

[💎@09:48] "Optimize for luck" → make it easy for virality to happen based on how you're seeing people use your game.

More than 1/2 of the installs are still coming from brand searches.


Community: featuring fan videos, fan art and live ops

There is now a newsfeed in the app to mention new updates but also feature videos (that they source on YouTube). This led to an increase of video sharing.

They also have fan art on friday #funrunfriday that allows players to win something in the game.


They have frequent updates and events/live ops going on.

[💎@13:10] They also recruit "ambassadors" that get virtual goods (character equipment) and they share information with them before sharing with other players. The ambassadors create engaging content, competitions, new feature introduction, etc. Community-made content is the most engaging.

They keep an eye on:

  • Trends, memes, challenges to create content accordingly,
  • User feedback.


Metrics they use to monitor impact of community management for each channel:

  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Followers

They follow their users' time (US users), not their time.


They use deep linking to try an attribute downloads to community management.

Half of the community management efforts is aimed at new users, and the other half is recruiting campaigns in the game.


Using paid UA since they reached 100+ million downloads

In 2017 the compared metrics with other game studios and realized there was a lot of room for improvement when it comes to monetization and ARPU.

That's how they got started on paid UA and switched focus from increasing the user base to monetizing.

Organic installs are still 80% of total installs.


ASO and localization

Localized both the game and product listings but not a big game changer so far. They monitor the languages to spot potential.

They test icons, screenshots, etc.


Mistakes

Growth challenges when the team grew quickly: too many opinions, etc. They had to formalize who can make decisions.

Canabilizing their own app: the older versions of Fun Run cannibalized Fun Run 3 which was problematic because Fun Run 3 had better metrics (ARPDAU 2x better and better retention as well). They tried to:

  • "Unoptimize" the older games by removing keywords (didn't work)
  • [💎@22:41] Remove Fun Run (1) in Turkey only → downloads went to Fun Run 2 so they removed Fun Run 2 and then ended up removing the previous titles in the different localizations (besides NO apparently).

As a small team they have to be very strict on how they prioritize.


Given the amount of downloads they had they also leverage cross-promotion (from older games) and retarget users on old players.


In 2020, organic traction like this would probably not be possible.