Grow Your Mobile Game With a DSP: What Does It Take ?

Roberto Tranquilli
July 25, 2023
Grow Your Mobile Game With a DSP: What Does It Take ?

Mobile DSPs have proven a successful user acquisition tool for many mobile games in recent years. Most demand side platform companies help mobile apps grow providing them with sophisticated targeting capabilities, A.I.- powered optimization and automation. 

Speaking of which, Mapendo is a fully managed mobile DSP, with its own tech platform run by a team of experienced advertisers and software engineers. Integrating with all major MMPs and Ad Exchanges allows us to buy ad placements worldwide for all app categories. 

Technology is crucial to our work, since our ML algorithms are able to optimize user acquisition towards any KPI required by our advertisers. Since most mobile games look for ROI when adding new user acquisition partners to their marketing mix, we’ve made it part of our technology. Our algorithms are trained to optimize towards metrics such as user LTV, in-app purchases and retention rate. 

So what does it take to launch app install campaign with Mapendo ? Really a few easy steps which we’ll discuss here. 

Target Users

As stated above, we’re integrated with many premium ad exchanges, which grant us access to traffic worldwide. We’ve been targeting mobile users globally and on both platforms, iOS and Android. 

Besides countries and operating systems, app categories provide an additional targeting option, since we can either whitelist or blacklist app categories, game categories and even specific mobile apps. Actually, it’s part of our optimization strategy to narrow down the media buying to the top performing app publishers. 

After exploring a wide range of app categories, we identify the best ones to buy ad placements from, in terms of CTR and conversion rate, but also retention rate and in-app purchases. When game developers share their predictive analytics software with us, we’re also able to include user LTV in our platform and make it part of our analysis.  


Our second requirement is about creatives. We usually run creatives provided by game developers we work with. We can run all ad formats like banner ads, videos, playables and interstitials. 

For mobile games especially, we focus on video ads, which are more engaging than banners, and are more likely to bring high-quality users. However, videos’ high performance in terms of CTR is balanced by their higher placement cost, which also affects CPI. 

Therefore, we’re able to further optimize video ads’ conversion rates by adding to them an end card, either static or dynamic. A static end card is similar to a landing page, with additional content and call to action compared to the video. Instead, a dynamic end card is no different than a playable ad, which lets the users try the gameplay for a few seconds. 

The combination of video and end card proved to be successful in our latest user acquisition campaigns for mobile games, improving CTRs and generating a ROI 2 times higher than the one generated by banners for android users. 


Last but not least, we need to start our user acquisition campaigns with a clear ROI goal in mind, and an initial CPI, subject to adjustments later on. Indeed, all mobile games have their own predictive model to compute ROI and their own monetization strategy (divided between in-app purchases and in-app advertising).

In addition, any game developer can look at ROI in different days after the install, based on their predictive models and their user funnel within the app. Some of the most common metrics monitored are ROI D0, ROI D7, ROI D30 and so on. 

That’s why it may be helpful to adjust CPI during the course of your app install campaign, affecting mobile games' predictive models and how ROI is computed. Given that mobile games look at ROI in Day-0, Day-7, Day-30 and so on, adjusting CPI can benefit its overall profitability. 

Needless to say, there are lots of ways to improve ROI, by optimizing user acquisition towards metrics like LTV and retention rate, or towards the number of in-app purchases. However, CPI is the solution with the fastest effect on ROI, because it’s totally under DSP’s control and it directly affects ROI. 

To sum up

As you can see there are no hard requirements for mobile games to launch app install campaigns with Mapendo’s DSP. Besides the integration with MMPs, we only need: 

  • Targets (GEOs and platforms)
  • Creatives (especially videos and playables for mobile games)
  • CPI & KPIs

There are also lots of other good practices which can further improve the user acquisition activity, like integrating with ROI predictive models, refreshing creatives periodically and many more. However the only three essential requirements are the ones listed above.