Meet the Godfather Behind Mob Wars’ (Real) Money: Super Rewards
Popular Facebook game Mob Wars has recently been rumored to be the most profitable app on Facebook. While that will never be known for sure, one thing is clear: Mob Wars is making a lot of cash. Probably in the tens of thousands of US dollars per day. How?
One large reason: Mob Wars has baked incentivized CPA offers from Super Rewards directly into the game, and expertly tuned its virtual economy to drive offer conversions without significantly imbalancing the economy or damaging game play. (Mob Wars also works closely with CPA monetization firm Offerpal Media.)
Super Rewards has largely remained quiet on the PR front to date, but the company is working with many of the top developers on Facebook to monetize their games. Super Rewards partners include Mob Wars, Knighthood, Premier Football, and several of the top apps in Zynga’s family of games, including Texas HoldEm Poker and YoVille. The company has built a 14 person team across its Vancouver headquarters, New York office, and soon to be opened San Francisco office.
We recently spent some time with Super Rewards CEO and Co-founder Jason Bailey and President Adam Caplan to learn more about how the company is working with Mob Wars and other leading apps and social games to make real money.
Jason, how does Super Rewards help social app and game developers make money?
What we do exceptionally well is understanding the nuances of all the games we work with. We work closely with developers to tweak and balance their game play and economies around their virtual currencies. Developers come in making $100 a day and we can take them up to $1000 a day in short order.
How detailed do you get?
We provide a broad range of services, everything from pricing specific items to consulting. Some developers have experience with their economies in current or past apps and want our help putting offers in front of their users. Others come to us while their game is still in alpha and really value our input.
The most important thing is balancing your economy properly. You should support all kinds of players well, while remembering that your hardcore users will generate 90% of your revenue.
You want to make sure users want to obtain and spend points, while preserving the quality of the game play. For example, in Mob Wars, in order to replenish your health you can either wait for the system to revitalize you or you can “go to the Godfather” and earn some “favor points.” (see right)
So how do you measure performance?
The core metric we use is dollars per click. We hope our developers can get 25% of their daily active users through a Super Rewards page at some point. Of those, if the economy is balanced correctly, you should see a 40-50% click through rate, and ultimately a net 8-10% conversion rate. Developers get about $1.00-$1.50/conversion for US users, but less for international users. We’re lucky to get $0.06/conversion in China, but we have games operating in Europe and other parts of Asia at $0.25 and up.
So assuming all of a developer’s traffic is US traffic, the developer could see up to $83 per day per thousand DAUs. However, on an average basis across all geographies, we are about half that number. It goes without saying that there is a wide distribution around the average based on quality of app and balance of virtual currency economy.
What kind of apps are doing the best?
Games! Gifting and poking apps don’t do as well. Games that do the best are ones in which the players want to be on top of the leaderboard, collect items, or play games of chance.
Also, keep in mind at that a majority of the revenue generated per user is generated early in the lifetime of the users’ interaction with the games. People spend money developing their characters, climbing the leader board, and unlocking new elements of the game. Once their character is strong, they have many prizes, and have unlocked all the levels – naturally there is less desire to complete offers and pay. It is those top guys though that motivate the little guys to climb and thus spend.
As another example, there is one app that has about 200,000 MONTHLY active users (4-50k DAU). Yesterday, about 14,000 users hit the Super Rewards page (about 30%). The users were about 35% USA, 55% CA, AU, and UK, the remaining 10% all over the world. 5,500 clicks were generated (40% CTR). Revenues were about $4,500 for the day for an EPC of about $0.80. This is a newer app so its earnings per 1,000 DAU is a touch higher than average. Also it is an engaging game with a virtual currency so it is a great fit for us. It is a fairly international app, but nothing unusual. If it had more US users it would earning higher aver EPCs.
So those numbers scale well at the smaller DAUs, but when apps have 500k DAU the formula gets more complicated. That being said, there are PLENTY of apps making $6,000 a day on various platforms. But no single app that I know of making $60,000 a day consistently.
However, we’re just in the beginning. We’re starting to see bigger players move in to the space with higher quality apps. I expect to see some very high quality games released in the next few months.
And some people think our stuff looks hokey, but we purposely make it match the look and feel of the game, like in Mob Wars. That is just how Facebook games look.
Right. So, how much does the social network context affect monetization potential?
The social factor is definitely important in driving games where there is pride or ego involved in being on the top of the list. However, the main reason our partner apps are doing well is entertainment. Casual MMO’s outside of social networks would do just as well. Social networks are just a great way to grow quickly, and play against real friends and family instead of random people you meet in the lobby.
Thanks Jason. Any final thoughts?
We are very bullish on the space. We’ll be moving into other areas like casual games and web games soon.
Our 200 developers love Super Rewards, but they don’t want us to talk about it. But we’ve been optimizing our system over the last year, and are now ready for prime time.