Tap the Box - Income Report

Hey guys, as i promised, i am sharing all the data about our 3rd and latest game Tap the Box which has been the only one with some degree of success. My brother and i started working full time on this exactly 1 year ago with no previous knowledge about making games. He is a programmer, i am an Engineer and the roles are pretty clear: He programs, i do everything else. In the beginning of our 2nd year our goal is clear: Make a million-downloads game. Well, enough talk, lets go to the numbers.

Tap the Box - Costs Summary

Programming time: 4 months full time (my brother)
Design time: 4 months full time (me)
Graphic design: $1.000 (Freelancer)
Music & Sfxs: $ 40 (audiojungle.com)
Promotional video $150 (Freelancer)
Advertising $3.000 (Facebook ads)

So basically, we spent 4 months working and spent an additional $4.290

Tap the Box - Income Summary

December 2013: $3.522 (120k downloads)
January 2014: $1.122 (9k downloads)
February 2014: $380 (4.5k downloads)

December 2013 Income

We used Admobs Banner and Interstitials. The banner appears when the game is paused or in the menus, while interstitials appear every 3 minutes (when the game is paused)
You can see the information on the screenshots.

As you can see, the income peaked on Christmas while it quickly began to decrease after, coinciding with the end of the “New App” period. Not appearing in the New Apps rankings is making the downloads to drop quickly (1.5k/day), hence the income is dropping as well. And also, people are finishing the game (80 levels), so they don´t have many reasons to come back. Nowadays, it is making $90 per day and decreasing.

I would like to know your opinion about making new stages, lets say 60 more. If this would take my brother and i 1 month of full time work, do you think it worth it? Otherwise, what should we expect in terms of income and downloads for the following months?

About advertising & Facebook ads

Our original plan for advertising was to promote the game on facebook on small countries to try to reach the top charts. Therefore, we decided to spend $3.000 divided into 4 small countries: Chile, Austria, Belgium & Switzerland. The first week we would spend $750 in Chile and see the reaction and then invest the rest of the money on the second week. We spent the $750 in Chile, with an average CPC of $0.04. We didn’t track the installs because it needed facebook integration which is quite painful, but i am quite confident that the conversion rate is somewhere between 3-4 clicks = 1 install.
At the beginning of the second week, there were 3 factors that made our strategy to change. First: the impact on the rankings was not what we expected , second: we were not getting enough clicks to spend all the money for the other countries even with a CPC of $0.12 and third: one month before my brother release a very simple game, spent only $150 in ads in USA and the game become a decent hit in terms of downloads but very good in terms of revenue (US players were much more valuable than we thought).

So, what we did was to divide the remaining $2.250 in 3 regions: USA+UK+Australia , Germany + Austria + Switzerland & France + Belgium + Netherlands. For the first group, we mainly got clicks from the US with an average CPC of $0.08, and for the 2nd and 3rd group we got similar amounts of clicks for each country and an average CPC of $0.1. We got a decent amount of downloads, were trending apps for a couple of days in some countries, but the game never really took off. You can check on APPANNIE the rankings we achieved in each country.

What we learnt from this experience:

  • Not to invest in Chile or any 2nd world country, their eCPM its just too low
  • We are going to focus on English speaking countries now: UK, USA, Australia, maybe Canada. Their eCPM is noticeable higher than the other countries.
  • We do not longer believe that a ranking position can be so bought so easily as we thought. So we forget about focusing on small, “conquerable” countries but to go for the big ones.
  • We need to learn so much, but we will persevere until success.

Tap the Box Dec Banner.jpg

Tap the Box Dec Interstitial.jpg

Congrats on making your money back!

So, it seems you need to make more levels ? That would solve the ‘people leaving after finishing the game’ problem!

If the game is still profitable, then I would definitely continue working on it.
Try showing an interstitial upon exit too. It can help supplement the revenue stream and users are least bothered once they are finished playing a game.

Congratulations, you will soon get the money you invested back and lay down to watch the profit grow!

Your game needs more levels for sure. Do you have stats about how many users completed all levels? Try and see which is the last level users complete, perhaps you can see a pattern that is preventing the users from completing all the levels and change something about it. For example, if a level is too difficult, users might quit playing it too soon and you might want to consider making it easier.

I can’t wait to hear your experience with the Facebook ads.

How come you didn’t use appbrain to advertise considering they are the cheapest?

Where are most of your users from? What countries?

Once agai, congratulations, very good job with the game!

I recommend using exit ads, too! I believe the exit ads are the best of all because they come when your users decide to take a break from your game and might want to try something new.

I also recommend adding a More Games button (I usually add that to the exit screen when prompting users to confirm if they want to quit). It’s working almost as good as the interstitial ads. The advantage of a “more games button” is that the conversion rate is usually 2-3 times higher because users click on that button voluntarily.

Ill be expanding the initial post to include information that is being requested, such as our experience with facebook ads :wink:

Speaking of making sure your levels are not too hard and stopping your users from playing, you should read this: Gamasutra - Hot Failure: Tuning Gameplay With Simple Player Metrics

Congratulations. You should try to put a CPI ad network in the interstitial ad rotation like Revmob or Chartboost to make some more money.

Could you expand on what countries you targeted with your ads and do you think the main reason you got so many downloads was because you advertised?

Thats some valuable information, my ad budget was $400 for my last app so I think I should raise the budget for my next app.

Well there you go, more levels means more ads so its pretty clear what to do! :slight_smile:

Step1: Add more levels
Step2: Release as Tap the Box 2
Step3: ?
Step4: Profit!

Good luck in the new year

Thank you for sharing this information, looks like this one will make you some good profits! :slight_smile:
Did you recognize that the release of Tap the Box influenced how your other apps perform?

Or make bonus levels = paid items … eg: $1.99 per 10 levels or something.

Like some people said add an Exit ad, Also i think you should add an other Tap to the title like “Tap Tap the box”

There has been some impact, but its very small. Lets say my previous apps were getting 40 downloads/day, now they get 60-70

Unsupported country :-(, but we are considering it on an hypothetical port to IOS

Start a company in one of the following countries: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answer/150324?hl=en

I’m having the same problem and i’m thinking of using Lotaris In-app Monetization Solution for Android | Lotaris . They have a service called Google Play Store Tax Service where they will become your Merchant of record to take care of your tax.

From their website:

Most developers for Google Play are unaware that they are solely responsible for the sales and other tax for the countries in which they sell their apps. Whether the sales are in the domestic US market or internationally, it is complex to administer the tax for each purchase in each and every country.

Lotaris’ Google Play Store Tax Service takes away the risk and administrative burden by becoming the Merchant of Record and tracking, administering and remitting the taxes to all the relevant tax authorities on your behalf.

You can use them to act as publisher of your game so you can sell apps and IAP. To do this, you must invite them as a user to your account in the Google Play Developer Console. They will take 10% from your revenue. I’m still undecided whether I’ll use their service though. But for developer from unsupported country like ourselves this seems like a good service. Anyway is there anyone with experience with Lotaris?

This is very interesting since i planned to use similar strategy (advertise on smaller countries and my home country). Anyway, could you share how much eCPM you get by country (including 2nd world country)? That would be very helpful. And did you try using some other ad network like AppFlood, MobileCore and AdBuddiz on your game? Perhaps they will perform better on those 2nd world country.

And it would be very helpful if you share some metrics like active install, daily active user, ARPDAU, uninstall rate, etc :slight_smile:

First of all, I think you better open a new developer account where u can put paid apps.

  • I think you can put hints on each level with coins. You can give x coins for completing a level, -5-10x coins for a hint. Then, u can sell coins via in-app purchases + for example, tapjoy advertisement.

Wish you good luck!

I am personally bit sceptic about Facebook campaigns unless you have really big budget.

For the Banner the Impression RPM are:

USA: $1.3
UK: $1.28
Germany: $0.81
France: $0.93
Chile: $0.54
Belgium: $0.94
Netherlands: $0.94

And for the Interstitial:

USA: $5.01
UK: $3.01
Germany: $1.84
France: $1.49
Chile: $1.27
Belgium: $1.38
Netherlands: $1.09

The was ARPDAU = $0.013 the last time we measured it.

About the other ad networks, we decided that it does not worth to spend all the that time looking for the right ad network, implementing different .sdks, making sure is Google compliant, measure which one is performing better, etc, etc, so we prefer to stick to Admob and focus our time to make better games/app. There are so many ad companies promising a thousand things… we just don´t care about them anymore. Besides, Admob has proven to be an excellent ad company, with the highest eCPM, quick, easy and low-fee payments (Western Union works amazing for us).