App Marketing

Hardcore Optimization: User Acquisition Results in Real-Time

Dale Carr
Founder and CEO

Our friends at Leadbolt contributed this story of a hardcore game developer looking to drive high-quality installs, optimizing for retention rates and level completions. Read on to see how they solved it.

As a high performance advertising platform, we pride ourselves on the strength of our relationships across all corners of the mobile marketing ecosystem. From our mobile attribution partners, to our mediation and framework partners, and certainly not least our community of chart-topping app publishers and advertisers, we are proud to partner with the best and brightest in the industry.

We’re especially inspired by our relationship with Adjust because of the results that our clients achieve when our ad-serving technology and attribution technology work together. We’ve worked hard to make our integration with Adjust so robust and seamless that the passing of data in real time brings fierce optimization capability, and keeps our advertiser clients competitive and ahead of the User Acquisition race.

Recently a maker and marketer of hard-core games turned to Leadbolt and Adjust to drive acquisition volume, without compromising quality. While we choose to keep their name confidential, we’re excited to share exactly how attribution data informed their campaign strategy to achieve amazing results.

Category Hardcore Game
Platform iOS and Android
Region Global UA
Ad Platform Leadbolt
Attribution adjust

Here are the metrics that were tracked, and how the data was turned into actionable insights to drive better mobile campaign performance and reach their ROI goals swiftly:

D5 Retention

Achieving strong Retention must be a cornerstone of any UA campaign. While it takes considerable effort and resources (time and money) for app marketers to attract users, it takes only a few moments for an acquired user to delete an app. This is why prioritizing the quality of your users over mere volume of users is the surest way to achieve lasting, continual growth.

For this hardcore game title, the goal was to acquire quality users who kept the game installed and returned to play during the first week (Day 1-5).

(Curious what the benchmark day-5 retention rate looks like? Check out adjust’s Mobile Benchmarks for average retention rates for every vertical.)

After tracking installs and Retention Rates on Day 1 – 5, we easily and accurately attributed where these high quality users are coming from. The campaign targeting was rapidly optimized and streamlined to mine the reliable sources that delivered those high LTV users.

By tracking D5 retention, we were able to efficiently acquire loyal new players while making the most from every dollar spent. The game marketer was able to spend money on what is working, and stop spending on what isn’t.

Level Completion

Tracking your newly acquired users’ in-game behavior will uncover the events that are driving your revenue and inform your targeting practices. What behaviors are indicative of a quality user? Do players who complete level 5 in your game spend the most on in-app purchases? Are players who complete the tutorial more loyal?

Once you discover these correlations, tracking the desired post-install events and user behaviors within your app that are indicative of the kind of users you want to keep attracting (e.g, app progression, and level and tutorial completions), will improve your campaign performance. Using this data, you can then tie those events back to the sources that delivered users with these preferred behaviors and characteristics.

For this Hardcore game advertiser, we noticed that users who completed up to level 4 had the highest rate of making in-app purchases. Therefore, returning to the sources that delivered these active users was an effective way filter for quality.

New User Demographics

Understanding key demographics can shape the profile of your ideal users, and help you stay ahead of changing user trends. We were able to provide detailed engagement data, the geographic breakdown of where the highest quality users are coming from, and understand which devices and carriers delivered the best new players.


Since running the campaign Leadbolt has delivered over 100,000 high quality installs in large countries such as the US and UK, in addition had the ability to isolate pockets of traffic in smaller more competitive counties, such as Belgium and Austria. Initially, the team quickly identified that the most success came from our native publishers and a strategy was developed to ramp up on these sources. As a result, a private deal was set up which allowed us to receive first call in the majority of instances, further yet increasing scale and performance.

In short, through the programmatic capacity of the Leadbolt platform, coupled with the experience and dedicated management of the staff, Leadbolt was able to deliver results above and beyond the advertiser’s needs and expectations.