Case Study: Magic Tavern x Smadex

About Magic Tavern

Since its founding in 2013, Magic Tavern has created several entertaining mobile and tablet games. In recent years, the San Francisco-based gaming company has found repeated success in casual games, with its 2019 game Matchington Mansion achieving over 100 million downloads worldwide. It looked to reach similar heights in its next gaming app Project Makeover.

Project Makeover

In a cross-media collaboration facilitated by IMG, the Emmy-award winning Netflix show Queer Eye from Scout Productions staged a take over of Magic Tavern’s Project Makeover app. Taking the “Fab Five” characters from the show, the app is a stylish blend of fashion and interior decorating with match-3 puzzles.

Magic Tavern is a partner studio of AppLovin, a leading marketing platform, who they work with for software solutions and creative expertise to ensure Project Makeover is another one of its successes.

Challenge: New marketing strategy needed

Since Matchington Mansion’s triumph in 2019, the mobile advertising economy has experienced seismic shifts in user privacy. The enforcement of Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency in 2021 limited marketers’ access to IDFA. As the monetization model for Project Makeover relies more on in-app purchases than ad revenue, Magic Tavern found mobile marketing and user acquisition more expensive than before.

The brand began to explore with AppLovin alternative advertising spaces in which it might find high-value users for its app. AppLovin advised Magic Tavern to pursue Connected TV (CTV) as an advertising channel, given CTV’s rapid rise in households today. In 2022, Statista reports a record-breaking 87% of US households own at least one internet-connected TV device.

Solution: Finding partners to track CTV campaigns

Like many brands, Magic Tavern had previously been reluctant to invest in CTV advertising as measuring the exact impact of CTV campaigns wasn’t initially possible. However, Adjust, a mobile measurement partner recently launched CTV AdVision, the first comprehensive CTV marketing solution. Based on CTV AdVision’s holistic CTV to mobile measurement, Magic Tavern selected it as its CTV solution.

Now that Magic Tavern had a CTV measurement solution, the company’s next priority was to find a demand-side platform (DSP) that would allow third-party pixel tracking, thereby enabling attribution with Adjust. They selected Smadex, a programmatic solution that offers a wide array of publishers and exchanges and transparent reporting powered by machine learning.

Jasmine Cao

Growth Manager, AppLovin

In addition to its advanced offerings, Magic Tavern and AppLovin felt Smadex a strong DSP option as it would allow them to measure revenue and retention engagement at a granular level with Adjust.

The Results

Diving into CTV advertising proved promising for Magic Tavern. Smadex’s integration with Adjust meant the brand’s marketing team could granularly drill down into each install, exchanges, and app inventory. By analyzing specific campaigns, partners, and even ad placements, they could identify low-performing areas or spend and optimize every ad placement accordingly.

Jasmine Cao

Growth Manager, AppLovin

The strategic adjustments Magic Tavern made in the initial round of optimization led it to acquire more high-value users—users with higher engagement and greater monetization. These high-value users significantly lowered Magic Tavern’s effective cost-per-install (eCPI) while increasing its return on ad spend (ROAS) at scale. Although CTV is currently understood as a premium channel, we are seeing similar CPIs as the ones we’re getting in mobile.

By utilizing Smadex and Adjust, Magic Tavern was able to:
  • Decrease eCPI by more than 65%
  • Increase D0 ROAS by 4X
  • More than double D7 ROAS