Mobile Premier League (MPL) is Asia’s largest esports and skill gaming platform, with over 75 million users in India and 4 million in Indonesia. Established in 2018 by serial entrepreneurs Sai Srinivas and Shubh Malhotra, in less than three years MPL has grown to over 700 employees across India, Singapore, and Jakarta.
The gaming platform has worked with multiple Indian and international game developers and has boarded over 70 games, available on Android and iOS. In February 2021, MPL raised $95 million from its existing and new investors in its Series D fundraising, leading to a $945 million valuation.
MPL’s hyper-growth and ambitious targets brought about a host of challenges such as launching and managing complex marketing campaigns at scale. To appropriately optimize, the marketing team needed to keep track of data from a variety of sources, including app stores, platforms, and channels, thereby requiring one single platform to capture and analyze the data in one place.
As a gaming app, customer engagement and retention were of primary importance. The team wanted to continually connect with the app’s users on their key milestone achievements, encouraging them to play more in order to upskill these players. Since upskilling users represented the best pathway to retention, MPL would actively engage its players to get better at their game of choice. Cross-selling was also a priority, and the app also encouraged players to look at games within similar genres.
MPL needed an integrated engagement platform that could help them improve their onboarding process, get players hooked early on, encourage repeat usage, and build positive user habits. To achieve this, it was important for them to dive deep into analyzing patterns in user behavior and create real-time segments.
They also needed to more effectively attribute their web campaigns, as well as implement a better user onboarding process for users in order to more seamlessly stitch together the user journey from the various pre-install touchpoints.
MPL chose AppsFlyer and CleverTap, an AppsFlyer integrated partner, to achieve its multiple objectives, which included implementing a one-stop attribution platform; creating a solution to reach out to players at the right time to sustain engagement or get started; develop more personalized targeting of users, and kick off a user referrals program.
As a gaming app, contextual engagement is extremely important to MPL. They wanted to stay connected with the players, celebrate when players achieve key milestones, and increase gameplay to upskill them. Eager to understand how MPL strengthens its relationship with players, we reached out to Arpit Awasthi, Vice President of Growth Marketing at MPL.
When it comes to retention and lifetime value, Awasthi is a huge proponent of ‘upskilling’. “We feel that upskilling users is the best way to retain them. We encourage our users to increase their gameplays so that they can get better at the game of their choice,” he explains
Another important component of increasing the lifetime value is cross-selling. MPL is home to a variety of games in similar genres which gives users more options to play different games. For example, when there’s no key sporting event—and since fantasy is more of a seasonal genre— they promote casual games like Cricket Clash and Soccer Royale to fantasy game players.
To enhance and streamline the user on-boarding process, MPL rolled out AppsFlyer’s Deep Linking and User Invite Referral program. The team set up App Store attribution to get installs attributed from the various app stores, media sources and channels. OneLink Smart Script was put in place to secure accurate attribution from the mobile landing page as well as to measure all important UTM parameters.
The team was also able to unearth deeper insights into their customer base through raw data. With AppsFlyer’s Raw Data reports, MPL was able to measure attribution and in-app engagement data and thereby measure the impact of its various marketing and customer-focused strategies. With raw data, the team could go beyond an understanding of user engagement on Day 1 and plot an overall lifetime value (LTV) model that could determine a customer’s overall value to the app.
Who wants to hear ‘Game Over’ before ‘Ready, Set, Go’? Not the growth marketing team at MPL.
This team knows that successful engagement and retention begin with a robust onboarding process. Scripting a well-designed onboarding journey is essential to getting players hooked early on, encouraging repeat usage, and building positive user habits. Following the onboarding, a Day 7 conversion journey encourages users to start accessing paid games.
“The goal of these journeys is to get new users to log in, play, and make a successful deposit,” Awasthi adds.
An important KPI is how many newly activated users are converted into depositors. There are various milestones before a user starts depositing. Journeys help the team to push the users towards these milestones and reduce drop-offs at every stage.
“Journeys also help us target users based on their past engagement. For instance, for players who’ve played their first game, we have different journeys based on whether they’ve won or lost,” Awasthi says.
Campaigns form the cornerstone of MPL’s user engagement strategy. To keep users captivated, they need to send the right message at the right time.
Here are some situations where they leverage campaigns:
To inform users about the upcoming matches, encouraging them to form teams
To promote their referral program and increase their user base
To provide timely transactional updates to users with respect to their deposits, withdrawals, cashbacks, and offers
To target inactive users and try to win them back
MPL primarily uses a recency and monetary model to target users based on how recently they played and the amount of revenue they generated. The players are further segmented based on the type of games played.
They use custom lists/ CSV uploads to target specific cohorts of users who’ve performed key actions during important sporting events like IPL. This segment of users receives personalized messages.
Awasthi explains that the live segments are created based on user actions and inactions: “We create triggered campaigns for users who drop off while creating a fantasy team.”
Through the use of AppsFlyer’s user referrals feature, MPL dramatically increased the efficiency with which it on-boarded its users. In the 30 days after these referrals, the uninstall rate was a low 58.65% (compared with an industry average of 62%)—lowest amongst all non-organic media sources—due to the intelligent and automated deep links. In addition, these referrals yielded the highest average revenue per user, as well as the highest loyal user / install ratio, at 4.73% (not to mention the zero cost per install).
The time savings and overall success of the CleverTap and AppsFlyer integration also allowed MPL’s marketing team to focus on new growth initiatives through the AppsFlyer platform. This included event attribution of specific cohorts to maximize user engagement, building lifetime value models through Raw Data reports, and reducing user churn rate by processing App Store data to build cohorts and perform RFM analytics and predictive modelling.
And via the OneLink Smart Script, MPL could more effectively convert and attribute website visitors (from any source) into mobile app users. This was achieved by correlating their app traffic with the web to achieve a better understanding of how the web factored into their portfolio mix. MPL was able to attribute their Google web campaigns with key parameters such as source, campaign and other sub-parameters, then send it back to Google for further optimization.
MPL also saved money. The team trimmed user acquisition budgets through AppsFlyer’s platform by attributing data from multiple sources, platforms, app stores and channels, and then reducing any overlap.