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Case Studies

How Mobile Premier League Boosts Engagement Through Ultra-fast Push Notifications and More

The MPL Story

Mobile gaming and eSports are smashing growth records as they pursue billions of consumers around the globe. The mobile gaming sector has unleashed innovation in monetization methods and content formats, producing revenue opportunities in areas ranging from digital goods to streaming.

One app leading the way is Mobile Premier League (MPL). With more than 90 million registered users across Asia, Europe, and North America, MPL is the world’s largest mobile eSports and digital gaming platform. It offers more than 60 games in categories including fantasy sports, sports games, puzzle, casual and board games.

It’s not all fun and games for the MPL marketing team, however. MPL operates in a sector where the user lifecycle is remarkably short—many users play a game only briefly before moving on to the next new thing. If MPL can’t retain a user within a seven-day window, it may have lost its chance forever.

By partnering with CleverTap on Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) strategy and execution, MPL is winning big. To further MPL’s main goal of converting users from free games to paying games, and keeping them engaged on the app, CleverTap creates personalized journeys around different user segments, each supported by timely and relevant communications. We spoke with Mohita Gupta, MPL’s Head of Customer Retention and Engagement, to better understand the team’s challenges and learn how CleverTap is helping to retain users with scale and speed.



How to Increase Retention, Conversions, and Revenue

“We have to ensure that whoever is coming to the app converts into a valuable user, one who has a great gaming experience,” says Gupta. “The first goal is to ensure a person plays a free game. We offer free versions of all our titles so that users can play a game and practice before entering a pay-to-play tournament or a contest to monetize their skills. Our campaigns are aimed at keeping users engaged throughout their journey—that’s a north star metric for us.” For onboarding, she adds, “we need to ensure the person is logging in and exploring the platform.”

MPL’s metrics are centered around three main objectives:

  • Onboarding—improving the share of users who engage on the platform within a seven-day period of app install. (MPL also tracks more detailed onboarding metrics at the category level.)
  • Retention—improving the share of traffic, revenue, and conversions generated by the CLM team through its omnichannel approach and nudging users to reinstall if they are uninstalling.
  • Resurrection—motivating former users, either through incentives or contextual personalized messaging, to return to the platform.

How to Effectively Onboard and Engage New Users

Studies have shown that the majority of app users uninstall within the first three days, which makes the onboarding process a crucial step in creating loyalty. MPL nudges new users to engage early in free gameplay or entry-fee-based tournaments by explaining the breadth of games available on the platform. Specifically, users are encouraged to choose an MPL Battle—a one-on-one competition where users can win cash prizes—or register for a time-limited MPL Tournament, which requires an entry fee and awards prize money based on a player’s leaderboard rank.

CleverTap Solutions

MPL’s “entire user journey, from onboarding to engagement to retention, is being done through CleverTap,” says Gupta. Leading with analytics and user segmentation, CleverTap powers all of MPL’s customer-communication efforts, including push notifications, SMS, and in-app notifications. CleverTap is delivering agile, cost-effective CLM solutions for MPL such as:

1. Delivering Lightning-fast Push Notifications

CleverTap enables rapid push notifications across multiple channels, along with the ability to amplify these notifications. For MPL, these features are especially critical during its fantasy-sports tournament around the Indian Premier League (IPL), the most highly attended cricket league in the world.

At the start of each IPL cricket match, a coin toss determines which team will bat first and which team will field, followed by the announcement of each team’s 11 players. According to Gupta, in the minutes following the coin toss, a huge number of users register for the MPL fantasy tournament, as this is the most strategic time to lock in the players they want on their team. Timely push notifications are critical in these moments because other fantasy leagues—MPL’s competitors—are also pushing messages aimed at converting users. The faster that MPL can reach these users and urge them to choose their teams, the higher the number of conversions.

Previously, once the notification was triggered, it would take up to eight minutes to compute the data and send the message; completing the campaign often took up to 14 minutes. By the time the user received it, another 15 to 20 minutes had elapsed. Needing to vastly improve its send speed, MPL called upon CleverTap, which created a solution called Boost Throughput, in which CleverTap pre-computes user segments automatically. Now, MPL is able to send a campaign for release to nearly 10 million users within one minute of the campaign being triggered.

2. Optimizing for the Best Time to Send

Separately, MPL has created different segments based on users’ preferred gaming categories. In the past, when the marketing team sent pre-timed notifications to these segments either in the morning or the evening, they noticed a slight drop in CTRs and conversions. MPL ran in-house experiments to further investigate the best times to send, but the manual nature of the tests made it difficult to measure the impact on conversions. They turned to CleverTap, which recommended its automated “Best Time” feature. This tool calculates the optimal time to send a message to each user for a campaign or journey based on when the user is most active in the app. Once MPL began using “Best Time,” it saw a significant boost in user engagement.

3. Improving the Onboarding Experience

CleverTap is also helping MPL enhance its onboarding process to drive engagement. The MPL app is designed so that new users must log in to the app after installing it in order to explore all that the app offers and start playing free or paid games. MPL works with CleverTap to seamlessly move users through the funnel from install to login to cash-playing user. CleverTap has helped MPL create a variety of personalized engagement journeys and campaigns to encourage users to explore the app and start playing games within the critical retention window of the first seven days. It has also developed unique journeys for users who don’t seem to be engaged and who may be at risk of uninstalling.

4. Personalized Communications to Drive Retention

The next stage of retention focuses on users who have started playing games on the platform. Users who play pay-to-play games, in which they regularly deposit and withdraw money, are of especially high value to MPL. For this segment, MPL works with CleverTap to build personalized communications across different channels, from push notifications to SMS—whichever channel best engages and incentivizes them to continue playing.


Measurable Improvement in Conversions and CTR

Thanks to ultra-fast push notifications during MPL’s cricket fantasy league, “we were able to deliver some 5 to 10 million messages within one minute. CleverTap helped us achieve that,” says Gupta, adding that the campaign resulted in many new users coming to the app, along with a 20-30% increase in CTRs and a 5% conversion rate increase.
Similarly, once MPL began using CleverTap’s automated “Best Time” feature, the marketing team saw a 30 to 40 percent basis point improvement in the CTR and conversions for these campaigns compared to the ones that were being sent at a fixed time, according to Gupta. Because this feature has significantly boosted KPIs, MPL now uses it across all campaigns, except those requiring a time-based notification.

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