Update: Are Casino Slot Games Profitable again for App Developers?
It’s pretty simple, but I’m going to spend a few thousand words talking about it + giving specific examples with results.
What’s the secret?
It’s profitable again because it never really stopped being profitable.
I’ll say it again:
It never really stopped being profitable.
It just stopped being profitable the way a lot of us were doing it.
The only thing that changed was how we get downloads to those games. That one single change wiped out a ton of developers because we didn’t think there was any other way cheap way to keep things going. Without downloads there were no add impressions. We needed users to cash in on those high eCPM’s.
I think it really depended what level you were at. One of my best months of app revenue from casino games (back in 2014-15) without spending any cash on acquiring users, was 4k. Many of the developers doing 10k+ were most certainly doing things that I wasn’t.
- Spending more money on advertising their apps, paid installs and marketing.
- Cross promotions with other developers
- Cross promotions with their other games that had tons of active users
- Direct Deals on Chartboost and other ad networks
- Constantly trying new things
- Making their games better with consistent updates
- Getting a publishing deal
- Probably some things that fell in the grey area of being ethical
As a result, they were able to not only make more money than me, but keep making it when the majority of developers were going under.
It’s not that a bunch of us didn’t know that there were other ways to get users, it just seemed out of reach.
Most of the things that I mentioned above were intimidating if you didn’t have someone to show you the ropes
If you were generating less than 2-3k a month there was a good chance you were riding the wave which was great, but it really didn’t set us up to do well when the free downloads stopped. We were so used to doing little on marketing and advertising, just the thought of spending money on it made us cringe.
I was cheap. We were cheap.
The market was going down; a lot of the games weren’t very unique so it made sense to just lay low. At least for me.
So how did it play out?
I kept my day job and did a little here and there from late 2014-into early 2016.
If you want to read the progression of this you can see the two posts below:
- Can You Escape Full-Time Corporate Hell To Happy Entrepreneur?
- How I Escaped from Corporate Hell to Happy Entrepreneur in 15 minutes.
I did finally get a chance to close a sale of an app I had been trying to get for over a year. This was a full rights deal so I could do what I wanted with it. There is blog post on SellMyApp and you can view it here.
I spent over a year after I got this template publishing our own games, changing some things, and experimenting with buying paid traffic through ad networks. I was able to get some early traffic through campaigns using Chartboost for $.25
My creative was pretty bad.
I didn’t really have an advanced plan for the monetization. It was more about testing the whole buying traffic on a somewhat small scale.Then later I took this template and split it up. We created a single theme game and template called: Secret Chest Slots.
We uploaded and listed it on Chupamobile and it’s had pretty good reviews / comments.
The great part for you (not for us) is we didn’t sell a ton of copies. Those customers were very helpful getting the bugs worked out. I think we pushed out 4 versions under their requests.
The feature list for a game to reskin that quick was / is awesome!
Then we took the original multi theme game and added a ton of stuff to it.
Meet Mega Jackpot Slots.
Why did we add so many features?
- We were building this to use, not to license. That’s a big difference for most people.
- Also I was bouncing some ideas off some people and I wanted to use all the best features.
Eventually we got asked to license it.
My reasoning here was after the reskin wave was over and all the slots templates we licensed from other developers were so popular that there were thousands of developers using them.
I’m mainly talking about the iOS and Android version Party Slots from Carter Thomas over at Blue Cloud Solutions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful he brought this template to market because without it I would have never caught the bug of casino games.
However, eventually most of those popular templates that many were using (not just the casino games) became out of date.
Here are all the ones I used:
What did that mean? No more free updates.
They didn’t have support for newer devices + iOS updates. So that left you with a bunch of things to fix.
Support for 64 bit, icon sizes, all the supporting SDK’s.
Even if you made it this far (we did), then it was a more work to get the buttons changed so apple was happy. They starting getting very strict on showing certain ads.
Free game button & More games button.
Apple didn’t like that those games weren’t yours.
Once we solved those issues it was time to upload. When one of our updates went live it was great, but the template needed a facelift.
That’s why we wanted a fresh start and our newly acquired Mega Jackpot Slots template was just the foundation we needed.
Or goals were:
- Modern features
- Facebook SDK installed for analytics and paid installs
- More Rewards for different actions
- Rewarded video ads
- Push notifications
- Local notifications on a timer
- More customization that was easy to do
- A killer tutorial (69 page pdf with a screen shot showing every step)
Well it took a while, but eventually we loaded launched it with SellMyApp.com
We got a few sales and again… used those customers to dial it in.
Lots of little bugs were squashed. Then we eventually, but slowly uploaded to GameGorillzas and Chupa.
The sales were slow, but the customers on those marketplaces kept helping us dial it in.
Fast forward about 6 months and now we have added more fun features to the Mega Jackpot Slots Template.
People are starting to talk about casino templates again. They are starting to rave about cheap Facebook installs. What good are cheap Facebook installs if you don’t have an app that can monetize on those installs? I’m not sure about you, but I like the most for my money. I also like to put out good games with an entertaining user experience.
If I can do both, it’s a WIN WIN.
So, the idea is to get very targeted Facebook installs so your users are who you want in the app. Then if it’s setup to monetize well and you can be ROI positive you slowly tweak your ads to drive the install cost down.
After enough tweaks you should have a ROI positive slots game.
After you have tested your ads and have proved they can consistently acquire the right users for you and produce revenue, you can pump more traffic through it by bumping up your ad spend.
This can be done pretty reasonably, but creating look alike audiences of your already successful ads.
I recently listened to an awesome podcast episode with Carter Thomas and Manol Georgiev.
You can listen to it here in the app store.
It goes into the details of how a lot of marketers (app and internet) are using Facebook ads to really skyrocket their business with “unlimited installs”.
So why should you take Facebook ads seriously? Let’s take a quick step back and find out why:
The major changes from 2014 to now is that you are no longer depending on organic downloads and the elusive “ASO” perfection.
(NOTE: I know ASO at heart is super important, but we were sold so hard on keywords back in the day with the promise of the perfect keyword driving endless downloads. I’m not talking about the early days in 2010-2012, I mean 2014.)
So to confirm, I understand how key ASO is, but I think if you truly focus on KILLER and I mean killer, top-notch:
- Icon that compels the user to download the app
- SS that tell a story of what the app is like and evoke some emotion)
- App Name that is relevant and catchy
- Description – That also tells a story and provokes the user to download to hear more
- Keywords that are relevant and strong
…then you will be ready to be a featured app or something that really takes off. Even if that doesn’t happen, just something that is authentically presented will put you ahead of the pack.
I mean just think about it real quick…If you are going to spend cash to acquire users, don’t you want the best possible conversions you can get?
You will need all the above + an awesome ad creative.
Ok, back to it.
So today all you need is a great targeted Facebook ad campaign, a solid casino slots app and an apple developer account.
(You can use other types of apps and most certainly other types of games, but the return is higher on casino games.
See this recent blog post of ours that goes into this in much more detail.
Here is an example that I didn’t put in that post because it happened after it was published. We tweaked the campaign and then just tested a few impressions:
Being able to take the taboo part out of getting the best highest value users into your great app is what it’s all about.
That’s what we are trying to do!
So if you are thinking…this all sounds great, but what if I want to add features to your slots templates and don’t have a reliable developer? Maybe you’ve been burned in the past? We all have. Maybe you don’t want to go through the hassle.
I understand the frustration. I’ve been burned by programmers (even recently).
Here’s a cool perk of using one of our templates
- If you need help solving a problem or issue in your games that you could create with our templates, you can contact us directly and we will try to fix quickly for free.
- If it’s a bigger issue we can send you a fair quote. The programmers we use are the ones that have been with us for years. They know the products and how to solve things quick.
- If it’s a bug on our part, we will fix for free and send out an updated project and a video that shows how to replace the fixed files or tweak. We give you a choice because some people want to just fix it real quick and move on. Others want the whole project and then copy over their assets.
Ok, well that sounds pretty good, what about the graphics?
- What if you don’t have reliable graphic designer? Maybe you do, but they don’t have any casino experience or they are busy. It’s not surprise that the best people are always overbooked!
- Maybe you don’t want to go on the freelancer sites and sift through thousands designers.
- Maybe you don’t want to overpay for the new graphics. Who does!
Similar to the above comment. We keep a small network of graphic designers close so when we need something done, we get priority responses and high quality service.
Ok Ok. What does this mean for you?
If you ever decide to license a template from us you will have access to:
- Already created graphic packs to reskin your game. Think of it as going to the store and seeing the limited edition theme or graphics pack of a game on the shelf. You choose that theme and purchase. Now that theme is yours and no one elses. You can use to reskin the game yourself or just choose to have us reskin the whole game.
- If you are looking or a theme we don’t already have made just give us the details for your needs and we can create those too. The price ranges for each pack will be in a range. No weird custom quotes that scare you away. They will just vary a little on your particular design.
The ready to sell packs are only sold once so keeping these available may be hard at first. So if you visit the store you will see the actual graphic pack you would get, not an example. When purchased, we take it off the site and upload a new custom pack
So in summary:
- Have us add features using our programmers at affordable rates
- Access to ready-made Graphic Packs
- Access to quick quotes on custom graphic designs.
You may be wondering how you will keep all the SDK’s, newly supported devices and updated Apple iOS versions from throwing red errors in your build.
All SDK updates will be frequent and FREE. You will get two options that will be sent for each update. A link to the new full project updated and ready for you to copy over your assets or a link to the changed files and a supporting video showing you how to update manually. This is good if you don’t want to copy over all your assets.
So if you like the idea of our Mega Jackpot Slots template and want to purchase it, click here.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out.
(Email listed at the top left of this website)