Five years ago, Stick Sports evolved from being a maker of online browser games to an app developer.
With a suite of seven games – including cricket and tennis as the most popular, as well as golf and auto racing – it is about to hit 50 million downloads, with four million monthly and 600,000 daily active users.
To manage all the information coming from its various platforms, it works with App Annie, which consolidates data from multiple stores, giving it a “singular console” where it can look at all the figures it needs.
“A singular console giving us daily figures about what’s going on allows us to manage what we are doing and helps our teams in London and Sydney know what to focus on,” said Paul Collins (pictured), the company’s MD, speaking to Mobile World Live.
“For instance, App Annie gives us a clear indication that India is our biggest market from a downloads perspective, but UK and Australia are more profitable in terms of revenue,” he said.
It can also see how popular a game is by country and season – popularity can vary greatly at different times of the year – and how much revenue the company is generating compared to rivals like Mad Skills Motocross and Super Stickman Golf.
“We also use these metrics to understand what other companies are doing, we are in a creative industry and influenced by other people’s activities,” commented Collins.
However, Stick Sports does not segment users when it comes to targeting.
“We instead have a singular approach to all our products based on a typical user,” who is male, and around 24 or 25 years old, said Collins.
“We utilise ad delivery platforms which to a certain extent have targeting within them, but we don’t do that ourselves,” he continued.
When asked about a recent report that says just 0.23 per cent of all players account for 64 per cent of revenue, the executive said he has found this to be true to a great extent.
“This small percentage is often called ‘the whale’ in the industry and many companies focus on them,” he explained, “but we have a different approach”.
Stick Sports wants 20 to 30 per cent of its players to contribute to revenue. “That means a whole restructure of how you present yourself to the user”, supported by a platform to enable the purchase process.
Collins believes retention is key, echoing a recent report by Gartner which said app providers need to focus on retention strategies as the market matures.
“Rather than trying to come up with clever ways to extract money from players, we want them to be engaged with the game and for us to be engaged with them,” he said.
However, the games are free to download and play, and in-app purchases need to be made only to buy “game modifiers” which can present a problem: “There is a limit to how much you can spend on those,” said Collins.
The company also believes in the importance of having a strong social media presence, and has 800,000 Facebook and 40,000 Twitter followers across all its games, who are kept up to date with updates and offers.
Stick Sports also undertakes cross promotion between apps: “anything we are releasing is pushed to all our users very quickly.”
While the company isn’t interested in developing separate apps for wearables, Collins is excited at the prospect of using the devices as a controller for a game being played on the smartphone.
“The wearable could be a great little mechanic to use as an interface,” he commented.
But Stick Sports is not looking into this themselves just yet, instead keeping an eye on its rivals’ activities.
As for future plans, it wants to develop more games, including a new version of its tennis game and a strategy management title that will use the company’s core “simplistic mechanics” which are easy to pick up.