Bagelcode entered the mobile games market in 2012 and has been successfully growing ever since. The company has whipped up tens of millions of downloads and more than $150M in user spending over a lifetime, scaling across the world and opening branches in Seoul, London, Tel Aviv, and Dnipro. There are currently 4 games in the casino genre in Bagelcode’s portfolio, but the company does not plan on stopping there. They plan to add publishing partnerships and expand their genre portfolio. We recently sat down with VP of Biz Dev, Jeffry Liptak, (ex-Big Fish Games) to discuss insights about Bagelcode’s processes and discover how AppMagic helps developers make their operations more effective.
Let’s start with the overall climate in Korea: what analytical tools do developers use and how do they feel about it?
When I arrived in Korea, I saw that most small to medium-sized teams had very limited access to data tools due to the high costs of services like App Annie. I would say that certainly there is also a barrier in that many services are not translated into the Korean language, and that poses some major obstacles for their growth and popularity. I was really excited to find App Magic because we found their service cost extremely reasonable and language options work for our global needs.
Moving on to the analytical processes: you must have surely done a lot of analytics over the years of the company’s growth. Can you recommend a particular method of market analysis that is not that obvious yet can be extremely useful for coming-of-age developers?
Several days ago, I read your article co-written with Joakim Achrén on the Elite Syndicate Development website and totally agreed with the thoughts you expressed there; I often try to explain the same ideas to new teams as well. So, the most important part, as you imply too, is the analysis of the genre. Before building any products, you have to attentively check what genre you are going into, what the competitors are, and how they are performing. Who are the market leaders, and are there new entries that are showing great potential? What is the maximum potential revenue for this title? This was always a challenge for me even in other tools because they only use the default app store genres. When I discovered AppMagic’s ability to separate by genres like idle, Solitaire, or even hypercasual this was a game-changer.
That’s something to keep in mind. Now, let’s talk a little about KPIs: is it possible to quantitatively evaluate the benefits of using mobile market intelligence?
Phew, that’s a tough one. Well, it definitely saves you a significant amount of time. Decisions you make are based on the data provided by such tools, thus, you don’t have to learn everything only from experimentation. So, I guess it saves you months of development which is a specific amount of time and money invested. Try to dig into your specific man-month costs: if the platform cost is less than the amount of time you would spend to figure it out the hard way, then it’s definitely worth it. Also, the effectiveness of the tool very much depends on the person who uses it, because, you know, showing my mom AppMagic won’t bring any benefits to the company. I recommend each team have a Business Intelligence driven person who can support certain company decisions with data or find a partner who can help.
Let’s talk about AppMagic more specifically. Can you think of any particular example when you made a significant business decision thanks to AppMagic?
Definitely content strategy decisions. For instance look at the performance of Random Dice, a hit title in Korea. There are a lot of clones of Random Dice on the market, however, very few of them did well outside Korea. The general hypothesis is that the game mechanic which is a mix of merge and tower defense is fun but the art style needed a Western approach. We discovered Rush Royal, while still in soft launch we were able to track its market potential for this mechanic outside of Korea. When we saw Rush Royal’s growth it reinforces the potential of certain mechanics to grow out of specific markets. AppMagic’s function of segmenting the market by regions and countries was extremely helpful for us. When we see a successful game in certain territories we often use the similarity graph to see what other products are hidden out there. We can identify what genres or teams have the proven potential to gain exposure to a worldwide audience.
Last but not least, which features or metrics were a pleasant surprise to you in AppMagic?
I like the top trending apps. Just in general, it helps me discover games in the particular niche I am interested in. That’s the purpose of using the tool for me: define growing games, identify high potential targets and trends. Specifically, there recently was a game that we discovered using AppMagic that is like slots, but not exactly (potentially, a new thing on the market). It is not on the fast rise, but it’s growing steadily in terms of revenue. So, I suppose this type of game has an economy of slots under the hood, but looks like and is played as games of other traditional genres—it’s sort of an emerging trend, something we are definitely going to look into.
Furthermore, one of the most helpful things for me was when we initially signed up, you offered an onboarding and ran me through the tools. We’ve had several follow-ups with you, in which you introduce the new tools and this was very insightful. Also, AppMagic is the only product out there where I actually click on the tips to learn what advice you are trying to give me, as they are always helpful.