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4X Commission Increase: A Surf City Games Case Study

“If you’re having people click links, they may as well be affiliated.”

How One Game Developer Combined GeoRiot and AskingPoint… And Saw a commission increase of 4x.
Artwork from de Heer's game "Monster Prison Break"
Artwork from de Heer’s game “Monster Prison Break”

CJ de Heer began developing mobile apps for his company, Surf City Games, in 2013. Having learned about GeoRiot, an affiliate link globalizing service, earlier that year, he released his first apps, (two free games by the name of ­­Monster Prison Break, and Fairy Pop) with a “Tweet For Coins” social feature built around GeoRiot links.

The idea behind this was to engage players at levels throughout the game by prompting them with pre-written tweets that included affiliate links. Players who posted to their social networks would then receive 200 bonus coins for use during game play. While these individual games didn’t garner an overwhelming amount of affiliate traffic, he did learn to use GeoRiot to leverage his in-app traffic and serve as a secondary line of revenue, and take advantage of the detailed click reporting they provided.

The following summer, de Heer attained a substantial following of loyal gamers and released a handful of additional games (all free or “lite” versions), then later added his first paid game into the mix. It was during these months that he had what he calls his “GeoRiot Ah Ha! moment. He explained, “If I was going to have people clicking links to my paid products from within my free apps, why not affiliate them?

Number of clicks CJ saw through his affiliated links after implementing both services.
Number of clicks CJ saw through his affiliated links after implementing both services.

Motivated by his game developing peers, whom he believes are constantly testing the limits of design and innovation, he began looking for ways to proliferate his GeoRiot-affiliated links. He thought that by optimizing the placement of his links and focusing the audience he served them to, he could leverage the traffic he was already receiving to boost his revenue.

In September of 2013, de Heer enlisted the services of AskingPoint, a mobile app analytics platform that provides developers with tools to boost their reach and better engage users. One of their products, In-App Messaging, featured a tool that allows developers to create customized cross-promotional campaigns. De Heer had an idea for using this feature to create a series of cross-promotional ads containing GeoRiot affiliate links that would direct users specifically to his paid products (of which he now had several).

From day one, de Heer saw that by combining GeoRiot’s capabilities with AskingPoint’s, he had created “the perfect solution.

Immediately after implementing AskingPoint, he noticed a clear spike in daily downloads as well as overall clicks. Where before, de Heer’s links averaged 200 – 300 clicks per day, he was now seeing upwards of 1,500 – 2,000 in a single 24 hour period. By integrating their SDK, he was able to create new messages, write rules for how often they appear based on which apps a user had already installed, and even control which users (paid vs. lite) receive his messages. The result of these efforts was a 4x bump in his monthly affiliate earnings.

Surf City's commissions over the period of implementing the two services together
Surf City’s commissions over the period of implementing the two services together

By using GeoRiot in tandem with AskingPoint, de Heer realized the following:

  • He could make his clicks more profitable, directing traffic to his highest-earning products, and using affiliate links to do so.
  • By creating more productive in-app traffic, he yields a consistently higher return per click, an element which he now factors into his game designs – in some cases going so far as to organize features around affiliate linking campaigns.
  • While developers often use affiliate links in cross-promotional campaigns, de Heer took his marketing efforts one step further by optimizing link placement among a group he already knew to be loyal users.
  • In combining GeoRiot’s affiliate linking capabilities with AskingPoint’s marketing features de Heer was able to maximize his affiliate earnings and his return on in-store Surf City Games purchases simultaneously.