Storemaven played a significant role in Kabam’s strategy to increase app install conversions and decrease user acquisition costs.
This ASO case study will show how Kabam was able to gain 3 major benefits:

Increase install conversion by 66%
Understand exactly what tests to run
Pay less for each paid & organic install

About Kabam

Kabam is an entertainment company that is one of the world’s leaders in AAA console quality games for mobile devices.

iconsKabam has partnered with leading Hollywood studios such as Disney, Universal and Warner Bros. to design mobile games based on some of entertainment’s most iconic franchises including Marvel Contest of Champions, The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth and Fast & Furious: Legacy. Kabam uses a “freemium” business model where players download and use their mobile games at no cost or obligation but can choose to purchase premium content in the game to enhance their experience.

The Challenge

Reducing the cost of installs (CPI)

In a saturated mobile gaming industry, online marketing costs are skyrocketing. As Kabam’s “freemium” model relies on dedicated users to generate profit, it needed to find a way to reduce marketing costs, while increasing app installs and maintaining high user quality to encourage users to engage in in-app spending.  Kabam’s marketing team already had a marketing strategy in place, however, the challenge was to discover the best way to optimize performance by using the App Store as a black box to record and later analyze user behavior. Kabam turned to StoreMaven’s platform to run and analyze tests based on user behavior in the App Store.  With one simple test that required no creative costs, Kabam was already able to begin to see profits.


The Method

Understand where to begin

The first stage in App Store Optimization is to identify the asset on an App Store Page that has the greatest potential to create a significant lift in conversion compared to the cost of editing it.

StoreMaven has developed benchmarks regarding user behavior in the App Store based on the vast quantity of data that it has collected from over 50M users.  StoreMaven used these benchmarks to identify the Poster Frame as the asset with the greatest conversion potential on Kabam’s App Store Page.

A Poster Frame is the image still/thumbnail that appears underneath the App Preview Video’s  “play” button on an App Store Page. A poster frame serves a dual purpose as a standalone screenshot and as the entry point to your video, making it a critical asset on your App Store Page.  The most brilliant App Preview of all time will mean nothing if a Poster Frame is an afterthought.

Test Hypotheses

Kabam created 3 variations of their App Store page. They tested different poster frames with several underlying hypotheses:

  • Hypothesis 1: Giving users a hint to what core gameplay looks like in the first impression will increase install rates
  • Hypothesis 2: Showing a game artifact that conveys the message of progress and game achievements will increase install rates
  • Hypothesis 3: Highlighting the brand in the poster frame and maintaining a uniform message in the first impression will increase page engagement


Running Test

A traditional App Store A/B testing mode requires sending equal samples of traffic to each test variation until significance is reached. Storemaven’s predictive testing algorithm, StoreIQ, works by quickly identifying and closing low performing variations, as well as by assessing a test’s significance faster and more accurately.

After 3 days, StoreIQ detected that the gameplay variation (control) should be eliminated based on two factors – chances to win and potential gain. StoreIQ will not close a variation if it has a potential gain of more than 1% against the leading variation.

With only Brand Logo and Game Artifact remaining, all traffic was directed to those last remaining two variations, significantly accelerating the rate to reach overall full significance.  In less than a week, StoreIQ calculated that the test had reached a confidence level of 93% in the leading variation.  The Game Artifact variation was declared the winning variation.

To learn more about App Store Testing, click here.

The Results

The winning variation created a 66% lift in app install conversion due to shifts in 2 core behaviors based on 2 funnels:

Decisive behavior

Users who make quick decisions based on the first impression and do not interact with the page. The “first impression” on all iPhones is comprised of  your icon, title and first 2 screenshots. In Kabam’s example, since the first screenshot was landscape, users had to scroll right to see the rest of the screenshots.

When a video is included in the App Store, the Poster Frame Effect kicks in. It pushes the screenshots aside and takes the largest share of the App Store real estate. Just by changing the Poster Frame, we were able to create a lift of 63% in direct install over the control.


Explorers funnel

Users who interact with other elements on the App Store Page and therefore, consume additional information on the product.  By optimizing the poster frame, more users played the video and scrolled the screenshot gallery and as a result, 70% more explorers downloaded the app as compared to the control variation. Explorers that convert to installers, generally become the highest quality users, since they make a more “conscious” decision after consuming a greater amount of information about the app.


Optimized user quality

The improved Poster Frame created a stronger first impression, that was more aligned with users’  expectations regarding the game. Consequently, decisive drop behavior (bounce rate) was minimized and some of these users were driven to interact with the page and install once-after. By improving the balance between decisive installs and exploration installs, the user quality was improved which led to a better ROI.


App Store Optimization should be an ongoing aspect of every marketing strategy.  The results of this ASO case study were excellent in that the primary goal of testing a new Poster Frame was achieved with success, however, other potential assets such as icon, video, image gallery and title can also be tested as part of a comprehensive testing strategy.

Kabam and others have learned hands on, that it’s imperative to test before every app update to maintain optimal conversion rates.

Claim your first app store test by signing up to StoreMaven.