Criminal Case Cracks the Code to Retention

Pretty Simple is one of the leading names in casual gaming. From its base in Paris, Pretty Simple has developed and published three titles, attracting an audience of 35M monthly active users leveraging the Facebook platform to grow its games. For Criminal Case, its highly popular detective-themed hidden object game, the studio turned to Facebook to scale, allowing it to build a truly social and cross-platform game with a strong base of engaged users who play frequently and for longer.

Available on: iOS, Android, Web

An adventure that continues wherever players go

Pretty Simple’s priority with Criminal Case was to build something that would first achieve high retention and then organic growth from its loyal players. The game stood apart from others in the genre through its rich graphics and compelling story telling. With new 'episodes' released every week, the game turned into an interactive, gripping storyline that would keep people coming back for more.

To complement the game’s immersive puzzles and ongoing story, Criminal Case first launched on Facebook.com that provided them with a ready directory of a highly engaged audience. They subsequently launched on iOS and Android, integrating Facebook Login for a seamless cross-platform experience. The new cross-platform experience helped to improve retention, with the average Day 28 retention of a Facebook logged in player being almost 4X higher than that of a non-Facebook connected player and these users play 20% longer per session.

“Facebook Login is a natural first step for most users. Almost two thirds of our players directly connect on the home screen even before clicking to play the game because they know the value of playing Facebook connected anywhere and on any device. Today, almost 75% of our active players log in with Facebook of which 25% play cross-platform.” - Corentin Raux, Co-Founder, Pretty Simple

Driving installs and delivering results organically

Criminal Case players love the game's distinctive police procedural universe, fun and accessible gameplay, and deep storyline. The studio leveraged the power of Facebook’s social channels such as Game Requests and one-click Sharing to enable players to share their progress, exchange 'energy' and invite friends to join them as 'partners' to solve an investigation.

With almost 10% of its installs coming from players sharing with their friends, and 25% from Game Requests on Facebook.com, Pretty Simple built a strong base of core audience, who would play more frequently, for longer - and tell others about their experience. On mobile, the behavior replicated with more than 1M daily sessions coming from people using Facebook social channels.

Preserving user experience while driving revenues

Like many developers, Pretty Simple monetized its games with in-app purchases and ads. But the company’s commitment to delivering a best-in-class, unobtrusive player experience limited its ad options. Given the popularity of Criminal Case, the studio was looking for a demand solution that could scale, as well as an ad placement that could increase the lifetime value of its players while impacting its carefully crafted gaming environment as little as possible. With this dual goal in mind, the company integrated Facebook Audience Network's native ads and saw immediate impact.

The studio started using Audience Network in late 2014 to a very specific segment of players with a single and extremely low-intrusive native ad format on iOS. Since then, they have rolled out new ad units, all using the native ads API, and made them available to more segments of players, while tracking the impact on key KPIs between each release. The game has been consistently delivering more than half a billion impressions per month and Audience Network now accounts for more than 5% of the LTV of their players.

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