Promotions and rewards on mobile had fallen into a rut. Expectations were low. The user experience was poor, the trade-off for users wasn’t worth it. Fortunately, Alex Betancur and Tony Vartarian founded Jump Ramp Games in 2011 to refine that space and turn it into a space where users could enjoy better experiences, and where advertisers could reach the right users.
We spoke to the Lucktastic team to see where their unique mission has taken them so far, and what they’ve learned along the way.
“Alex and Tony wanted to redefine the way promotion, rewards, and winning experiences were delivered in mobile environments,” said Jesse Hurwitz, Jump Ramp’s Senior Director of Monetization Products. In 2014, the company launched Luckstastic, which took the diverse and exciting New York City culture the company’s employees experienced every day and distilled it into an app.
“The team works in an innovative entrepreneurial environment,” Hurwitz said, “Everyone is excited about working with a product that touches 15 million users every week.”
Just what is Luckastic?
“Lucktastic is an app with compelling in-app content across a variety of categories,” Hurwitz explained. “It provides an unparalleled user experience and easy access to the features our users already know and love.”
Those categories include promotions, rewards, entertainment, social, gaming, and sports. Hurwitz explained that by focusing on great content and credible partnerships, Lucktastic is able to acquire and maintain high-quality users.
“We’re an interesting hybrid between casual gaming and lifestyle,” said Hurwitz, “About a year ago we consciously decided to go towards lifestyle as our audience seemed to gravitate towards that look and feel,” Hurwitz explained.
Along with that focus came a conscious change to the aesthetic of Lucktastic. “We’re moving away from cartoonish imagery and providing more context around photos and images,” Hurwitz explained. “We also amended our process, creating all interrelated assets for each contest at once so we had a more unified feel for each contest at once, giving us a more unified feel across our various communication platforms — in-app messages, email, lobby icons, and so forth.”
Lucktastic has taken off. According to Jump Ramp, the app has 120 million video ad views per month, a 93.5% video ad completion rate, 25 minutes daily average time spent, and an average of 2 sessions per day and 4 days per week usage.
“We’re one hundred percent brand safe for advertisers and have optimized the app for a hundred percent viewability as well,” said Hurwitz.
Hurwitz explained that Jump Ramp considered ads to be part of the user experience from day one. “We’ve invested heavily in tools and products that allow us to optimize for the best ad playlist,” Hurwitz said, “This is done by separating Lucktastic into different experiences and only offering up the right ad at the right moment.”
Lucktastic keeps its experience tightly controlled and optimized, said Hurwitz. “Our user base is very vocal and submits feedback on the experience they like and don’t like,” Hurwitz explained. “We take that feedback into consideration when figuring out the right cocktail of innovative ad formats.”
The Right Ads & Better Ads
Why continually innovate ad integrations and experiences? It’s in Jump Ramp’s DNA.
“The Lucktastic team isn’t afraid to move fast and break things,” Hurwitz said, “We release, launch, iterate, update, and announce — sometimes all in the same day!”
Jump Ramp has learned a lot thanks to that fast, iterative process, building them into the core of the company. “The user experience was always important, from day one,” Hurwitz said, “And we’ve strategically placed the advertising within the user experience, forming a seamless part of the experience.”
“Sticking with what is proven to work is boring,” Hurwitz continued, “You’re never going to see incremental increases in revenue simply by using commodity solutions. Mobile apps are personal, yet many of the ad formats are simply desktop units repurposed for mobile.”
The best solution for that is user-initiated, value-exchange units like rewarded video. “Users are willing to accept ads in apps as a value exchange so we like to keep users engaged with different types of ad units that are specifically targeted for them,” Hurwitz said.
Lucktastic drives and maintains engagement because of the importance Jump Ramp places on user experience paired with its one hundred percent ad-supported revenue model.
“We don’t have any form of IAP, so we spend a lot of time understanding what the threshold of our users are around ads,” Hurwitz explained, “You need to constantly reevaluate how your ad mix is working and affecting user retention.”
Part of that user retention strategy is events. “We have a heavy mixture of long-term contests and short-term events,” Hurwitz said. The long-term contests can potentially range from paid vacations, up to $1 million cash prizes. “Our short-term events have players compete with each other on a weekly basis,” Hurwitz continued, “This mixture keeps the app fresh, assuring players that they will see something new every time they enter.”
The addition of new content also helps Lucktastic bring users back again and again. “We’re working with top strategic partners to bring wworld-class content to our audience,” Hurwitz said, “Partners like Hasbro, Marvel, MLB Players Association, Billboard, and Disney.”
Lucktastic is going to keep improving on through 2018. When we asked about what’s next, they were tight-lipped though. “We can’t reveal our exciting news for 2018,” Hurwitz said with a smile, “But the team is preparing to launch a new feature that will encourage users to come back each and every day for chances to win more.”
Join Jump Ramp
While the company may have two founders, they’ve already expanded to more than 50 employees, and are looking to double over the next 18 months.
“If someone thrives on solving problems in the mobile space that have never been tackled before, they should join the team!” Hurwitz said enthusiastically.
If Jump Ramp and Lucktastic sound like a challenge, you can check out their current openings on their career page.
Keeping in Touch with Jump Ramp
Lucktastic has a social footprint of over 5 million followers, so Jump Ramp is no stranger to communicating with users and partners. The best way to keep track of things is via the @Lucktastic Twitter account and Facebook page.
Readers interested in partnering with Jump Ramp on Lucktastic content can check out the company’s official home at the Jump Ramp Games website.
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