Is Glu’s celebrity apps strategy paying off?

By Ana L.

Last month, Glu Mobile unveiled a new celebrity inspired mobile game– Britney Spears: American Dream. The game lets you take a peek into the life of Britney and according to Glu, live a pop star fantasy.

Glu, the producer of games like “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood”, “Deer Hunter”, “Diner Dash”, and “Katy Perry Pop” has seen both success and failure with its celebrity inspired line of games.

While the early growth of their latest celebrity game looks promising, the question on everyone’s mind is whether it’s trajectory and outcome will be similar to Katy Perry Pop, which never managed to break into the top 100 iOS app charts? Or does the app have the potential to rival Glu’s biggest hit Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and make long term bank for its producer?

We turned to SurveyMonkey Intelligence to find out if Glu’s new celebrity inspired game has the potential to succeed and if their strategy is working out.

Britney Spears: American Dream doesn’t compete with best in class celebrity apps

In terms of downloads, Britney Spears: American Dream seemed to be off to a solid start. It got over 110k downloads just days after launch. However, when comparing the app’s launch debut to Glu’s other celebrity hit, Kendall & Kylie, the new app has a long way to go. Kendall & Kylie got over 460k downloads at a similar time after its launch.

Quick decline in MAU shows celebrity inspired games are not a long term strategy

When it comes to gaming, downloads don’t tell the full story. Monthly active users (MAU) will decay much more slowly for a good game.

A peek at Glu’s portfolio shows that MAU for these types of games drops off quickly after launch. After a successful launch, Kendall & Kylie is now seeing just over 1 million MAU, and it’s users are churning quickly– we predict that it’s usage will fall below that of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood in the next few months. Kim Kardashian West, Glu’s less successful game is now down to 94k MAU.

Only Kim Kardashian: Hollywood continues to see a solid MAU retention with over 800k MAU. The fact that so many people are still playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood after it’s launch is a good sign for Glu and shows that celebrity inspired games could potentially make bank in the long run. Time will tell whether Glu is able to replicate the MAU retention of it’s biggest hit.

A quick glance at revenue shows that it also decays quickly after the initial launch bump. Britney Spears: American Dream will unlikely make up for the revenue decline of Glu’s other celebrity games given that its revenue is already starting to decline.

Celebrity inspired games may actually be cannibalizing each other’s users

Glu has tried launching multiple apps featuring the same celebrity– but is that working out? Our data shows that when the Kendall & Kylie game was released, the usage of the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game actually dropped. This implies that some users probably switched playing the original game, something Glu should consider in its future strategy.

Glu is taking a bet with celebrity inspired games

The big question remains whether celebrity inspired apps can be good business in the long run. Partnership with Britney seems to be just one of many celebrity releases that Glu is planning for 2016. Glu’s CEO Niccolo de Masi told The Verge that the company “announced a number of partnerships with high-profile celebrities whose titles are all currently in development,” and is rumored to release new games featuring Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift.

Some more time will have to pass for us to see whether these partnerships can become a successful long-term strategy. Here at SurveyMonkey Intelligence, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the growth and retention of these apps.

This post originally appeared on June 14, 2016 on the blog of SurveyMonkey Intelligence, a competitive intelligence product for mobile apps.

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