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Trophy Games and Yodo1: How a Simple Test Became a Lasting Growth Partnership

In September 2022, Trophy Games teamed up with Yodo1 with a simple goal: to see if their existing ad monetization solution could be improved upon. They started with just one game, Tiny Rails, to test the waters, and the results were not what they expected.

This article tells the story of their experiment, why they chose to work with Yodo1, and how it turned into a bigger partnership. It’s a glimpse into the decisions game companies make to continue growing in an increasingly competitive industry, and it highlights the importance of picking the right partners to do it with.

Read on for an insider’s view of the choices fast-growing companies make to stay ahead in today’s gaming industry.

 

First Contact: Testing the Waters

Trophy Games is a Copenhagen-based mobile game studio with a proven track record of successfully developing and publishing games, as well as acquiring and scaling games. Their portfolio covers multiplayer strategy and manager games that include tycoon and sports titles like Train Manager, Shipping Manager, Transit King Tycoon, and Football Management Ultra, to name just a few of over a dozen hit games.

The company invests in games that it believes have solid growth potential and then works to make that possibility a reality. Part of that is never being satisfied with “good enough” or waiting until there’s a slump or a problem, but proactively seeking ways their games can do better.

This brings us to a key experiment. The well-known ad monetization mediation solution Trophy Games had been using for some time was performing well enough, but tasks like ad waterfall maintenance are time and resource-intensive, and fraught with challenges that can impact ad performance, and revenue. Was there something better?

In September of 2022, they conducted a pilot experiment using Yodo1’s managed monetization solution with one of their smaller games, Tiny Rails. For context, this solution (called MAS) is a core pillar of Yodo1’s Growth Accelerator Program, which helps developers and studios grow and scale their games. It’s incredibly easy to use: a single SDK to install and that’s it—there’s no waterfall setup or optimization required by the user, and payments are quick and consolidated.

So, it was a simple test with Tiny Rails. Expectations were neutral. One could even call it dabbling. They didn’t expect what happened next.

 

The Turning Point

This low-stakes experiment of switching from their previous solution to Yodo1 saw Tiny Rails hit a very significant 30% average increase in eCPM across iOS and Android.

Trophy Games had been reasonably satisfied with their previous monetization solution. The fact that Yodo1’s option, MAS, was able to so significantly outperform it, and by such a wide margin, was a surprise and made moving more games to Yodo1 a no-brainer.

In April of 2023, Trophy Games decided to test Yodo1’s monetization solution on two of their large titles, the best-selling Shipping Manager and Airline Manager, which had previously only been monetized with IAPs. 

Both games saw a meaningful boost in traffic, opening the door to significant ad revenue. Daniel Luun, CEO of Trophy Games Publishing, says, “While ad monetization hasn’t been something we’ve spent a lot of time on, our traffic has increased so much that it became a real need. Using MAS is a perfect solution for us right now as it frees our employees’ time to focus on the things we are very strong at. And I think the players are happy, too.”

The positive eCPM results from the Tiny Rails experiment were crucial in this decision, of course, but Trophy Games was also impressed with the Yodo1 team’s responsiveness and expertise in managing their ad monetization waterfall. As seasoned pros in monetizing hit games like Rodeo Stampede (which Yodo1 publishes), working with us goes well beyond an easy-to-integrate SDK. Yodo1 is a growth partner helping developers and studios around the world improve their revenue, get more players, and scale globally.

It was clear to Trophy Games that Yodo1 was the specialist partner they needed; both games went live in June of 2023.

 

Stepping Stones to Big Things

With impressive results continuing to roll in with each new game using MAS, Trophy Games started integrating the SDK into their other games, adding a new one almost every month. And as hurdles arise, we work hand-in-hand with the team at Trophy to navigate them. For instance, ANRs (App Not Responding) errors, which had been an issue with Tiny Rails, have decreased significantly. Daniel comments, “While you (Yodo1) already helped us a lot, it’s still an issue for us in some of our games, especially Transit King […] Luckily, Tiny Rails has, with a lot of effort, finally moved below the ANR threshold.”

Eventually, all of their transport management games were integrated successfully. As of now, in early 2024, they have decided to bring Yodo1’s SDK into all of their games, moving over their sports games, too.

It has become a valued partnership that blossomed and continues to expand. With Trophy Games, we continually strive for better performance, improved stability, and faster growth, as we do with all our partners. Real results, and real value as partners. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Trophy Games has built a strategic business model that focuses on picking the right games while pursuing an active growth strategy, and, perhaps most importantly, they are in it for the long haul: longevity is the goal.

Those are some of our goals, too, and we are looking forward to exploring new opportunities and deepening the relationship through the years and games to come. Read about the Growth Accelerator Program to learn more about how we partner with games at every stage of growth.