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Game studio Sleepy Giant pivots to become mobile marketing automation firm Adaptiv.io

By admin on November 8, 2014 in News
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Sleepy Giant started as a game operations provider, and then it started making its own titles. But now the company is pivoting to become a mobile-marketing automation company.

As such, the Newport Beach, Calif.-based company is changing its name to Adaptiv.io. It has created an event-automation engine, which enables marketing managers to define their marketing and advertising campaigns so that they can acquire more users for their games. Adaptiv.io is one of many companies that are trying to help mobile-game developers target the right customers and get them to spend more time and money.

“We decided to pivot by taking the technology we have developed over seven years and to move into marketing automation,” said David Lee, the co-founder and president of Adaptiv.io. “We don’t think the solutions out there are benefiting marketing managers based on our surveys. They use multiple tools, they build in-house tools, and there are a lot that they don’t use anymore.”

The engine is highly customizable. It enables app publishers and marketers to increase the user engagement and monetization from their cross-channel and cross-platform marketing programs in a dynamic fashion. Adaptiv.io wants to be the hub of a marketing-automation platform that works with other vendors.

“We can help guide users through a game based on past user experience,” Lee said. “As they progress and become more engaged, then we can provide them with different unique experiences inside the game.”

Players may see different kinds of stores for things to buy inside a game. If you show certain players a $99 package of virtual goods to buy, you may scare them off, Lee said. You might be better off showing those users a $5 bargain item.

That sort of marketing automation is a big change from its past life making games. Sleepy Giant opened in 2007. It spent the past seven years doing work for game publishers such as Disney (working on the Disney Infinity game infrastructure), Bethesda (working on The Elder Scrolls Online), and Activision (working on Skylanders and Call of Duty Elite). It built a proprietary technology for developing, publishing, and operating games in a connected world. For instance, it helped build the user interface, community tools, and analytics for Call of Duty Elite, a gamer social network for Call of Duty fans. Sleepy Giant licensed its tech to game publishers, and it did a lot of custom work for them.

Backed by funding in 2012 from Evolution Media Capital, Sleepy Giant started publishing its own games. But the company found it wasn’t able to pour enough money into games that would turn out to be major hits. At one point, it tried to manage a lot of online games that Square Enix had decided to shut down. The company laid off a bunch of folks, and co-founder Matt Hannus left the company.

Now, with a core of 22 employees, the company is shifting out of game publishing and is using the real-time data automation technology to help mobile-gamemakers. It wants to help developers who are finding that 80 percent of players aren’t coming back after the first try.

“We see mobile-analytics firms struggling now, and mobile-marketing firms are becoming more technical,” Lee said.

The company is now inviting partners into a private beta of its mobile-marketing automation platform. It gathers analytics on gamers and then targets them with strategies for retention and monetization. Adaptiv.io can target specific customers who behave in a certain way and then modify marketing promotions, pricing, and incentives for the users.

Developers can integrate Adaptiv.io’s software development kit and begin automating cross-channel marketing, using data from a variety of sources. Adaptiv.io partners with other marketing firms including Parse, Apsalar, Flurry, Upsight, Swrve, Urban Airship, MailChimp, and Mandrill.

“Automation is becoming the fastest growing customer relationship management [CRM] segment enabling marketers to engage with their customers across many platforms,” Lee said. “Our proprietary event-processing automation engine makes it easy to dramatically maximize revenue and user engagement. Whether you’re running a multichannel and multiplatform campaign and leveraging a third-party analytics service, email service, [or] in-app messaging provider — our platform can integrate with your campaign and increase its effectiveness through both out-of-the-box and custom automation actions.”

Rick Hess, the chairman of Adaptiv.io and co-managing partner of EMC, said in a statement, “Adaptiv.io’s team brings deep expertise in building next-generation technology, and we’re looking forward to seeing their automation platform meet the needs of today’s complex marketing programs.”

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