Mexican Train, a modern version of dominoes, is a game available on iOS/Android developed by Christian Tuskes. While he didn’t create the game of Mexican Train, he did create a digital version for people interested in playing on their mobile device or desktop. Tuskes was working on his master’s thesis in Computer Science and was looking for a project to do for his degree. Coincidentally, he was learning how to play Mexican Train at the same time which sparked the idea of creating the game for the web as well as an app.

The Brief

When Tuskes first launched Mexican Train, he was managing the front-end, back-end and everything in between for the website and app and that included ad monetization. He felt like he wasn’t able to dedicate the time and attention that Mexican Train needed to grow its ad revenue. That’s where Freestar comes in.

Mexican Train was looking for an in-app monetization solution that could address:

  • Increasing ad revenue – Tuskes wanted to dedicate more resources to improving Mexican Train’s ad revenue strategy.
  • Monetizing multiple platforms – Mexican Train was looking for one, central monetization solution that could do in-app. They didn’t want to juggle between solutions/relationships.
  • Industry expertise – Tuskes knew that he would need a team

"Freestar offers a great solution for app developers. It’s amazing to be able to outsource in-app monetization to a trusted team. We saw results within the first month or two and our metrics have only improved from there."

The Approach

Tuskes shopped around for the perfect ad monetization solution. After learning about Freestar from other developers, Freestar checked all the boxes that Tuskes was looking for. The implementation of Mexican Train was fairly straightforward. It also helped that Tuskes is a developer himself so he understands the ins and outs of the tech.

To optimize Mexican Train, Freestar focused on:

  • User Experience –Freestar placed ads in strategic locations and set a refresh rate that wouldn’t be disruptive to users.
  • High Impact Ad Units –Mexican Train wanted to maximize yield while considering user experience. We added high-impact units like rewarded video to do just that!
  • Premium Demand Partners – When Tuskes was managing his ad operations, he wasn’t able to access certain demand partners. With Freestar, we were able to add additional partners to his ad stack like AdColony, Yahoo, Nimbus and more.

The Results

With Freestar, Tuskes is able to focus on making Mexican Train better. He doesn’t have to spend his time and energy fixing bugs or setting up new ad products because Freestar does all of that for him. Mexican Train saw an increase in ad revenue the first month. For Android and iOS, Freestar applied yield tactics like 30-second ad refresh to make the most out of a user’s session. 

For Android, Mexican Train achieved 58.7% in revenue YOY and eCPMs improved by over 40% from the previous month even with low seasonality. We also improved overall eCPMs by 3X through additional demand partners and high-impact ad units. For iOS, Freestar was able to help Mexican Train navigate through all of the industry changes with the launch of iOS 14 while also improving yield by adding net new demand.

For anyone looking to outsource their ad monetization, Tuskes suggests letting go and trusting your solution. The benefits of outsourcing outweigh having an in-house team – from the lack of overhead to an expert ad tech team, who wouldn’t want to outsource?