TikTok drives Habby’s Survivor.io past $15m IAP revenue, 12m downloads


Archero maker Habby has another hit on its hands with Survivor.io.

The zombie shooter was released in August and has already passed 12m downloads and earned Habby a total of $15m IAP revenue to date, according to Appmagic data sourced by mobilegamer.biz.

The vast majority of player spend is on iOS as it stands, because the game was released on the App Store a week before Google Play. Appmagic says Habby has earned just over $12m from IAPs across two Survivor.io binaries – a China-only SKU ($3.4m IAP to date) and the ‘rest of world’ app ($9m IAP to date). The Google Play edition of the game has earned Habby a relatively modest $2.7m to date, because of that week delay.

The three different binaries combined earned Habby over $1m in daily IAP revenue for the first time on August 28, and it has hit $900k in IAP revenue per day since. Appmagic revenue data does not include platform fees, so total gross revenue will be higher.

Download figures are also skewed towards iOS because of that week-long head start. The China-only binary has 3.2m downloads to date, and the rest-of-world app has 5.7m, so a combined 8.9m downloads on iOS. The Google Play edition is on 3m downloads to date.

The game monetises through in-game ads too, which is naturally harder to calculate, but UA expert Matej Lančarič estimates the game is making around $500k per day from ads.

Survivor.io is “marketability testing at its best,” says Lančarič, and puts much of the game’s success down to its TikTok presence.

“Early marketability testing allows you to gain insights into how well your mobile game’s creative concept will perform during user acquisition, but also how your game concept resonates with the target audience,” he writes on his blog. “I’ve run hundreds of campaigns on different games using different types of creatives. The best performing concepts had these things in common: minimalistic graphic design, large hordes of units or huge crowds of people, zombies and a ‘1 hero vs 1 million’ setup.”

Lančarič estimates Habby is spending 50% of its total UA budget on TikTok, with a mix of all the other UA channels – Facebook, Google, Unity, Vungle, IronSource and Applovin – accounting for the other half of the spend.


Survivor.io’s iOS product page screens, courtesy of Sensor Tower.

“Master move from the UA playbook,” says Lančarič. “This game has everything it needs to succeed on TikTok. Minimalistic design, monetisation strategy – 50% IAP, 50% ads, as an educated guess – plus immersive gameplay.”

“TikTok is flooded by Survivor.io videos making it a viral hit which decreases CPIs even more,” he continues. “And no, they are not showcasing real people to make it look like native content. They don’t fuck around with fake best practices you can hear from left to right. They use what works. Gameplay, hordes of zombies, meme headlines and hypercasual creative frameworks. Usually, agencies or UA gurus will tell you that you need to have different creatives for different UA channels. I tend to disagree and Survivor.io is a great example of this. If you have a winning creative it’ll perform not only on both platforms, iOS and Android, but also across all UA channels.”

TikTok is a big contender for an UA channel of this year,” adds Lančarič. “Not only because of the Survivor.io example, but thanks to the performance I am able to see on multiple games. Add it to your UA channel mix as soon as possible.“