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Nov 29, 2018

Zorka.Mobi and Azur Games – Case Study: experimental mobile shooter pre-release campaign

Experimental mobile shooter pre-release campaign

Challenge

Azur Games is a global developer and publisher of mobile games with a portfolio counting more than 15 projects. The most popular among them are World War Heroes, Modern Strike Online, Pocket Troops, and Space Armada.

In April 2018, the company launched a new project called INFINITY OPS: Sci-Fi FPS (at first, the name was “Destiny Warfare”) — a multiplayer first-person sci-fi shooter.

The game is taking place in the distant future, where humankind faces its technological decline followed by interplanetary space wars.



At the end of March, the app was officially pre-released. The game was announced for Google Play (now also available in the App Store) and users could only pre-register and had no other options. This means that players needed to press the “Register” button to confirm their interest in the new game. When it went live, they received a special notification and could instantly download it.

With this approach, some marketing campaigns often offer perks for the players. When the app is released, users get a starter bonus for installation, which motivates them to play more.

Full release was scheduled for the 18th of April when the app was made available for downloading.

“Initially, influencer marketing wasn’t on our promotion agenda,” says Zakhar Serebryannikov, CMO at Azur Games. “There were a bunch of reasons why we decided to use this marketing tool for the pre-registration stage, including a professional interest. We wanted to try influencer marketing to see how it performs and whether it can work for us. Currently, there is no viable user acquisition method available for the pre-registration stage. This is why, to complement our traditional marketing efforts, we decided to experiment and give it a go with influencers. It turned out to be a great decision.”

Influencers are generally perceived as an image-building channel. Marketing strategies however inevitably adapt to new technologies and user habits trying to use all traffic sources and make the most of them. And influencer marketing is becoming an important part of the omnichannel approach as it addresses the crucial challenges: reach and engagement.

Azur Games has an in-house marketing team that deals with all traditional sources (e.g. Facebook). They developed and launched a traditional marketing campaign, but didn’t have experience of working with influencers on a pre-registration campaign. As the launch was scheduled only 2 weeks before the release, Azur Games turned to Zorka.Mobi to take on this challenge. 

The campaign had following prerequisites:

●          Objective is to ensure the maximum number of pre-registrations (not less than 1 million) by the release day

●          Geography – worldwide (except China and CIS countries)

●          Target audience – men, 18-35 years

●          Platform – Android

●          Campaign duration – from March 28 to April 19, 2018  

Marketing campaign

“Based on the previous experience in game promotion, we decided to choose YouTube out of all other influencer marketing channels. Initially, our campaign was focused on the English-speaking users, but we eventually decided to make a shift to Latin America. The reason behind this decision is that the app was announced for Android only and the majority of this platform’s users is located exactly in this region,” says Iryna Kavalchuk, Business Development Manager at Zorka.Mobi.

Having analyzed our database with over 300k bloggers from 90 countries, we pre-selected 30 relevant influencers. The selection continued and we picked 13 influencers to be included in the media plan, as they were most suitable for driving pre-registrations from the target audience.

During our campaign, one of the influencers quit. So, to achieve the forecasted results, we quickly looked for a substitute. We managed to find not just one, but several influencers, and added them to the campaign, as they were a perfect match for our task.

The screenshot of our media plan with audience data of the selected influencers can be found below (as of March 28, 2018).

We used our in-house influencer marketing platform for making forecasts. It can predict the min and max number of clicks, conversions, and other performance indicators.

After the media plan had been approved, the campaign started: negotiations with bloggers, approval of creatives, production and release of videos.


The example of an integration on NoahsNoah channel (the game in the integration called “Destiny Warfare”)

Results



Influencer campaigns are often believed to be hard to predict and measure. However, tracking links and high-quality post-analytics make it possible. During 22 days, the campaign resulted in 1.3M pre-registrations both from Facebook promotion by Azur Games and influencer campaign by Zorka.Mobi (see graph 1).



Graph 1 – Campaign breakdown by day

Additional results:

●    Influencer campaign generated approximately 28% of the total number of pre-registrations

●    After the release, conversion-to-install from pre-registrations of the entire campaign amounted to around 32.5%

●    Clicks continued to grow after the campaign ended (see graph 2)

●   Number of sessions from the entire campaign was over 3 million on the first day after the launch (April 19)

●   The goal was reached – the number of pre-registrations even exceeded the initially planned target


Graph 2 – data from the customer

Conclusion

Our case with Azur Games demonstrated that the experiment was worth it. This campaign also proved the effectiveness of influencer marketing in acquiring users during pre-registration. 

If you decide to follow this model in promoting your products, keep in mind that you have to provide video content because bloggers will not be able to make the gameplay footage.

In this experiment, we decided not to use the iOS platform, which helped to attract the desired target audience. Thus, for proper targeting by region, you need to clearly understand your product and take into account the platform for its promotion. For example, if your app has only an Android version, select bloggers with the audience from Latin America. If it is only available on iOS, then pick influencers from the USA. This will allow you to minimize the loss of traffic.




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