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May 15, 2019

Before the Store. Promotion of mobile MMORPG − Talion. Comprehensive Approach by Zorka.Mobi and Gamevil

Today, marketers have a fixed pool of tools for mobile apps promotion: classic performance marketing, media campaigns, influencer marketing, etc. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. It’s important to have not only the right tools, but also the right strategy. In this article, we will tell you about an unusual case where we used two user acquisition channels: influencer marketing and buying CPA traffic. And we did all this ahead of the official launch.

Challenge

Acquire a target number of pre-registrations during the first stage of the campaign and achieve a target number of qualified installs at stage two. 

Sources: myTarget, Target VK, influencers.

Introduction

Talion is an open-world MMORPG from Gamevil, one of the largest game developers with offices in South Korea, USA, and Germany. Enhanced with stunning graphics, Talion tells a story about war between alliances. Players have complete freedom in the game, can rotate the camera and look at their characters from various angles thanks to 360° Point-of-View.


Screenshot from app’s page in Google Play


We launched campaigns at the end of January, when a full version was not available, just a pre-registration release. iOS and Android users could express interest via a dedicated landing page, designed by Gamevil. When the game was officially launched, potential users received an email notification with a download link. 

Comprehensive approach

Our partnership with Gamevil started in July 2018. We were speaking at a local meetup in South Korea, sharing in-depth analysis of the Russian mobile games market and guidance on what to expect when starting out in Russia. After the talk, we met the Gamevil team for the first time. A few months later, in Berlin we’re with Gamevil and launched a couple test campaigns. The schedule was tough as the 1st launch was planned for January 28, just a month before releasing the full version.

The customer had pretty clear needs: ads in social media and influencer marketing. Geography of promotion — Russia. By that time, the game had been already fully localized. The customer had also prepared a landing page intended to acquire users. A logical approach that helps users become familiar with the product while also creating hype pre-release.  

Jumping ahead, we should point out that we arranged campaigns both for pre-release and post-release stages.

Campaign milestones — Pre-registrations

Any performance campaign starts with target audience definition. In our case, it was men from 20 to 40 years. Additionally, we targeted audiences with similar games and interests: Gamers, Games, Video Games, Mobile Games, Online Games, Fantasy Games, MMORPG, Lineage, etc.

Our main focus was social media, using myTarget and Target VK as traffic sources.

“At Zorka.Mobi, we often work with game titles and didn’t have any issues with traffic acquisition,” says Zorka.Mobi’s CMO, Dmitry Chudovsky. “The only thing that demanded a lot of our attention and time was creatives. The process of buying was handled exclusively by our in-house buying team. This enabled us to generate a very large number of creatives — hundreds during the whole campaign.”

Influencer Marketing was another acquisition channel used in parallel with performance campaigns.

Having analyzed our database with over 300k bloggers from 90 countries, we pre-selected 100 relevant influencers. Filtering further we strategically selected 21 core influencers with detailed KPIs: minimum and maximum number of views, clicks and target actions. After final approval of the media plan, we set out with influencer ads. Here are a few examples:

●  Video on the FROST channel. Format: full review.

●  Video on the Orc-podcaster channel. Format: integration.

Following common confidentiality practices, we cannot disclose the exact KPIs achieved. However, we are happy to say that we reached the overall milestones as set out on the pre-registration landing pages. Which means over 250,000 pre-registrations in total.

Campaign Milestones — Direct Downloads

The first thing that changed in performance campaigns after the in-store release was the cost model. We moved from CPA to CPI model and used it to evaluate the cost per install from different sources.

In terms of approach, there was little difference between pre-registrations and installs. We kept the same traffic sources too. The only changes were in banners, which were specifically adapted for the game download.


Ad banner


Not much changed for the influencer campaigns. 

“Usually, we do recommend our clients to use a mix of non-gaming and gaming influencers to acquire game downloads,’’ says Dmitry Hudoy, Head of Influencer Marketing at Zorka.Mobi. This allows us to reach a wider audience, while maximizing performance, as well as achieving client’s PR goals. In this particular case, upon client’s request, we leave the same set of influencers (only non-gaming) for the second stage of our campaign. In general, all integrations performed well during the first stage, except several channels that didn’t meet our expectations. So, we agreed with the client to skip those.”

Our internal platform Zorka.Video (developed in-house by Zorka.Mobi) helps us to precisely track performance of influencer ads. It aggregates data about the number of views, link clicks and app installs. And thanks to its ability of forecasting the minimum and maximum performance indicators for each channel, the platform makes campaign planning a breeze.

On February 28, Talion’s official release day, influencers started to publish ad videos. They were coming out as scheduled during 9 days, till March 8. After 2 to 3 weeks, when the videos reached the max amount of views, the client could fully evaluate the results based on the reports we provided.

It is worth noting that during the advertising campaign Talion became the #1 RPG in Russia.

Takeaways

Today, the combination of performance and influencer marketing israre. Advertisers are typically reluctant to launch campaigns at pre-release. This case proves that this strategy is not only reasonable, but can greatly improves the promotional result. On the one hand, influencer marketing increases audience’s loyalty and gives the opportunity to provide users with a detailed product overview. On the other hand, performance marketing delivers narrow targeting and works well with influencers. This synergy creates a viral affect that improves the overall result.

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Zorka.Mobi

Creative Mobile Performance Agency

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