While PC and console games have been the long-standing champs of the gaming industry, 2016 ushered in a new leader: mobile games. In fact, it was the first year that mobile games surpassed PC games in market share, with more than $37 billion in revenue. So how do you, as a marketer, get a piece of that? An opportunity this big requires the experts, so we enlisted Elisa Park, associate director of digital marketing at Wargaming, to tell us her best tips.
Elisa has more than 13 years of experience in marketing, working with various international game developers and publishers. She’s spent the last five years cracking the code in acquisition, retention, and monetization. And her efforts show; her current company, Wargaming, earned the 2013 Golden Joystick Award Winner for Best Online Game, in addition to its other popular titles. Here are five of our burning questions and her winning answers:
How do you market your mobile game to new users?
We find that users who enjoy playing our game [World of Tanks] across devices find us on mobile. Our biggest focus is on player happiness. We provide 24/7 player support and strive to grow our community through social media—we believe that keeping our players happy will naturally grow a larger community.
We also try to utilize all possible marketing channels including owned, earned, and paid media. For paid media, we have been acquiring users through typical channels such as mobile ad networks (Google AdWords and AdMob) and social media channels (Facebook and Instagram). To reach larger audiences and generate brand awareness, we oftentimes have ongoing larger brand campaigns through TV, desktop online media, and creative influencer campaigns.
What’s your advantage on app stores?
Our company has built strong relationships with Apple and Google, and we are often featured on their respective stores. Outside of that, we constantly test our app store pages to maximize ASO (app store optimization).
What have you found to be the most effective approach for user acquisition?
Video performs very well for us. Since mobile ad units are limited by banner size, video incorporates details about the game that small units do not.
What tactics do you use to provide a great gaming experience, and how do you track user engagement?
We work to stay true to our main philosophy of free-to-win—as opposed to play-to-win—so that players can enjoy the game without feeling any monetary pressure.
Our developers are dedicated to regularly updating our game with fresh and exciting content taken directly from community feedback and to also showcase current trends. During the May the 4th (Force) season, we created an exclusive, special in-game tank and skin to look like a spaceship—the Starchaser!
Every year, we attend gaming events such as E3 and PAX to hold large player gatherings and throw events for our community. We want to meet our players in person and make sure they know we are listening to them, and that they have the most positive in-game and out-of-game experience with us. To ensure this, we monitor the user’s in-game progress, retention rate, and lifetime.
Where do mobile game marketers often fall short when trying to acquire new users? How can they improve this?
I find that some game marketers only measure installs rather than checking in-app conversions. Marketers should always track and optimize in-app conversions to bring in more quality users. When marketers set the CPI threshold, they should check LTV by each channel instead of setting one CPI threshold for all channels. It is important to pay respective CPI based on the value from each channel.
It is easy for mobile marketers to focus on user acquisition solely through mobile platforms as it makes sense for direct response campaigns, but traditional media (TV, print) and desktop ads could help in reaching larger audiences and building better brand awareness. This will ultimately help not only user acquisition, but also long-term success.
Get more mobile gaming pro tips
Elisa is just one of the mobile gaming experts featured in our guide, “Acquisition and Engagement Tips from Mobile Gaming Ninjas.” The report is chock full of interviews with the best in the industry, including:
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Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.