Rise of Kingdoms: MMO RTS Mobile Marketing ASO?
Holy tamale. As a video game marketing professional, I keep tabs on a lot of games. What am I after? The consumer insights and business intelligence. In short, the data. Why? So I can better help my own clients optimize mobile marketing. Literally optimize brand pillars, ASO, advertising strategy, etc. RTS, RPG, FPS, MOBA, Connect-3, or otherwise…
Why Rise of Kingdoms? For starters, the game is well over 2 years old. Its revenue? SensorTower estimates the game racked up 1.2 million downloads and $24 million in revenue in September, across the world.
Put aside what the agencies say for a minute. Mobile Game and App Marketing CAN be understood and mastered – even by first-time mobile game and app founder-entrepreneurs. Allow me to explain. While not a precise science, that averages $2 revenue per same-period install. Very very respectable.
To nail Mobile Game and App Marketing, I break things down to the basic building blocks: the Brand Pillars, the Organic (App Store Optimization or ASO) and the Paid Activation (Ads & Paid Promotions)
Let us explore each one in detail. What are the Brand Pillars, you ask? These are the high-level positioning statements for the mobile game or app. Take Rise of Kingdoms as an example. These are the headers from the Full Description on its Google Play Store.
Seamless World Map
Eleven Unique Civilizations
Exploration & Investigation
Unrestricted Troop Movements
Conquer the Kingdom
Translation? Real-Time Strategy (RTS) Meets Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) Meets Builder
Can we say Clash of Clans meets World of Warcraft mets Age of Empires? As a marketer I typically do not recommend marketing or publishing a mobile game that crosses more than two genres. Why? Think of the gamers and consumers.
And what about the lack of a branded IP? How does this game have a.legitimate chance against huge IPs like Star Wars and Madden? Yes, it’s true this game is lacking a true mass market IP. But keep reading, and you’ll come to appreciate its content genius.
Rise of Kingdoms Played Up Military Legends, National Pride. Be the Gamer Japanese, Chinese, British, Italian, or otherwise.
Think for a minute of the Role Playing Commanders. To men and women familiar with Western civilization? What does the name Julius Caesar convey? Military genius. Golden Age of the Roman Empire.
What about Cao Cao? In Eastern Chinese civilization, Cao Cao was the military genius of his age. A notorious general who required no introductions. Branded? No. Trademarked or trade-named entity? Hardly. Known entity and taps into awareness amongst fans of Chinese military history? ABSOLUTELY.
Again the marketing genius is apparent. At least to THIS video game marketer. If you’re a fan of Strategy games (RTS) like Clash of Clans, you’ll love Rise of Kingdoms. Love Civilization Builder games like Age of Empires? Rise of Kingdoms is a Can Not Miss. Love WOW? Gotta check out Rise of Kingdoms.
Of course Lilith Games, when making video games, did an awesome job of gathering market feedback and consumer insights. And let’s not forget. It’s no easy feat to deliver gameplay invoking Clash of Clans. Nor straightforward to deliver a civilization builder experience like Age of Empires. And few devs have replicated the MMORPG experience that is WOW. To deliver all 3? In one game? Magic.
For ASO Rise of Kingdoms Clearly Set Its Aspirational Targets in its App Store Descriptions and Keywords.
And what about its organic activation? Great question. Let’s take a look. Lilith did a wonderful job of ASO. It knows its Apple and Google Play search algorithms very well. Just take a quick look at its set of target keywords (courtesy AppTweak)
Note Rise of Kingdoms and its use of owned branded keywords. Think “rise of kingdoms juego” “rise of civilization game.” Both in English and foreign languages like Chinese, Spanish, etc.
Now compare that against Clash of Clans. Note COC’s focus almost exclusively on its owned key phrases “Clash of Clans”, “Clan games.” Add to that its use of (presumably) the same key phrases in Arabic and Chinese.
Using AppTweak, You Can Readily See the Game’s Mobile Advertising Creative Strategy Execution, Down to the Individual Creative and Message
Want to know Lilith Games’s paid activation strategy? Mobile analytics tool AppTweak makes it easy to see ad evolution over time, and the current running ad creative. Take a look below and see for yourself.
You can readily see the A/B tests that Lilith is running. Want to drill down on ROK’s ad strategy in France? Note its A/B/C tests between showing one photorealistic image of one military legend Boudica. Now see the one of Boudica presented alongside Joan of Arc and Pelagius of Spain. And how about the spider diagram to appeal to the heavily analytical strategic player? Brilliant!
Want to know even more about Lilith Games’s advertising strategy? In other words, really REALLY know how they’re advertising. Are they using dynamic creative optimization? And what is the split between static Image banners and Videos?
Mobile analytics tools like AppTweak will do that as well. The screenshot below shows a simple breakdown of Lilith Games’s split of advertising across Facebook’s properties. Think Messenger, Audience Network, Instagram, and Facebook.
Few Mobile Breakout Hits Are Successful by Accident. With Hard Work and the Right Tools, You Too Can Optimize the Brand Pillars, Organic Activation, and Paid Activation. Without the $$$ Agency.
As you can see, the above is not black magic. First start by creating a short list of your game’s target features and feature sets. By studying the target keywords and App Store descriptions and assets of competitors, you can formulate a solid set of Brand Pillars to fit your ASO strategy and ad strategy.
Stay up to speed on the latest store requirements for the App Store and Google Play Store separately. And of course, A/B test, test, and test some more.
Invest in a powerful mobile analytics tool like an AppTweak. Readily understand how YOUR competitors are targeting THEIR competitors via keywords. Understand how THEY are spending their Ad budgets. And learn from THEIR A/B tests, past and present. How do THEY maximize discoverability?
With hard work, and a bit of luck, you too can publish your own version of a Rise of Kingdoms. New to the industry? Want to learn the ropes? Better yet, just starting to explore video game careers? Check this out. Got more questions? How can I help?