Mobile Game Launch Tips: Part 2, Global Launch

Original author: Warren Woodward, NEXON M
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This is the second part of the series. The first part can be found here .

After you conducted a soft launch of your game, received the first data and feedback, and made the necessary changes to the application, it's time to prepare for a global launch. Many people think that it is very difficult to organize it correctly. But there are steps you can take to make everything go smoothly. Let's consider them.



Set goals


In the first week or month you will encounter opportunities that you will never see again in the life cycle of the game - be prepared and do not miss them.

For example, you will find that the lowest CPI will be at the beginning of a global launch — additional marketing such as PR and reviews in app stores increases the number of organic users. During this period, you will have many different channels for interacting with users - they watch your ad and simultaneously read the review or see banners in the app store. This increases the likelihood of installing the application, which in turn reduces the CPI.

Define a launch strategy


Advertising creatives

During the global launch, I recommend using the 10 + 10 rule - to develop at least 10 unique promotional videos and 10 static concepts that can double for both ads and endcards.

At this stage, do not be afraid to experiment a bit with creatives. Imagine that you are an advertising agency, and try high-concept video and other cool stuff. Here's a good rule: let 50% of your creatives show gameplay, while the other 50% will try something unusual.

In addition to video and static ads, I, as a big fan of playable ads, consider them a key part of the standard game launch process. I recommend having one or two playable ads to the beginning of the launch.

If you develop your own creatives, give your team at least 8 weeks to create them.

Alternatively, or in addition to your own creatives, you can also use the power of ad networks - they can develop video and playable ads for free. For example, one advertising network developed several playable ads for our new game Battlejack, which showed excellent results. Networks are usually willing to help in a creative strategy, because they know that then you are more likely to spend more money from them. Below we take a closer look at how to use playable ads.

The best thing you can do is start A / B testing right away. Some creatives may work well in terms of user conversion (show higher CTR and conversion), but they will not necessarily bring the right users when it comes to interaction with the application or early metrics, such as tutorial completion, and monetization.

It is important to first analyze the entire funnel to determine which creatives will work. Before you have enough data, distribute traffic based on metrics from delivery to conversion. In a few days you will be able to understand how each creative monetizes users, and maximize profitability. Work closely with your ad networks so they can assist you in the optimization process.



Advertising sources

It is best to use from 8 to 10 channels that work well for you and previously made a profit. You can include several new sources that you have not previously used, but they should not exceed 20% of your budget.

If you work with an advertising network, convey to them your goals so that they can find and use profitable sources. However, do not forget to reserve part of the budget for finding a new supply with high profitability - for example, some publishers may surprise you with good results that you did not expect.

Be sure to blacklist the bad publishers before launching. If you have already run several games, you probably have a list of publishers you want to add to the blacklist. You can also ask about the ad network you work with. Try to focus, as the budget is limited and you can lose a lot of money.

Optimization

Plan to optimize first publishers and optimize rates on all networks on Monday and Friday. We call this stage "Stop the Bloodshed." Ask yourself: “Do not we overestimate the stakes in any country? Do we use the planned budget to the end? Are there any bad publishers we spend a lot on? ”

To identify a poor publisher, watch for any abnormalities in the first-day retreat or in early game events, such as completing a tutorial. If you see that a certain source or advertising network is lagging behind in these indicators, lower the bid or remove them from the launch.

After a week of data collection, postpone optimizing the funnel's early activities and focus on optimizing paying users and optimizing on the basis of profitability.

If you work with an ad network, ask them to understand your goals so that they can optimize your advertising to the maximum. Provide them with clear success indicators and paths to goals. Tell me, if they can reach a certain ROI by the 7th day, then you can continue to increase and increase your expenses. It motivates them to take the time to help you achieve this goal.

As for ROAS (return on advertising costs), you can use early indicators, such as completing a tutorial, sessions or retention, to predict what will be the return of these measurements.

Wise words

Clear your calendar for your starting week! It will be crazy, and you may have to work on weekends.

Using playable ads in global launch



Playable ad, developed for our game Battlejack, had a very high engagement rate and IPM (installation per thousand impressions), and showed results twice as good as our ordinary video ads. Since playable ads worked in the same place as the videos, we were able to reduce the rate of video ads by 2 times and transfer this traffic to playable - this allowed us to scale very quickly and achieve our goals.

Interactive advertising works well because it meets the overall strategy and objectives of the launch. You want to attract users who know what they will get before installing the application. In this case, they go through the tutorial even before they install the game itself. Thus, you do not pay for users who do not like the application.

It will also allow you to exceed your competitors' eCPM (eCPM = CPI x install rate). By competitors, I mean other marketers who compete for the same users. If your performance exceeds them, then you will most likely get these users. This way you can bet faster and, eventually, scale faster.

About the Author

Warren Woodward is director of UA at NEXON M, the largest mobile gaming company in Korea and one of the ten largest in the world in San Francisco. Their hits include games like DomiNations, Titanfall: Assault and Battlejack.

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