PocketGamer.biz does not need to express how vital user acquisition is to the mobile games industry. With IAPs driving less than 50 per cent of revenue, and privacy changes from Apple and Google disrupting the ad monetisation landscape, bringing more players onboard is only becoming more vital.
This means thinking creatively, strategically, and sometimes even misleadingly. Claire Rozain, UA team lead at Rovio, casts her expert lens on the latest user acquisition strategies in her new weekly column, UA Eye.
Rivergame sells a top war
Rivergame is the developer of Top War, a 4x strategy game that combines merge mechanic and core gameplay. To me, it is the perfect example of a successful hybrid-casual game and demonstrating the value of not being confined to any one genre.
More importantly, Rivergame is an advertising trend setter. You often see this in the team’s decision to invest heavily in ‘misleading’ creative – graphical depictions that do not reflecting the gameplay but rather a feel of the game. I would regard them perhaps one of the best examples of creative UA on various channel such as TikTok.
But one of Rivergame's many ads is centred very specifically at the jelly mechanic. It has proven to be a satisfying element and mechanic in puzzle, Match-3, and hybrid-casual games. But can you focus your messaging on a single mechanic alone?
Here are the four key areas that I think work in this:
The hat – showing the first attack between a jelly character against the main character. Getting a hat on characters is best practice in advertising, used heavily in hybrid-casual.
The jelly – showing the ground environment, the combat game mechanics, the character and even how the merge produces the jelly texture. There is a degree of texture-ASMR with the 3D graphics that is aligned with the central conceit.
The story arc – merging is a central mechanic in Top War. By showing characters in conflict and how the merge mechanic can be used to overcome it, you give the viewer a sneak peak into the satisfying sense of achievement from victory, as well sell the game's mechanics.
The Archero-style progression – mobile games frequently iterate on one another. Taking inspiration from a well-known game progression system can lend clarity to another gameplay style.
However, ultimately, there is a lot of detail – perhaps too much – in this ad. While you can certainly engineer benefits from a bold, bombastic ad that overwhelms with features, in this instance being more minimalist would have helped the viewer get a better sense of the player's journey and end goal.
Frankly, I would have made it much more straightforward.
You can find every weekly installment of Claire Rozain's UA Eye through this link, and for more from Rozain, check out the Puzzle Society.