Pre-registration marketing campaigns for Android mobile games have been all the rage in Korea and Japan for some time.
And it's in that context that Japanese publisher GREE, working with Israeli virtual marketing platform TROPHiT, has extended the model to the west in terms of the launch of its recent game League of War: Mercenaries on Android, and crucially on iOS too.
Before going live
Pre-registration consists of encouraging players to reserve their in-game account with their email address or Facebook login prior to the game going live, and then leverage this pre-registered user-base to boost awareness and come out with a bang right from launch day.
For Android games, this incentivization can happen with rewards external the game (and not connected with the game content) or with coupon codes; both things that would be in violation of App Store terms and conditions if bought to iOS.
Given Android in the dominant OS in Asia - even in Japan, the market is split 50:50 - this is a core reason why you haven't seen this trend blossom outside of Asia. In most western markets, iOS is the dominant OS, particularly in terms of IAP revenues.
The pre-registration cohort performed 2x to 4x better than cohorts acquired through Facebook and organically.
The global solution
By relying on TROPHiT's patent-pending technologies, GREE set up a pre-registration campaign for League of War: Mercenaries, which offered to players the chance to start the game with a unique and exclusive tank.
TROPHiT's tech being already white-listed with all platform holders, and GREE's campaign being focused on offering virtual assets from within the game, the pre-registration campaign could be successfully run globally on both Apple App Store and Google Play.
And the best part is no SDK had to be implemented in the app to run this campaign. GREE could simply set up the TROPHiT integration through its trusted traffic source attribution partner, Adjust.
The League of War: Mercenaries campaign was run for 30 days between March and April 2016.
Since it was aimed at raising awareness, it was fueled strictly by GREE's owned and earned channels. No UA budget was spent on the campaign.
"Trophit makes the redemption process easy to execute when running pre-registration and email marketing campaigns, and adds the convenience of accurate attribution for analysis," according to Kenneth Mei, GREE's Marketing & UA Manager.
The most interesting finding came after the campaign had ended.
When analyzing in-game user behavior over 30 days, it turned out the pre-registration cohort performed 2x to 4x better than cohorts acquired through Facebook and organically in terms of LTV projection.
Besides the burst value of the campaign, it seems it also brought very loyal users into the game. The fact they have been given a taste of exclusive content has increased those users' perceived value of the service.
This is something TROPHiT had already observed through its other value driven marketing activities.
Global app marketers have a new digital toy to play with.
Full Disclosure: Pascal Clarysse is a Strategy Advisor to TROPHiT.