Developing user acquisition expertise is something all game developers wish they could master in the shortest possible time. We all know generating critical mass at an early stage is the best way to generate cash flow and overall returns, but finding the best way to do this can be difficult – especially when you are entering a completely new market.
Unsurprisingly, a large percentage of marketing budgets will be dedicated to the daunting task of acquiring users. However, money isn’t the only way to boost your UA. Developers must be creative and adaptable in how they build their user bases, utilizing a collection of best practices and lessons learned from past developers who have (or haven’t) found success in the APAC region.
While many of the same user acquisition (UA) strategies that apply to games in the Western world also apply to the APAC market, an understanding of the unique context and user preferences here will give you an advantage when it comes to amplifying your game’s success in China.
Weak user acquisition strategies that presume too much about the Chinese market or rely on ineffective marketing channels run the risk of losing money and ultimately stalling growth in a potentially lucrative market. You probably don’t need to be reminded, but China is a place where technology advances rapidly and new titles are constantly entering the market – as tastes change, so too must the tactics of game developers.
To help you get closer to achieving user acquisition expertise and bringing new users to your title, we’ve collected some important UA tips for the Asian market.
Starting from the very beginning, preparing your game for launch is one of the most important things you can do. Soft launches are a great way to test how your product is received by your target audience and collect feedback that can inform important modifications before the game hits the market in full-scale.
This also involves researching and understanding the gaming community relevant to your title. Offering users a sneak peek into the progress you are making could be a great way to generate a buzz around your title during the pre-release phase.
This is not a time to be reckless or arrogant based on what you think will or won’t work. Simply taking on board feedback from the gaming community could help you focus on your unique selling points and improve your chances for success.
Soft launches also protect your brand’s integrity by reducing the likelihood of negative reviews, buying you time to adjust and tweak anything that was flagged up during the soft launch period.
In order to improve your performance in the Chinese games market, you will need to find a way to measure your progress as you go. Defining the KPIs that best apply to your game will give you priceless information about how your game is evolving in its new habitat.
Finding the right analytics tools is key here to tracking this data and organising your campaign. From UA to ad monetization, make sure you understand your targets and how to measure your overall performance.
UA involves a collection of processes and marketing strategies aimed at securing higher numbers of users for a specific game or platform. This can involve paying cost per install (CPI) providers and game modifications.
Using specific cost per install (CPI) providers is a proven way of gaining more users. It is also an easy way to measure your success in relation to your marketing spend as you push forward with a plan for game amplification in Asia.
Though there are other ways to measure success, this process provides foreign developers hoping to crack the Asian games market with a tangible way of tracking their progress as they strive for new users.
The best providers of these services vary depending on the region you are targeting. While some companies will be widely recognised in the US or Europe, you should focus on finding providers that have access to the hundreds of different distribution channels in China.
By pushing out advertisements across thousands of different traffic sources and multiple digital channels, companies like Mintegral or UPLTV can bring your game to the people you want to reach.
Within China’s diverse landscape of media platforms, it’s important to choose the right UA services as part of your CPI campaign. The provider you choose should be able to connect your title with your target audience and help support your overall UA efforts.
Once you’ve identified your ideal customer segments in China, you can start to place more emphasis on acquiring those users who will benefit your brand in the long-term, adding to your brand’s overall exposure and popularity. For instance, targeting your UA strategy on younger players with focused content that really connects with their interests might buy you a user for life – or for hyper-casual games, may contribute to the viability of your title among this demographic. If this is your goal, consider distribution channels that target teenagers and young adults.
“Each country, region, or segment you try to target will come with its own obstacles and opportunities. Make sure you regularly adapt your strategy based on the research you gather along the way.”
Your advertisements and overall marketing efforts can be tailored to cater to the kind of users that are best for your title in order to increase the overall value of your user acquisition strategy. If you are marketing a midcore or hardcore mobile game title, you will be focused on retaining users for the longest possible time.
However, for hyper-casual titles with typically short engagement loops and low retention that rely on in-app advertisements for the generation of revenue, you should be focused on generating a large user base in a short amount of time with a goal to activate them as soon as possible with high-performance ads.
This is one of the most important UA tips for the Asian market. Each country, region, or segment you try to target will come with its own obstacles and opportunities. Make sure you regularly adapt your strategy based on the research you gather along the way.
If you need to, change any fundamental KPIs that aren’t working so that you are achieving better results. This could mean A/B testing your creative output and ad formats to find the most effective way to improve your Effective Cost Per Mille (eCPM). You may find that one ad mediation tool or ad network partner is better than another.
The Chinese gaming market changes rapidly; this shouldn’t be news to most developers. But adapting to these changes is a vital part of finding success here.
Working with JoyPac gives you access to an experienced global publishing team with direct expertise in the APAC market. Our team will help you crack the Asian games market with the strategy you need to acquire the right user base.
Users with high lifetime value (LTV) will keep generating money for you over a set period of time. There are different ways to measure this, but in its simplest form, LTV measures the value of a user during the total time they play your game.