A Guide on Advertising Campaign to Promote Mobile Game on Facebook
The mobile ad market is quite segmented and represented by a variety of players and solutions: social networks and search ad networks, mobile ad networks and platforms, affiliate networks, video networks, DSP solutions etc. However, not all of them are effective when it comes to promoting mobile games.
Complicated in-game content sales funnels result in a rather long payout timeframe, which means that any advertising campaign needs a profound and deep optimization on post-install events and targeted work with the TA. Facebook is one of the best channels that provides more than enough tools and analytical data for developers to effectively attract users into their games.
As simple as it may seem on the surface, Facebook can both make your app popular and help lose all of your advertising budgets.
Our many years of experience in creating and running advertising campaigns on Facebook show that only by carefully analyzing the available data and audience you can ensure the success. In this post, we will try to describe the process of promoting mobile games and offer a few hands-on tips.
Don’t rush into launching your advertising campaign. Detailed planning is one of the most crucial steps that cannot and should not be ignored. Even if you are pressed for time, try not to lose your head and rush into the launch.
Before you start adjusting your ad sets, you need to prepare a table with the planned KPIs - ARPU, LT, forecasted %ROI on Day 14 / Day 30.
Only then, you can proceed with the media planning and budgeting of your advertising campaigns. Bear in mind that the bid rate recommended by Facebook does not always show the realistic market situation, so go by your eCPI target values, in which you will have to operate.
Taking into account GEO targeting, the following have to be defined:
- What is the average cost per install for this region?
- Is localization necessary?
- Do the national specifications require a special approach to producing creatives?
- Can we immediately define the target audience?
- During which time of the day is it best to show your ads?
For most European countries, it is acceptable not to localize ads and try launching campaigns in English; however, this approach will not work for Asia. Things like national attire and attributes of the local mentality have to be taken into consideration. You don’t want to run your advertising campaign of a farming simulator featuring a cute cartoon piggy in the Middle East countries, do you?
On Facebook, you can cover a few regions within one campaign and, if necessary, split your ads into Ad Set’s. This is both convenient and reasonable. It is important to avoid creating a few ad sets for the same audience within one country – in such a way you will compete against yourself and increase the cost of conversion.
Put your campaign names in order. At ZENNA, we use a specific formula for creating campaign names so that any employee could easily navigate around and avoid getting frustrated about what the campaign named “TestEU_HH3323_l” could be promoting. The same rule can be applied to naming creatives, sets, audiences and so on.
Targeting and thorough work with your target audience is another important stage. Identify your potential audience, and then narrow it down as much as possible to get higher accuracy rates. It is important to consider audience coverage to derive a sufficient traffic volume. Micro-targetings do not work.
When creating an audience, start with gender, age and define the right interests. At the start, it is best to select users who prefer to play games similar to yours and games that have active paying audiences (see what games from your category are on top of the Grossing list for this geo).
Don’t be afraid to actively use Lookalike Audiences. This is the most powerful Facebook tool, which allows selecting audiences that are as close as possible to the existing base of active players. With its help, you can effectively upscale your campaigns, increasing the coverage of relevant users. To create a lookalike-audience you need about 100-200 of already-made installs.
You can’t be work-shy at this stage, the start is close. Try to figure out what your future users would want to see. Is it a pile of gold for farming-simulation players or massive battles for strategy-lovers? Or a dynamic gunfight for shooter-fans?
By the ad, a user can judge about the stylistics of the game, its quality, possible gaming experience, and thus make their conclusions about whether or not they want to try it. Do your best to present the fullest possible picture. You can evaluate the relevance of your banners and video with the help of the positive and negative response parameters that can influence the cost per install or coverage.
The easiest “cheating” way to attract players is to use misleads. However, if your goal is to find an audience who will still want to return to your game the next day or even one month after the install – that is definitely the wrong way to do business.
We produce many creatives. First of all, this provides us with the opportunity to launch more campaigns for testing and understand what converts the users best and brings a quality audience. Secondly, even before the launch, we can see all the ads at the same time and filter out the most unsuccessful ones. Define the marketing approaches that you will use and prepare a few banners for each of them. Remember that the banner will work in tandem with the ad text. Prepare “selling” texts that have a clear call-to-action.
If you hit it, the success of your game is guaranteed. Turn your attention to the market leaders, adopt their best practices and learn from them, study various cases. What you should do here is analyze their experience and use it in your campaigns rather than copy.
In 2012, Supercell designed a really nice graphics for its famous Clash Of Clans which was heartily welcomed by players.
Now 4 years later, it looks like 80% of the entire gaming market consists of Clash of Clans clones.
It is important that you feel and understand the needs of your audience.
Speaking specifically about what format to choose – video, banner, carrousel etc. – there are no clear recommendations here. Thus, for midcore and hardcore genres, the video ad format works better while banner ads are definitely cheaper.
Follow the news closely. Facebook improves its functionality all the time. So keep up and stay updated on the latest trends.
Launch and analysis
It is time to start your campaign. Unfortunately, you can’t simply launch it and enjoy the results of your hard work. When the campaign is launched, you need to carefully monitor its progress. Are the budgets being spent wisely? What is the quality of your audience? Which ad sets don’t work etc.?
In order not to waste your budgets, you need to carefully adjust your attribution window by selecting the “28 days after clicking on ad” option; otherwise, Facebook will calculate all the installs including the ones that were made by users after they saw your ad. What does it mean? A user sees your ad on their Newsfeed but they don't click on it. Then they see your game on the app store’s Recommended list and install it. At this moment, Facebook displays the install on its Results column. Here is an example of how huge these discrepancies can be:
Remember to filter out the users who have already installed your game so that they don’t have to see the ads again.
Don’t expect to see the results right away. You have to wait for at least 24 hours after the launch of the campaign or have the number of ad shows of at least 1000 to make your first conclusions and introduce any changes (narrow down your targeting, disable creatives, increase the rate etc.)
To facilitate the analysis, there are special services you can use; however, you can cope on your own if the volumes allow doing that. At ZENNA, we use our own real-time monitoring algorithm, which helps us achieve the KPIs that our clients set.
Things you should not do:
- Get ahead with your campaign without adjusting the tracker and analytics first. Make sure that all events are calculated carefully and there are no discrepancies in the Adjust, Mixpanel and Facebook Results rates.
- Optimize the campaign, taking into consideration the cost of CPI only. The install may be more expensive than you expected, however, the user it brought can turn out to be a real “whale”.
- Calculate ROI, and ignore LT.
- Use hard misleads. If you do that, your own players will turn against you and leave abusive comments under your very ad telling others what a s**ty game you have. Trust us on this, СТR for this ad will drop dramatically. If it happened anyway, never ignore your “admirer” and find a way to mollify them.
- Use too much text on a creative. The picture of the ad should not contain more than 20% of text. Act like a professional.
- Hope that when your СPI is $1, you can lure away all the Supercell’s players who paid over $500 in Game of War by Machine Zone.
- Create a few campaigns that have identical targeting settings.
- Ignore lookalikes if you already have installs on this geo.
- Be guided by the recommended rate when choosing a bid. Don’t opt for the automatic bid, set it up manually.
- Forget that creatives work in close tandem with targeting. Lead your campaign from start to finish.
- Create audiences and campaigns using different design templates. This will greatly facilitate monitoring and optimization of campaigns for you.
Ad campaigns on Facebook require careful planning and clear understanding of your target audience. We suggest that you go through the main steps of the creation process one more time: planning, targeting, and production of creatives. The data you receive from your campaigns should be used to further analyze and optimize them.