How to Level Up Your Mobile RPG Marketing With Influencers
Mobile RPGs utilize advances in mobile gaming technology that have been sitting dormant in the pockets of most phone users for years. With mobile gamers increasing by the millions, an audience for new mobile RPGs exists already, ready to be monetized with the right influence. Partnerships with Twitch streamers, YouTubers, and other forms of influencer marketing can turn a mobile game into a cultural necessity.
Consider “gacha games” such as Raid: Shadow Legends, Arknights, and Genshin Impact. The gacha genre of mobile RPG that uses a currency system to keep people buying into a cycle of in-game loot, enjoys popularity due to ongoing influencer endorsements.
Top mobile RPG developers collaborate with influencers to drive mobile user acquisition through brand awareness and a sense of community playership. In other words, to invest players in the role your game wants them to play, mobile game marketers recruit influencers to show them how great that role can be.
In this article, we’ll break down the key influencer marketing tactics of the largest mobile RPG brands. To illustrate our findings, we selected three case studies of mobile RPG marketing campaigns that made waves in the industry. Let’s discover how these gaming brands apply influencer collaborations to drive user acquisition.
Who is today’s mobile RPG gamer
An RPG is not a static video game genre. It encompasses many roles and styles, including overlap with action, puzzle, and fighting.
To understand how to market your mobile RPG, we need to establish who plays these games and why. When it comes to demographics, the majority of RPG players are young people aged 18–34 in the US or 25–44 in the UK. The male gamers still dominate the RPGs space, accounting for:
- 62% of players in the US,
- 63% of players in the UK,
- 60% of players in Japan.
However, female gamers are the fastest-growing demographic of RPG players projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.2%.
Facebook reports that the main motivator for people across Japan, South Korea, the UK, and the US to play RPGs is that it’s a great way to relieve stress. Other popular reasons why people play mobile RPGs are:
- the ability to immerse themselves in new characters/worlds,
- passing time in between other activities,
- feeling accomplished for completing something challenging.
Mobile RPG gamers are highly engaged in online social activities and communities related to the genre. Three-quarters of RPG gamers in the US and 79% in the UK engage in activities like watching live streams of RPG games or looking at other players’ achievements online. More than half of RPG players visit a mobile gaming community weekly.
According to Facebook, RPG gamers play two or three distinct genres in a given month and they are open to experimenting with different genres. Only 24% of gamers in the US and 10% in Japan and South Korea say their next game will be the same genre they’re currently playing.
Best Practices of Modern Mobile RPG Marketing
Knowing what motivates mobile gamers impacts how the top mobile RPG advertisers approach influencer marketing.
Case Study #1: Raid: Shadow Legends
Raid: Shadow Legends is a turn-based RPG by Plarium that immerses players into a dark fantasy world called Teleria. Players take the role of a legendary warrior resurrected to defeat the Dark Lord and restore peace. Throughout the game, players assemble an army of champions for battles in various settings and unravel many layers behind the threat to Teleria. With over 500 collectible champions across 14 different factions, the game revolves around gacha collection and character customization.
Raid: Shadow Legends is one of the most popular mobile RPGs for a reason. If you watch YouTube, you have probably heard about Raid from your favorite vlogger. Unlike many other game developers who sponsor exclusively gaming influencers, Raid collaborates with a wide range of YouTube channels – from cooking shows to celebrities like Logan Paul.
The game’s influencer campaign became so viral that it inspired users on Reddit and Twitter for numerous memes mocking how every video on YouTube is now sponsored by Raid. The jokes became so widespread that when in May 2021 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched their official YouTube channel, fans could not help asking when their first Raid integration is coming:
Heavily relying on influencer collaborations, Raid has over 380 million users. Due to the influencers’ organic viewer traffic, the word-of-mouth endorsements for Raid grew without worrying about the drop in engagement common with more traditional ads.
In addition to YouTube domination, Raid: Shadow Legends also experimented with Twitch streamer sponsorships. CloutBoost agency assisted the brand representatives in choosing the right Twitch channels for this campaign.
Raid’s marketing paid off due to the game’s broad appeal and to the authentic, convincing endorsements from its army of influencers.
Case Study #2: AFK Arena
AFK Arena is a squad RPG from Lilith Games that invites you into Esperia, a magical world inhabited by humans and mythical creatures such as the dwarves. Players can assemble a personalized squad of heroes, earn rewards by winning battles, and use these rewards to level up their squad. All heroes attack automatically, players only need to choose when to trigger their special attack. Like many other RPG titles, AFK Arena uses gacha mechanics to acquire heroes.
Lilith Games’ AFK Arena strategically relies on influencers to acquire new players. The company hired CloutBoost agency to execute an influencer campaign which was one of the components of their larger marketing strategy. Influencer collaborations helped bring AFK Arena to the top of the app stores right after the game’s launch in North America. The game has established an impressive number of daily active users — between 1 and 1.5 million daily players. Game’s monthly revenue is estimated to be from 10 to 20 million dollars — in April 2021, AFK Arena earned 10 million dollars in revenue (iOS and Android combined).
AFK Arena‘s strategy was to recruit a mix of gaming and non-gaming influencers. This wide range of influencers selected by CloutBoost was dictated by the casual nature of the game and allowed us to tap into a broader audience. For example, one of the influencers we worked with was Zias, a music channel on YouTube.
We also used influencer giveaways to boost the game’s conversion rates through word-of-mouth player advertising. On top of that, the shoutouts on Twitter and Instagram created a culture of hype surrounding AFK that made it reach 16 million people with an engagement rate of nearly 4%.
Expert tip: Rather than considering a YouTube influencer campaign to be a short-term marketing activity, think of it as an investment that brings ever-growing results. AFK Arena’s campaign perfectly illustrates this point: in April 2019, 2 weeks after the campaign release, influencer videos generated over 5 million views. As of today, these videos have grown to 13.7 million views. The reach of the channels we partnered with also grew tremendously: from 16.5 million to 28.2 million.
Influencer-generated videos best showcased the game’s beautiful graphics and game mechanics. Each video saw amazing first-month totals, and even more impressive totals over time.
Case Study #3: Darkfire Heroes
Rovio, the developer of the world-famous Angry Birds, is one of the most well-known brands within the mobile games industry. In 2020 Rovio introduced Darkfire Heroes, a title meant to break through into the mid-core RPG genre.
Darkfire Heroes is an action RPG that offers players to collect their team of heroes like knights, wizards, or assassins and to fight against evil enemies and monsters. Basically, it’s a gacha auto-battler that takes players through a campaign divided into branching stages laid out on a map. Players need to collect character and skill cards that randomly drop from chests earned by completing milestones, such as finishing a stage or leveling up your account.
With the upcoming launch of this free-to-play, hero-based RPG, Rovio looked to leverage influencers to create global brand awareness. The developer hired CloutBoost agency to execute the campaign.
For this campaign, we recruited five mid-tier YouTube influencers whose channels focus on RPGs to give the campaign the attention of a specific niche, rather than a spread shot of ads. The influencers placed the ad integrations in their videos using a strong call-to-action to convince their viewers to try the game.
Advertising the unique features of Darkfire Heroes as well as clear communication with its users allowed the game to garner far more attention on YouTube than it could have using conventional methods. Videos created by influencers have exceeded 900 thousand views and the content is still getting traction.
Tips for Using Influencers to Drive Player Acquisition
Twitch and YouTube influencers can drive installs for mobile RPGs. However, knowing how to use influencers effectively requires following some basic tips when choosing them and forming the marketing campaign.
#1 Identify the audience
Understanding who plays your game will help define the right influencers for your campaign. Based on the interests and preferences of your players, you can recruit gaming influencers who play similar games. More importantly, due to the casual/idle nature of mobile RPGs, working with non-gaming channels can be an effective way of reaching a wider audience of players.
#2 Optimize the cost
To maximize the campaign’s results, combine dedicated gameplay videos with shorter shoutouts integrated into the influencer’s routine. Influencers normally charge less for integrated videos so having a combination of full video reviews and short-form integrations will help optimize the campaign budget and improve ROI.
#3 Offer special perks
In order to stimulate higher engagement of the audience, collaborate with the influencers to create additional perks for their viewers. A good idea would be to incentivize viewers with an influencer giveaway or exclusive promo codes for in-game bonuses.
Takeaway for Game Marketers
With the sheer amount of advertising pushed online, users crave authenticity. This is why influencers who understand the mobile RPG genre and the agencies who connect these influencers to games are essential for a successful mobile RPG marketing campaign.
An influencer agency like CloutBoost comes equipped with the expertise to weaponize these endorsements for your mobile RPG, as it has for many others.