SUMMARY

How did an online game improve ad engagement and realize cost savings at the same time? This case study illustrates how APB Reloaded along with Ninja Metrics tapped into the social nature of the game to identify and segment the most valuable users and then leveraged them with a targeted Facebook Ad campaign. Using Katana, Ninja Metrics’ market-leading predictive analytics tool, Reloaded was able to instantly identify users based on Social Value and create Lookalike audiences.

These initiatives resulted in 36% more clicks, 9% higher reach, and lowered the cost per click by over 12%.

Social Value:
Spending a person causes among their friends and contacts. Those causing the highest spending are called Social Whales®.

CHALLENGE

The team at APB Reloaded has a deep understanding of UA metrics but is always looking for more creative and efficient ways to acquire users. They found exactly that in Ninja Metrics. While the game is innately social, with players required to choose factions and join clans as they fight their way through the fictional city of San Paro, they had no way of identifying who their Social Whales® were.

Reloaded faced three challenges familiar to all developers:

  • How do they identify their most valuable users?
  • How can they find more users like them?
  • Can they do it in a more cost effective and efficient way?

STEP 1:

IDENTIFY AND SEGMENT USERS BASED ON SOCIAL VALUE

Users with high Social Value are very important, and often overlooked, as they cause other players to spend money, but frequently spend little on their own. In contrast, many traditional “whales” are high in Asocial Value – they have high direct spending, tend to play independently of others, and have less influence over other players’ spending. Players with high Influenceability are the followers, playing mostly to be a part of the group. With Katana set up and running, the team was able to automatically divide the user base in terms of social value, asocial value, and influenceability. The team then built Facebook Lookalike audiences for each of those three distinct profiles.

“We were really impressed with how straightforward and simple the process was,” states Frank Cartwright, COO of Reloaded Games. “Katana let us see all of these segments and users without any extra work. Seeing the data was eye-opening for our team.”

STEP 2:

CREATE A LOOKALIKE AUDIENCE IN FACEBOOK ADS

Three separate Facebook Ads were created with original copy and design assets to target each of the three unique customer segments. User lists were uploaded to generate lookalike audiences and location targeting (primarily the United States, Canada, and Australia) was tested for each segment.

STEP 3:

LAUNCH AND OPTIMIZE ADS

The ads used strong call-to-actions and supporting imagery and pointed users to a landing page on the APB Reloaded website where they could sign up for the game immediately. The campaign was launched in early October and ran through November 3.

RESULTS

The campaign was highly successful in driving user engagement and lowering the cost per action for APB Reloaded. By targeting users with high Social Value, the cost per click was reduced by over 12%, there was 9% higher overall reach, and the ads generated 36% more clicks.

The main takeaway for the team at APB Reloaded was the knowledge of who their players with high Social Value were. Traditionally, games target the “whales” or the ones that have high Asocial Value, yet they miss out on a large customer segment that thrives on the social aspect of the community and drives spending in others. Bringing in the Social Whales is a very cost-effective strategy to not just bring in new players, but to bring in players who bring in players.

What did Frank Cartwright and the APB Reloaded team take away from this?

“Finding new users is an ongoing challenge for any game. We knew our game and community had a very strong social component, so we really wanted to find a way to tap into that. Ninja Metrics’ Social Value approach intrigued us and it was fascinating to look at our user base in a whole new light in terms of their influence on each other rather than solely how much they were spending as individuals. The process was pain-free and required little from our team. When you know who to go after and how, it’s just so easy.”

When compared to traditional marketing efforts to identify and acquire whales vs. social whales, it’s clear social whales drive greater cost savings and engagement levels. Key findings are:

*As of November 2015. Campaign results continue to be analyzed.