More than 35 million downloads. 3 million daily active users. $480+ million in revenue. All in just four months.
I’m talking about Genshin Impact, a game that has taken the world by storm.
In this article, I’m dissecting Genshin Impact advertising and ASO strategies to find out the secret behind its rapid success. I have also included some tips for developers at the end.
Let’s dive right in!
About Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact is a new mobile game from a Chinese developer miHoYo. Published in September 2020, it has already surpassed many top mobile games.
What’s unique about Genshin Impact is that it was released on all platforms – for free.
Yes, you heard that right.
Plus, the game you get on PC or consoles is pretty much the same one you get on mobile, which is quite an achievement.
Many compare it to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – both are open-world adventure games, have a similar gameplay and art style. Some even say it’s a Breath of the Wild clone. However, while Genshin Impact was inspired by this game, it’s much more than a mere clone.
When I started playing Genshin Impact, it was instantly clear this game was very special. This game is endlessly charming. It stirs up that child-like excitement and a sense of wonder.
The background story is quite interesting – twins are battling a mysterious god. Players can choose between playing as a male or a female twin, while the other one gets captured. The main character, The Traveler, goes on an adventure to find the lost twin, guided by Paimon, a cute cartoon-like creature.
However, The Traveler is one of many playable characters who are interchangeable.
Overall, the game has a very high production value, interesting storylines, exciting combat, and a gorgeous world to be explored. I can see how it appeals to a diverse audience of gamers.
The only negative criticism this game got is regarding its monetization model – the gacha system that’s similar to loot boxes. However, many compare it to gambling due to its randomness. Some even question whether Genshin Impact is truly a free-to-play game.
To find out more about these controversies, read our Genshin Impact monetization dissection.
How Successful Is Genshin Impact from miHoYo?
You might be wondering how much revenue can a free mobile game acquire?
Well, in this case – a lot.
It made almost $400 million in the first two months of being published. Keep in mind, that’s just for the mobile version.
Talk about impressive.
Furthermore, Genshin Impact was named as the Game of the Year on both Google Play and Apple App Store.
Here’s some more data .
Unless stated otherwise, the data in this article comes from an internal source.
All Time Genshin Impact Downloads by Country
As of now, Genshin Impact was downloaded more than 35 million times. That number is expected to grow in the following months. The downloads peaked in October 2020.
The most downloads came from China, the US, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, and South Korea.
All Time Genshin Impact Revenue by Country
As of writing this article, Genshin Impact generated more than $480 million in revenue. The majority of revenue came from China, Japan, and the US.
Genshin Impact Daily Active Users (DAU)
Soon after it was released, Genshin Impact already got to more than 2 million daily active users. Right now, it is at about 3 million DAU.
I don’t have to tell you that’s an insane amount of daily active users.
Genshin Impact Demographics
You’re probably wondering, who is playing Genshin Impact?
Here’s some data.
The gender distribution is quite balanced. 55% of Genshin impact players are male, while the remaining 45% are female.
When it comes to age, 27% are under 25, while the average age is 35.
(Data source: SensorTower)
Genshin Impact User Retention
Above, you can see average user retention for days 1-7, 14, and 30. Day 1 retention is quite high – 43%. Day 7 retention is 18%. This game retains 8% of players after a month, which is very good.
Players seem to be very involved in this game and a decent percentage of them keeps playing after longer periods.
Genshin Impact Session Count
30% of players play once a day, while 14% play twice a day. What’s interesting is that as many as 13% of players play 9-14 times a day, which is A LOT.
Genshin Impact Average Session Duration
When it comes to average session duration, 26% of players play for 3-10 minutes per session. 27% play for 10-30 minutes.
This means that the majority of players have quite long sessions. This is not a game you play casually for a few minutes at a time.
Genshin Impact Time Spent
If we look at time spent per day, almost 25% of users play for 10 to 30 minutes a day.
That’s great, but get this – 23% play for 1 to 10 hours a day, which is insane.
So, what’s the secret behind acquiring so many high-quality users?
I’ll start by breaking down Genshin Impact’s Google Play page.
Genshin Impact App Store Optimization Dissection
The game title is quite unique and it’s not completely clear what it means. The word “Genshin” in Chinese means both “original god” or “candidate god”, i.e., someone who has the ability to become a god but is not a god just yet. Genshin was also the name of a Buddhist scholar, also known as Eshin Sōzu.
The title itself therefore carries meaning, giving depth to the game from the very start. Learning about the title’s significance is like finding a hidden Easter egg.
Genshin Impact Icon
Genshin Impact game icon depicts one of the non-playable characters – Paimon. In the game, she accompanies and guides the player.
The icon’s design follows the game’s appealing anime art style. The color scheme is quite simple – there are different tones of gray and blue/purple. The contrast is between the light and dark shades.
The character is very cute and is winking, which is very expressive and inviting.
Above, you can see that icons for other anime-style adventure and role-playing games are very similar. Almost all of them feature a game character with an animated facial expression.
Genshin Impact App Promo Video Breakdown
The first thing I noticed is that the app promo video for Genshin Impact is very long. It’s almost three minutes, while most others are 15-30 seconds in length. Granted, this game is quite complex, which might be one of the reasons for that choice.
The video starts with a miHoYo logo over black background. After that, we’re taken into the whimsical world of Genshin Impact.
Slow-paced piano music is playing over a beautiful landscape scene and then we hear the voice-over, “Do you know the story of Duran(?) and this mountain?”
What’s good about this opening scene is that it pulls viewers in. In other words, it makes you keep watching because you want to know what happens next.
Additionally, it gives gamers an insight into the Genshin Impact world and different storylines, which is a powerful motivator to download the game.
However, what’s interesting is that the promo video is not about the main characters and their background story, which is something I expected to see.
The story this video follows is about a Genshin Impact event called The Chalk Prince and the Dragon. It’s told from the perspective of a character named Albedo and he’s at the center of this storyline.
Albedo is the Chief Alchemist and the narrator of this video. He asks the viewer/main character for help. We’re introduced to this playable character and see Albedo in battle.
This part of the app promo video is very important because we see Albedo’s skills. Each playable character has unique skills and elemental powers, which is the main appeal of the game.
Furthermore, connecting to characters on a personal level is of the utmost importance for a role-playing game. That’s why it’s always a good idea to highlight the uniqueness of each character.
Next, we’re introduced to another playable character, this time a female one – Ganyu. We see her in battle as she’s showing off her skills.
From one minute onwards, we see even more scenes of the Genshin Impact world. This part of the app promo video is focused on exploring this immense open world and enjoying it.
We hear Albedo say, “I’ve made a new discovery while sketching nearby”, and we’re shown tranquil scenes of breathtaking landscapes. It shows players that this game is not just about high-adrenaline combat, but also about exploration and discovering the truth of this world.
Then we see incredible battle scenes with a frozen-in-time effect. It’s done perfectly and looks awe-inspiring.
The story ends with a mystery. We hear Albedo say, “Was the two of us meeting really a good thing?”.
This is a great way to spark interest in this event as well as the game’s storyline.
Here we see an advertisement for The Chalk Prince and the Dragon event. However, what’s a bit strange is that, according to the official Genshin Impact website, this event ended in December 2020. Why would miHoYo advertise a past event?
Just when I thought the video was over, it kept playing and there were 40 more seconds to go.
This section is a slideshow of upcoming game events. After that, the video finally ends.
Overall, this app promo video is quite successful. Not only do viewers get a taste of special events in Genshin Impact, but a taste of the game itself. There’s the open world that looks outstanding, suspenseful stories, unique characters, and exciting combat – it made me want to download this game right away.
If you want to learn how to design kickass graphics for the app store page, check out what Genshin Impact is doing.
I’ll break it down for you.
First of all, the images on the Genshin Impact Google Play page are not simply screenshots, but well-designed graphics.
The composition of Genshin Impact graphics is asymmetrical. It consists of several elements. There’s the game screenshot, placed toward the top left corner.
The one above depicts The Traveler (the main character) on top of a hill with the city of Mondstadt in the distance. This screenshot is from the first few minutes of gameplay where The Traveler walks towards the city.
On the right side, there’s an image of a game character, Jean, who handles unrest in Mondstadt. Furthermore, there’s a caption in the bottom left, below the screenshot.
All of those elements are superimposed on a turquoise background, which complements the screenshot color-wise.
All Genshin Impact graphics follow this style and composition. The only difference is that some are flipped.
Overall, this is a very visually appealing way to present a game. It draws attention, which is the main purpose of graphics in app stores.
The Genshin Impact description gives us insight into the main story and game features. Here’s what this game has to offer: a massive open world, elemental combat system, beautiful visuals, soothing soundtrack, as well as the ability to build your team and journey with friends.
While it’s true that not all users read the description, it’s still important to include it. It explains the game to those who are interested in learning more about it. But it also allows you to place keywords in the text – this has an impact on ASO on Google Play.
Genshin Impact ASO Keywords
Above, you can see ASO keywords for Genshin Impact. It ranks #1 for the following keywords – “Genshin impact”, “Genshin”, “impact”, and “gen”, which is to be expected.
However, it also ranks high for keywords like “open world games” and “honkai impact”, which is another game by miHoYo.
It’s interesting that “Zelda breath of the wild” is also among Genshin Impact keywords. As was mentioned before, Genshin Impact was modeled by this game. However, Breath of the Wild is not available on mobile, just on Nintendo. Because of that, I suspect many players who unsuccessfully search for Zelda on the app stores will settle for Genshin Impact instead.
Genshin Impact Advertising Strategies
In this section, I’m going to break down Genshin Impact ads with the highest number of impressions. This will give you an insight into Genshin Impact advertising strategy and teach you how to create good video ads.
Dissection of Top-Performing Genshin Impact Ads
Genshin Impact Ad #1
The first top-performing Genshin Impact ad I’m going to break down is for Adwords. It’s all about the story and the characters, just like the game. Visually, it looks like a trailer for an anime movie.
We get to meet two characters – Tartaglia, “a cunning Snezhnayan whose unpredictable personality keeps people guessing his every move”, and Zhongli, “a mysterious consultant. Handsome, elegant, and surpassingly learned.”
This game is famous for its beautiful visuals and character animations, which is something that translates well to the ad creative that follows the same art style.
Furthermore, this ad creative includes gameplay footage. It’s important to show the viewers what the game really looks like, and in this case, it looks fantastic. There’s no need for animated scenes.
In this ad, we also get familiar with how the character can move in the game and explore the world – walking, running, climbing, swimming, and gliding.
To be honest, they had me at gliding.
The gliding mechanic is one of the main reasons I’ve downloaded this game. There’s just something so appealing about being able to glide across this beautiful world and see it from above. I love it!
The ad ends with a CTA – “A new world awaits. Explore now!”. This is a much better call-to-action than the classic “Play now”. It is personalized and references the game, so it has more power to persuade people into downloading it.
Genshin Impact Ad #2
When creating video ads, the first few seconds are crucial. If you don’t capture the viewer’s attention immediately, they’ll just keep scrolling.
Genshin Impact is very successful at this.
The ad above is a good example because the opening scene is quite appealing. We see one of the playable characters, Keqing, from the Liyue nation. As she walks on the bridge, the camera moves around her, and she’s seamlessly transported to a cobblestone street. The caption says, “Explore a world of adventure”.
The whole scene is very alluring and well-made. It draws you in, which is the perfect way to start a video ad.
Next, we see another game character, Zhongli, a mysterious consultant. His elemental reaction is Geo, which is displayed in this scene. A “Massive open world” caption appears after he opens a huge chest.
We see two more characters and two more captions in the ad – “Elemental combat system” and “Build your own team”.
Basically, the ad goes through all the main game features. Additionally, we’re introduced to different playable characters, who are the main appeal of the game.
In the end, there’s only the Genshin Impact logo. There’s no CTA, which is a missed opportunity to invite people to download the game.
Genshin Impact Ad #3
The first half of this 20-second ad is all about displaying the breathtakingly beautiful Genshin Impact world. The scenery alone is enticing enough for users to download the game.
However, we also see some exciting combat in the second half of the video. This is a good example of showcasing the best game features in a succinct ad.
This video ad doesn’t have a CTA at the end either, just the Genshin Impact logo.
Genshin Impact Ad #4
This Genshin Impact ad is all about combat. When advertising such a complex game with lots of features, it’s a smart move to focus on one or two per ad.
Different types of gamers have different motivations for playing an adventure/RPG game. Some players are going to be drawn to the fact that Genshin Impact is an open-world game. Others enjoy combat the most in RPGs. Or perhaps the storylines, characters, and quests.
Advertisers can speak directly to different groups with ads that showcase distinct game features.
Genshin Impact Ad #5
This ad is an introduction to a playable character named Zhongli, a consultant for the Wangsheng Funeral Parlor.
This ad consists of an array of beautifully made combat scenes that show the skills and abilities of this character.
Since the main focus of role-playing games are playable characters, it’s important to feature them in ads. Especially when you have a game like Genshin Impact where there are multiple playable characters (some of which are only available as a purchase).
Players want to learn about the unique stories and abilities of each character. Video ads can be a great introduction to that if done right.
Genshin Impact Ad #6
This short 15-second ad is a split-screen video. On the left, you can see a character at level 20 and on the right, he’s at level 50.
The combat scene is the same on both sides. However, the damage dealt is different since the player levels are different.
This is a very simple, but effective way to show how leveling up influences combat in Genshin Impact. It encourages players to keep playing and advance in the game.
Genshin Impact Ad #7
This ad is interesting because it’s made like a tutorial for the game. We see a hill and as the camera pans out and moves down, we see The Traveler (the main character) at the bottom of the hill.
In the bottom left corner, we’re shown how to climb up. When The Traveler reaches the top of the hill, we’re greeted by a grassy plain vista. Then, we’re shown how to jump from the hill and glide through the air.
At the end of the video, there are multiple scenes of nature and towns, with the title “Explore a world of adventure”.
In short, this ad showcases the beautiful open world of Genshin Impact and different ways to explore it – walking, climbing, gliding, etc.
Genshin Impact Ad #8
The first thing we see in this ad is a snowy mountain and The Traveler approaching The Statue of the Seven. Then we’re met with a puzzle – how to melt the thick ice and unlock it?
After The Traveler fails, the character is changed to Amber because her element is Pyro (fire). However, she also fails to melt the ice. But then she picks up some scarlet quartz nearby and uses it to get through to the statue. Next, we see a new area on the map appear, ready to be explored.
This shows players the importance of not only using the characters with the right elemental ability but also the importance of using available resources.
Tutorial-like ads are quite clever because they attract high-quality players, i.e., those that tend to be more invested in the game and spend more. If a player already has some idea on how to advance in the game even before downloading it, they’re less likely to abandon the game after the first day.
Plus, this shows the interesting adventures and quests one can embark on in this game.
Genshin Impact Ad #9
This ad shows players how to utilize resources available in the Genshin Impact world.
In this case, a game character is collecting white iron and magical crystals. After visiting the blacksmith, the character obtains a new weapon. At the end of the video, we’re shown what this new sword can do.
This is nothing new in role-playing games. In fact, in most RPGs you collect some sort of resources and use them to craft weapons and other items. However, it’s smart to feature this in ads and show players how it’s done. That way, when players download the game and start playing, they’ll know exactly what to do to obtain better weapons.
Genshin Impact Ad #10
In this Genshin Impact ad, we get to see just how fun this game is. It’s not about fighting monsters or completing complex quests – it’s about enjoying this magical realm with Klee, a playable Pyro character. Plus, we get to see the explosive powers Klee has.
Genshin Impact Ad #11
Now, this is not a typical mobile game video ad. Mainly because it’s 5 minutes long and it’s more like a short movie than an ad, which is an interesting choice. There’s also a narrator who guides us through this unusually long ad.
It’s all about the playable Hydro character, Mona, a mysterious young astrologer. The narrator goes through every detail of this character.
For example, we learn that Mona’s normal attack performs up to four strikes that deal Hydro damage. We learn that she creates the Phantom of Fate from coalesced water and we are also shown the different applications of this skill.
After watching this in-depth 5-minute video about Mona, I truly feel like I understand this character and her skills. Plus, I feel connected to her storyline and I want to know what happens next.
And that’s exactly the point of this long ad.
The goal is to get users familiar with a specific character and their abilities and skills, as well as to establish that emotional connection.
Genshin Impact Ad #12
The last video ad I’ll include is all about Klee, the adventurous, but destructive Pyro character.
It’s a split screen ad. On the bottom, we see Klee just kind of standing there doing nothing. At the top, we see Klee’s story in the form of a comic book.
She speaks directly to The Traveler, revealing a secret that monsters come out at night in Mondstadt.
What’s interesting is that all Genshin Impact characters have a unique voice over in the game and thus in the ads. That brings out their individuality and distinct personalities. Plus, it makes people more invested.
Facebook Image Ads
Most Genshin Impact ads are video ads. However, there are also some interesting image ads worth including.
Basically, most Genshin Impact image ads offer a reward, just like the two above. They have the same concept – users get a gift by using the “genshingift” redeem code. In other words, you can see two different variations of the same ad. The design and the message are the same, but the character and the color scheme are different.
This is a smart approach to user acquisition. Who doesn’t like gifts? It’s a great motivation for clicking to install. Plus, it can also work as an incentive for lapsed players to come back.
4 Things You Can Learn from Genshin Impact Advertising Strategy
1. Employ Pre-Registration Campaigns
A great way to build a hype around a game is to utilize pre-registration campaigns. It’s what miHoYo has done for Genshin Impact. Granted, this is easier when you already have some fans from previous games, like miHoYo did from Honkai Impact. But it can still be done. Pre-launch campaigns can give you that head start that you need.
MiHoYo managed to get to more than 21 million pre-registrations, across different platforms. How did they achieve this? By offering exclusive rewards that got better as more people registered. Furthermore, the game was advertised during pre-launch to spread the word.
Above, you can see the rewards for PC and mobile.
2. Utilize Omni-Channel Marketing
In order to have a broad reach, developers need to market their game across multiple channels.
That includes social media marketing, influencer marketing, paid advertising on different ad networks, and even offline marketing.
For example, the Genshin Impact website is available in 12 different languages. Their social media channels have hundreds of thousands of followers. There are even billboards and ads on buses.
Not to mention the paid ads on different ad networks I covered in the previous section.
All of that plays a part in this game’s success. The key is to be omnipresent.
3. Target High-Quality Users
If we look at metrics like daily active users, retention, session count, and time spent in game, it’s obvious that Genshin Impact attracts a lot of high-quality users. Those are players who keep coming back to the game, have long playing sessions, and are big spenders. I would also bet Genshin Impact attracts mobile game whales, i.e., a small group of players who drive the most revenue.
The best way to acquire high-quality users is by crafting a top-notch app promo video and video ads. Both the app promo video and mobile game ads need to be interesting and provide enough information so that a player not only downloads the game, but keeps playing it.
4. Encourage Gaming Influencers to Play Your Game
There are many gaming influencers on Twitch and YouTube who are playing Genshin Impact. This has helped increase the popularity of this game immensely.
Gamers trust recommendations from other gamers more than anything. Plus, by watching streams, players can get a full experience of what it’s like to play the game.
Final Thoughts on Genshin Impact Advertising Strategies
Love it or hate it, the massive success of Genshin Impact can’t be ignored. Some even predict it will change the mobile game market in terms of inspiring other developers to bring AAA games to mobile.
In any case, it will be interesting to see how this game will evolve and how Genshin Impact advertising strategies will change over time.
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