Tips & Tricks for Marketing a Mobile Strategy Game in 2022

Tips & Tricks for Marketing a Mobile Strategy Game in 2022

by Andrea Knezovic

Developing a mobile strategy game? Wondering how to acquire more users?

You have come to the right place.

In this guide, we bring you mobile game advertising tips for strategy games.

You’ll learn about:

  • marketing a mobile strategy game
  • The most successful mobile strategy games and publishers
  • User acquisition tips for strategy games
  • Video ad examples from top mobile strategy games
  • Strategy game statistics

Top 10 Strategy Games

Google Play

Here’s a list of top-grossing mobile strategy games on Google Play in the US. (SensorTower, free data)

  1. Lords Mobile: Tower Defense (IGG.COM)
  2. Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade (Lilith Games)
  3. Clash of Clans (Supercell)
  4. Star Trek Fleet Command (Scopely)
  5. Evony: The King’s Return (TG Inc.)
  6. State of Survival Walking Dead (KingsGroup)
  7. Top War: Battle Game (Topwar Studio)
  8. Puzzles & Survival (37Games)
  9. Last Shelter: Survival (Long Tech Network)
  10. Clash Royale (Supercell)

Apple App Store

This is a list of top-grossing mobile strategy games on the Apple App Store in the US. (SensorTower, free data)

  1. Clash Royale (Supercell)
  2. Clash of Clans (Supercell)
  3. Pokemon GO (Niantic)
  4. State of Survival Walking Dead  (KingsGroup)
  5. Puzzles & Survival (37Games)
  6. PUBG Mobile: Resistance (Tencent
  7. Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade (Lilith Games)
  8. Top War: Battle Game (Topwar Studio)
  9. Age of Z Origins (Camel Games)
  10. Evony: The King’s Return (TG Inc.)

tips for marketing a mobile strategy game in 2020

5 Tips for Marketing a Mobile Strategy Game in 2022

If you want to become as successful as the mobile game studios mentioned above, you need a smart marketing strategy.

Here are some practical tips you can employ right now!

app store optimization graphic

1. App Store Optimization is Essential for Organic User Acquisition

Marketing a mobile strategy game starts with app store optimization. So before we get into paid user acquisition strategies, you need to optimize your app store pages.

It will improve the visibility of your strategy game and improve its app store ranking. This will, in turn, get you more users organically.

As you might already know, the key elements of app store optimization are game title, game icon, keywords, game description, game trailer, and screenshots.

One of the best ways to master app store optimization for strategy games is to study your competitors. By analyzing how top strategy games optimize their app store pages, you’ll get a sense of current trends as well as what works and what doesn’t.

In the following section, I have analyzed Clash of Clans’ Google Play Store page. This will help you get a sense of the most important app store optimization techniques for strategy games.

clash of clans app store optimization

Game Title

Supercell’s strategy games have very simple titles – Clash of Clans is short and to-the-point.

Here’s the thing.

Clash of Clans is so popular that it has become a brand. When you see that title, it’s highly likely that you have already heard of this game and know what it’s about. That’s why a simple title is enough.

However, when you’re just starting out and trying to get your strategy game out there, it’s useful to include a couple of keywords and descriptive words in the game title. That not only helps you rank higher in the app stores, but it also provides users with important game info.

Let’s take a look at the titles of some strategy games that are using this technique.

Train Station 2: Rail Tycoon & Strategy Simulator

While “Train Station 2” is a brand name, “Rail Tycoon & Strategy Simulator” tells you exactly what the game is about. Plus, “tycoon”, “strategy”, and “simulator” are also keywords this game is trying to rank for.

Bid Wars – Storage Auctions and Pawn Shop Tycoon

This strategy game has a long and descriptive title packed full of keywords as well.

Toy Defense Fantasy — Tower Defense Game

You can notice that same thing in this strategy game. You instantly know what it’s about – it’s a tower defense game.

clash of clans icon app store optimization

Game Icon

Another crucial ASO aspect for strategy games is the game icon. You might have noticed that most strategy games have a very similar icon.

Do sideways portraits of angry dudes screaming sound familiar?

That’s what I thought – it’s impossible to miss.

Actually, Clash of Clans is the game that pretty much started this trend.

strategy mobile game icon meme screaming face angry

You might think those icons are not unique enough. However, there’s a reason why many developers are following this icon trend.

First of all, humans are attracted to faces. We have evolved to recognize and remember faces – it’s what helped us survive. That’s why users respond well to those icons – it’s both memorable and speaks to something deep in our nature as humans.

Secondly, the reason why the faces are angled and have a dramatic facial expression is that it creates a sense of action and excitement. Imagine if the facial expressions on a game icon were calm and collected, you would probably never download it – it would seem really boring.

Another reason why many developers use this icon style is to try and emulate the success of games like Clash of Clans. The thinking is, if it worked for Clash of Clans, it should work for other games as well.

While that might be true, you shouldn’t just copy the Clash of Clans icon. Even though it might be beneficial to incorporate current trends when designing the icon for your game, it’s important to put your spin on it and make it stand out.

clash of clans app store google play description app store optimization

Game Description

This is where you emphasize the most important features and benefits of your strategy game. Tell the users why your strategy game is so good, what makes it unique, and why they should install it right now.

Game description is also the place where you should sprinkle in some keywords you want to rank for. Just make sure you’re not keyword stuffing – the keywords should be placed naturally where it makes sense.

Game Trailer

Visuals are also highly important for app store optimization – the game trailer in particular.

It’s an opportunity to give potential players a taste of the game. You should showcase the main game mechanics, features, characters, worlds, how the game is played, etc.

Also, make sure to highlight what makes your strategy game special and why users should download it.

As you can see above, the Clash of Clans trailer does just that.

clash of clans google play app store screenshot app store optimization

Graphics/Screenshots

The final piece of the ASO puzzle are images (graphics or screenshots).

Clash of Clans’ graphics have a similar concept as the game trailer – highlighting the main benefits and features of the game.

Since you can add multiple screenshots to the Google Play Store, you have the opportunity to showcase the best things about your strategy game. Just make sure that the visuals are exciting and appealing to users.

tips for creating a video ad for mobile games

2. Video Ads Are the Best Format for Paid User Acquisition

The next step in marketing a mobile strategy game is paid user acquisition. Running ads on different ad networks is crucial for the success of your game.

The ad format that is the most effective for advertising a strategy game is video. What’s great about video ads is that they’re short, visually appealing, and if done well, have the ability to convert users instantly.

Since strategy games are usually more complex than, for example, most casual games, it might be beneficial to create explainer videos.

That type of video is usually slightly longer than most video ads (can go up to 90 seconds) and contain more information.

For example, you should include information on how to play the game, recorded gameplay, features and benefits, captions, a call to action, etc.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to overcomplicate things and spend thousands of dollars on one video ad – there’s a lot you can do with a smaller budget as well.

Also, it’s important to note that one or two videos are not enough. In order to pull off a successful user acquisition campaign, you need a lot of videos. Create as many variations as you can and don’t forget to split test all of them – this will improve the effectiveness of the campaign.

3. Advertise Your Strategy Game on the Main Ad Networks

Now that you have multiple video variations ready, you can set up ads on different ad networks.

For mobile games, Google and Facebook are the main ad networks you should focus on. However, you can also advertise your game on Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.

For the full list of ad networks for acquiring gamers, click here.

These ad networks will help you put your strategy game in front of the right audience. Since the algorithms have massively improved over the last couple of years, running ad campaigns on ad networks like Google and Facebook has become increasingly simpler and more effective.

Here are some thoughts on Facebook and Instagram advertising from Sidney Alexander, CEO of Digitizd.

“We developed a mobile game for a client late last year and also ran Facebook/Instagram ads for them. We ran a conversion campaign for them on Facebook which means we defined an app download as a conversion and this allowed Facebook to continuously optimize our audience based on the people who first started downloading our app.

The Facebook algorithm is so advanced that once it receives a statistically significant number of conversions it knows exactly who to show your ad too.

They also have a powerful look-a-like audience feature which essentially means you give them the email addresses of who has currently downloaded your app and they will go out and find the people who are very similar to your original customers, this is based on all the data points they currently have on the users of their platform.

I believe Facebook are world leaders when it comes to this type of marketing, Google has recently released its own look-a-like audience type feature which essentially copies the Facebook concept.

These algorithms are so powerful I implore any new game developer to use them to get your game in front of the right audience as fast as possible.”

clash of clans localization app store german google play

4. Localize Your Strategy Game to Reach a Global Audience

If you want to reach a large global audience, I recommend that you localize your strategy game.

Here’s what I mean by that.

Localization doesn’t mean just translating your game into another language (even though that’s the first step).

You should also localize your ad campaigns and your app store page.

Here’s the thing.

The mobile gaming market is global. Even though the English language and western culture have spread all over the world, people in many places still like to see game content in their local language.

And it’s not just about the language, but incorporating visuals that relate to other cultures as well. For example, adding cultural symbols and taking local holidays into consideration.

For example, the popular strategy game Castle Clash is also available in German. Not only can you download this game in the German language, but there’s also a second Google Play Store page for the German version of the game.

5. Get Featured in Roundup Posts

If you’re looking for free ways to advertise your strategy game, I recommend networking – more precisely, getting featured in roundup posts.

There are many websites that feature and review mobile games and getting on them might get you more users.

Here is some advice from Gary Flanker, developer and founder of GamersByNight.com.

“Although there are a lot of tactics to get more users (like email marketing, app store optimization, ads, influencers, etc.), my favorite is being featured on roundup posts!

Roundup posts are a great way to add credibility and social proof. It’s a lot more powerful than direct marketing or ads because being featured on a reputable platform means some of that reputation rubs off on you. The best part is that it doesn’t cost you anything and it can really snowball as roundup posts tend to go viral.

Of course, the biggest challenge is being featured in the first place which can take quite some time and effort. But even there I see a silver lining – it reduces the competition as many companies just prefer sticking to what they know.

The trick to being featured in a roundup post is relevancy and networking. It takes some time to get the ball rolling, but once you get in and you can generate a lot of press and that can drive users to your mobile game or anything else for that matter. It just works!”

You can also try to get featured on Google Play and Apple’s App Store. For example, if your strategy game is featured as the Editor’s Choice on Google Play, the visibility of your game will instantly improve and you’ll definitely get a lot of new users.

video ad examples from top mobile strategy games

Additional Tips for Marketing a Mobile Strategy Game: Video Ad Examples from Top Strategy Games

As it was mentioned before, paid user acquisition campaigns are the most effective way to get more users for a mobile strategy game. That’s why producing top-notch video ads is crucial.

In addition to the aforementioned advice about creating video ads, I have also analyzed videos from top strategy games. These examples will help you to further elevate your video making skills and create ads that convert.

Clash Royale

Ad Duration: 00:29

Platforms: Facebook, Instagram

Ad Copy: Duel players around the world real-time in Clash Royale. 🌏

Video Ad Analysis

What’s instantly obvious when you watch this video ad for Clash Royale is the incredibly high production value.

Here’s the thing.

Supercell is one of the most successful mobile game developers in the world. That means their marketing budget is huge. They have both the money and the experts they need to create high-quality video ads.

The first thing is – don’t get discouraged. A video ad doesn’t have to be really complex and expensive to work. In fact, short and simple ads have been proven to work equally well for user acquisition campaigns.

So forget about flashy visuals and cool effects in this video ad, and focus more on what it conveys.

If we break it down, this Clash Royale video ad does a good job of introducing all the main game characters, highlighting its unique features, and giving users a taste of the gameplay. You can do the same for your game, but in a simpler way, without the ostentatious visuals. It can work equally well.

Also, notice that humor also plays a big role in this Clash Royale video ad (i.e., getting fish slapped, a gang of goblins who like to rave). If your strategy game has unique or kooky characters, present them in a fun way and make it your unique selling point.

Lords Mobile: Kingdom Wars

Ad Duration: 00:29

Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, Messenger

Ad Copy: Position your troops wisely! How many stars will you get in a 1v1 battle?

Video Ad Analysis

Unlike the Clash Royale video ad, the ad for Lords Mobile is much simpler. The whole video consists of recorded gameplay – no flashy effects or crazy visuals.

However, this video ad works equally well.

The users get a sense of game mechanics, which is really important. You always want to give users info on how the game works and how to play it.

Lords Mobile video ad also highlights one of the key features of the game which is 1-on-1 battle, and the ability to choose from 4 different troop types and 6 troop formations. This allows players to plan their lineups and perfect their strategy in order to defeat their enemies.

The ad copy for this ad consists of a gameplay tip (“Position your troops wisely!”) and a challenge (“How many stars will you get in a 1v1 battle?”).

Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade

Ad Duration: 00:21

Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, Messenger

Ad Copy: New choices, strategies, and challenges await as you guide a fledgling civilization through the ages.

Video Ad Analysis

The strategy game Rise of Kingdoms is all about being a leader of a civilization and building your own kingdom. The main features of this game are real-time battles, a seamless world map, 11 civilizations to choose from, and unrestricted troop movements.

This Rise of Kingdoms video ad is more like a game trailer, similar to the Clash of Clans video ad, and it showcases the aforementioned features.

When it comes to video ads, it’s crucial to grab the user’s attention in the first couple of seconds. Otherwise, they’ll just ignore the ad and move on.

Rise of Kingdoms’ ad does that really well – literally the first thing you see is the appealing backside of a female character who walks in a very sexy way.

Love it or hate it, sex sells, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Once the viewers are hooked, the camera moves away and we’re shown the rise of a beautiful kingdom.

The end screen includes the Rise of Kingdoms logo, a screenshot of the game on a mobile device, a call to action (“play free”), and a slogan (“Strategy lives here”).

Mobile Strategy Game Marketing Statistics You Need to Know in 2022

Every successful strategy game developer tracks and analyzes key mobile game metrics like user retention and average session length. It’s what helps you make your game more successful.

That’s why I have decided to put together the most important strategy game statistics based on these metrics. You can use it to benchmark your game and know what to aim for.

Strategy Game User Retention Statistics

Let’s start with user retention – one of the most important mobile game metrics every developer should track.

It tells you the percentage of users who keep playing after a certain period of time (most commonly, day 1, day 7, day 28).

day 1 user retention statistics for strategy games 2021

Day 1 User Retention Statistics for Mobile Strategy Games

The top 2% of strategy games managed to keep about half the players they got one day after the install. At its lowest point, in May, retention was at 49.50%, and it peaked at 55.45% in March.

The top 25% of strategy games had no significant changes in day 1 retention, ranging from 32.47% in May to 34.77% in March.

The median 50% of strategy games didn’t vary much, they also reached the highest point in March at 26.03%, and the lowest in October with 28.6%.

Even the bottom 25% of strategy games had decent day 1 retention rates, especially at the beginning of 2020. Their retention varied between 17.59% in February to 15.06% in October.

 

day 7 user retention statistics for strategy games 2021

Day 7 User Retention Statistics for Mobile Strategy Games

After 7 days, the top 2% of games were able to retain from 22.23% players in April to 28.62% in July.

Strategy games that fall into the top 25% of games retained from 8.82% players in April to 10.81% in January.

The median 50% of games kept 4.65% players in November, while this number was as high as 6.18% in January.

Day 7 retention for the bottom 25% of games was between 1.81% in August and 2.72% in January.

day 28 user retention statistics for strategy games 2021

Day 28 User Retention Statistics for Mobile Strategy Games

At day 28, the top 2% of games had retention from 13.94% in May to 21.3% in February.

The top 25% of games started the year with 4.31% in January, and had their lowest point in May – 3.24%.

The median 50% of games were also at their best in January, when they reached 1.73%, and dropped to 1.16% in September.

Day 28 retention for the bottom 25% of games ranged from 0% to 0.16%.

Tips for Improving User Retention

Here are some tips on how to improve user retention for strategy games from IT guru and developer, Peter Salinas.

“We too often forget that our gamers are people with moving needs and interests. Behavior changes with each interaction in our games and each distraction outside of them.

It’s a funny thing to state, but the key to retention is actually understanding and predicting the behavior of our gamers. This isn’t about KPIs we are used to with the biggest whale spenders, it’s about the behavioral economics of the whole.

But this is what AI does well, and it’s a far cry from the traditional concepts of what is or isn’t data science and machine learning, it’s a topic of design and Architecture from everything in your data tagging, to the entire flow of your user’s choices.

Being able to identify the motivations of our players is easier than we think, it’s about taking the time to break down the pillars of behavior in all of the things we create for them. When you understand what you have created and what it means to our live societies in our games, it’s dramatically easier to understand what drives them, and the reality is, it’s not always the spending.

Players are driven by feedback, socialization, growth, challenge, and every other stimulation we need as we live and breathe. We are still human when we play games, after all, the only difference is we have the ability to actually express our behavior. And this opportunity lets us understand the very nature of who our players are, want to be, and what things will drive them to continue on that path in the experiences we create for them.”

average session length statistics for strategy games 2021

Average Session Length Statistics for Mobile Strategy Games

The best strategy games were played for a long time – from 96 minutes in February to 132 minutes in June. There were plenty of fluctuations throughout the year, with a peak in the summer.

The top 25% of strategy games were played 10 minutes per session throughout the year, reaching 11 minutes only in December.

Moreover, the median 50% of games in the strategy genre had sessions of about 6 minutes throughout the year.

The bottom 25% of games averaged at 4 minutes per session.

arppu statistics for strategy games 2021

ARPPU Statistics for Mobile Strategy Games

ARPPU estimates how much revenue a single paying user brings in during a certain period.

The average revenue per paying user for the top 2% of strategy games changed over the course of the year.

It reached its lowest point in November when it was at $71.62, and the highest in August, when it hit $109.97.

ARPPU varied quite a lot for the top 25% of strategy games too, ranging from $16.89 in November to $24.16 in May.

The median 50% of games experienced small changes only, from $8.59 in November to $11.97 in June.

The bottom 25% of strategy games dropped by the end of the year, ranging from $5.71 in February to $3.15 in November.

arpdau statistics for strategy games 2021

ARPDAU Statistics for Mobile Strategy Games

ARPDAU tells us about the revenue generated by an average daily user, and unlike ARPPU, it includes non-paying users.

For the top 2% of strategy games, there were some ups and downs, from $1.78 in February to $3.22 in August.

When it comes to the top quarter of strategy games, ARPDAU ranged from $0.21 to $0.32.

Average-performing strategy games didn’t have significant changes over the year, remaining at about $0.08.

The numbers in the bottom quarter were small, averaging at $0.02.

conversion rate statistics for strategy games 2021

Conversion Statistics for Mobile Strategy Games

In terms of conversion rates, 2020 was a bit more exciting, especially for the top percentile of strategy games.

Conversion rates were at their lowest in March, at 4.75%. Over the summer, they had a significant increase, especially in July when they reached 12.95%.

For the top 25% of games, the numbers varied from 1.6% in January and 1.91% in August.

The median 50% of strategy games had a slight increase over the year, from 0.71% in January to 0.98% in November.

The conversion rates for the bottom 25% of strategy games remained steady with conversion rates at about 0.41% over the year.

Final Thoughts on Marketing a Mobile Strategy Game

Hopefully, this guide has been helpful to you, but now it’s time to hear what you have to say.

Which part of marketing a mobile strategy game is the most challenging for you? App store optimization? Video creation? Ad campaigns?

If you need help with any aspect of marketing a strategy game, let us know in the comments – we’re here to help!

To get all the latest mobile game marketing updates, subscribe to our newsletter!

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About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 200,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018. Visitudonis.co

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