In 2017, the mobile gaming industry generated $50.4 billion in global revenue. Long gone are the days when gaming was limited to a television console and a niche audience of young males. From Candy Crush to Minecraft, mobile games appeal to all demographics and offer a gaming experience that you can take anywhere.
Today, the average American adult spends roughly 23 minutes a day playing mobile games. Furthermore, 60% of female mobile gamers play every day. As the industry expands, mobile gaming brands are increasingly leveraging social media influencers. Here we’ll examine five top mobile game marketing examples from Best Fiends, Next Games and more.
Next Games is the Finnish mobile gaming company behind the wildly popular “Walking Dead: No Man’s Land” mobile game. Based on the AMC TV series The Walking Dead, the game gives players a chance to fight zombies in a post-apocalyptic world.
To promote the game Next Games partnered with one of YouTube’s most popular contingents of friends: Anwar Jibawi, Hannah Stocking, Inanna Sarkis, Lele Pons, and Rudy Mancuso. Cumulatively, the group maintains a subscribership of more than 18 million. Each made one sponsored YouTube video promoting the game.
Venezuela-American influencer Lele Pons was one of the campaign’s top performers and created a four-minute long video entitled, “The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land by Lele Pons & Anwar Jibawi.” In the video, Pons and Jibawi begin playing the mobile game when it suddenly comes to life. The pair is forced to hilariously fight off an ensuing army of zombies.
Pons is a popular influencer known for her comedic prowess and regularly creates short skits for Instagram and YouTube. Her videos lend themselves to virality because people can easily understand and enjoy them without any prior context. Two of her most popular skits, “Dating the Popular Guy” and “I Hate Homework,” appeal to a broad audience and could make practically anyone laugh.
Next Games was tactful in choosing her as a collaborator and allowing her to stick to the video format that has contributed to her widespread success. Though many discover Pons’ via her viral sketches, the comedic sketch format is also what her dedicated subscriber base has come to expect and enjoy.
One reason Pons’ sponsored video is so successful is because she expertly weaves The Walking Dead game into the video’s central storyline. Rather than simply mentioning the game at the beginning or end of the video, or demonstrating how to play it (a Let’s Play format), she creates an entire story revolving around the app. The innovative advertisement is incredibly entertaining, enticing viewers to watch the entire video and download the game.
Results: To date, Pons’ inventive skit has garnered over 10.9 million views.
Launched in 2014, Best Fiends is a match three game similar to Bejeweled and Candy Crush. Players align colorful icons on a game board to progress from level to level and acquire points and rewards. To advertise the game, Best Fiends partnered with Rachel Levin (@Rclbeauty101), a lifestyle YouTuber with 12 million subscribers.
In a hilarious skit called, “If Google Was On Summer Break,” Levin plays a human version of Google. Numerous people approach her while she lounges at a pool and pose questions like, “What’s the weather right now?” or “How do you get rid of a spray tan?”. Levin expertly incorporates Best Fiends into the video by evading certain queries because she is busy playing the addictive game.
Best Fiends is central to the video’s storyline, and Levin effectively presents practical information about the game in a humorous manner. At one point, someone asks her what game she’s playing. Levin then describes the Best Fiends in detail and goes on to say, “They’re kicking off summer with a special Father’s Day gift on June 19.”
She then places a coin in a jar to signal that as Google, she’s received payment for showing an ad. This clever action pokes fun at the fact that the video itself is a Best Fiends advertisement, a level of self-awareness that Levin’s audience is likely to appreciate.
Levin is a great fit for Best Fiends’ campaign for a number of reasons. First of all, a recent study found that 69% of match-three game players are female. As a female herself, Levin is well positioned to advertise Best Fiends to its dominant demographic. Furthermore, as a lifestyle influencer she may be more capable of reaching casual gamers than a hardcore gaming YouTuber.
Results: Levin’s customized Best Fiends integration has received close to 10 million views to date.
Super Evil Megacorp is the gaming company responsible for creating Vainglory 5V5, an engaging multiplayer action mobile game. To promote the game, the brand partnered with Felix Kjellberg — aka PewDiePie — YouTube’s most subscribed creator.
Unlike the other mobile game marketing examples discussed, Kjellberg created a sponsored experience that directly involves his fans. In a video entitled, “GLORY TO THE BROS (Vainglory With Fans),” Kjellberg uses a let’s play video format that features him and several fans playing the game.
With over 61 million subscribers, Kjellberg is the king of YouTube gaming. By partnering with him, Super Evil Corp gains access to his enormous gaming-centric audience.
Kjellberg never verbally states that the video is sponsored by Super Evil Megacorp or discusses the game’s features. However, text in the video description says, “Brought to you [with E.V.I.L.] by Super Evil Megacorp.” and includes links to the game, encouraging viewers to download it.
Perhaps most importantly, Kjellberg offers product information to viewers by playing Vainglory 5V5 himself instead of merely mentioning or explaining the game. Over the course of the 11-minute long video, he demonstrates the game’s reliability and entices viewers to download the game by showing them how it works.
Kjellberg’s decision to incorporate fans into the video also makes it extremely memorable. By collaborating with fans he comes across as down to earth and approachable in spite of his global fame, boosting his reputation and credibility.
Results: PewdiePie’s let’s play sponsorship has amassed more than 2.1 million views to date.
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BarbarQ is another multiplayer mobile game allowing users to traverse changing landscapes as they attempt to eliminate their opponents and collect gems and other rewards. To market the game, the brand partnered with the popular YouTube gaming channel The Family Gaming Team (FGTeeV) to create one sponsored video. The family includes parents Vincent “Duddy”, Samantha “Moomy,” and their four children Shawn, Chase, Michael, and Lexi.
At the beginning of the video, Vincent humorously introduces the game by walking onto the family’s porch with a spatula in hand and saying, “Today on FGTEEV we’re going to barbeque. Let’s do it!” He then opens the family’s grill and sees a tablet with BarbarQ on the screen and exclaims, “Whoa what’s this game?!”
The play on words is a more noteworthy introduction than simply mentioning that the video is sponsored by BarbarQ, resulting in a more memorable integration.
Similar to PewDiePie’s sponsored content, the family utilizes the let’s play format to demonstrate how the game works throughout the video. The integration showcases the game’s key features in action and portrays it as fun and family friendly. This, in addition to the inclusion of a link to the game in the description box, helps incite downloads.
Results: The family-friendly integration has garnered upwards of 1.3 million views.
Social Point Games is the brand behind Monster Legends, a medieval-themed game available on mobile, tablet, and desktop. In the game, players compete to grow crops, attain skills, collect various monsters and engage in one-on-one combat. Social Point Games collaborated with Mark Fischbach, better known as Markiplier, to advertise the game.
Fischbach created one sponsored let’s play video, typical of his channel, to demonstrate the game. Apart from driving Monster Legends downloads by posting the video for his 19 million plus subscribers, Fishbach frames Social Point Games as an altruistic company.
He emphasizes that he chose to partner with the brand because it gives him money to donate to charity. At the video’s introduction, he says, “…like many other brand deals that I’ve done in the past it affords me the opportunity to donate to charity. This time around, we’ll be donating $10,000 to the Miracle Foundation.”
87% of customers are willing to switch from one brand to another based solely on a connection with a charitable cause. By creating his sponsored video in the context of a charitable initiative, Fischbach gives viewers a reason to download Monster Legends over other mobile games. He also positions Social Point Games as a company that gives back to the community, creating a tangible reason for socially conscious consumers to support the company.